Private William John Boyd


William John Boyd was born on 15 December 1893 at Glenanne, County Armagh, the first of five children of yarn dresser Robert Boyd and his wife Margaret (née Beattie). Before the turn of the century the family moved to Belfast. By 1911-12 William was living at 78 Hillman Street with his parents and siblings, and working as an apprentice carpenter.

Boyd enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 1 October 1914 (No.1224). He embarked for France on 3 June 1915 with a reinforcement draft for A, C and D Squadrons.

On 1 July 1916 Boyd transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.34176) with the rank of Air Mechanic (2nd Class). He re-embarked for France on 5 March 1917.

Boyd remained in the Royal Flying Corps, and then the Royal Air Force on its formation on 1 April 1918, until the end of the war, working as an aeroplane rigger. On 20 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to the RAF's G Reserve.


At least one of Boyd's brothers, Harry, also served in the war, as a sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps. Awarded the Obilitch Silver Medal (Serbia), he was drowned at sea on 1 January 1917 (see below).


Belfast Evening Telegraph, March 1917


Northern Whig, 13 March 1917


Image of Harry Boyd courtesy of Nigel Henderson, researcher at History Hub Ulster.