Hugh Boyle Remembered

Remembering Blantyre WW1 soldier, Hugh Boyle

His parents, James and Mary Boyle (nee MacKenzie) came to Blantyre from Bridgeton between 1896 and 1901. Employed as a coal miner, James and his wife moved to Peasweep Row at Auchentibber with their young son, Hugh Boyle, born in 1896. By 1901, Hugh had a brother James, aged 1.

Being just 18 years old when WW1 started, any ambition to follow his fathers footsteps into coal mining, vanished as he enlisted into the Royal Highlanders, more commonly known as “The Black Watch”. Sadly, he was killed in action during WW1 on 25th September 1915. He is buried in the PHILOSOPHE BRITISH CEMETERY, MAZINGARBE, Par de Calaise, France. Plot 111, Row G, Grave 33. Documents show he was originally buried in a small cemetery then exhumed and reburied.

Hugh’s death certificate, military documentation and remembrance certificate is attached.

Tragedy hit the family again when brother James Boyle also was killed in action who is also noted on the Auchentibber Memorial. Further brothers were born later and therefore too young to go to war.

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By co-incidence, when I was looking at this story, I was contacted by a kind lady Isabel Fleming in East Kilbride who posted me some memorabilia about Auchentibber. She confirmed to me that prior to WW1, the Boyle family lived in the right hand side house of Springpark, Auchentibber just a hundred yards from Peesweep Row, confirming a house move had taken place.

Amongst the items was a poem written by “R.Frame” which remembered Hugh Boyle and the sadness his family encountered on hearing of his death. Pictured is the actual poem, which has now been scanned, the words preserved here and the original returned to Isabel. The words were written a few weeks after his death and I’ve transcribed them below.

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To a young friend who fell at Loos, 25th September 1915, by R Frame,

Just over in France sleeps a brave soldier lad,
A fond mother’s darling and the pride of his dad,
Just over in France in a hero’s grave he sleeps,
In his old home in Scotland, a sad mother weeps.

A clever young signaller, Hugh Boyle was his name,
Like the rest of the brave lads, from Blantyre he came,
He was greatly beloved by his Captain who fell,
A deep tribute we pay to brave Captain Bell.

On that dark fateful morning, when Loos they took,
As with deadly gunfire, the elements shook,
That gallant young signaller, stood at his post,
A swift and sure target for the murderous host.

His Captain’s commands, he quickly obeyed,
Till thrice wounded, our hero in death low was laid,
They covered him o’er with the old Union Jack,
As onward they rushed in the blood beaten track.

They buried him silently at dead of night,
Then to his poor mother, a comrade did write,
He broke the sad news as well as he could,
Saying how his dead comrade was so noble and good.

Oh Hughie, dear Hughie, his poor mother cried,
If i only had held you in my arms till you died,
If i only had laid you to rest in your grave,
But between us dear son, rolls the dark angry wave.

Young Hugh was respected by all he did know,
And the news of his death, to his friends was a blow,
A kind and good son to his parents was Hugh,
No sorrow he caused, for no vices he knew.

Just over in France, in a dear spot he lies,
And ‘oft in the night a weary heart sighs,
For honour and duty young Hughie Boyle fell,
Our great Captain on high, doeth all things well.

With thanks to Alex Rochead for assisting with this post.

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  1. Very moving tribute.

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