The graves of Second Lieutenant Reginald Russell Boyd and Private Frederick Little, who were killed on the Western Front during World War One have finally been marked with headstones bearing their names more than a hundred years after they were killed.
The party from 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland stand at the graveside of Second Lieutenant Boyd in Etaples Military Cemetery (Crown Copyright).
The services, which were organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC), were held at CWGC Etaples Military Cemetery on the northern French coast and CWGC Raperie British Cemetery near Soissons, on 5 and 6 September respectively.
Rosie Barron, JCCC Case Lead said:
“Both 2nd Lt Boyd and Pte Little paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but their graves were lost in the fog of war. It has been an honour to play a part in rectifying this and to work with The Royal Regiment of Scotland to organise their rededication services.
“It is just as important today that men such as 2ndLt Boyd and Pte Little are not forgotten and fitting that their memory is still honoured by their regimental family.”
The rededication services were conducted by the Reverend Tim Clarke-Wood CF, Chaplain to 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and attended by serving soldiers of the battalion.
Piper Jamie Killorn plays the Lament during the rededication service for Private Little at Raperie British Cemetery (Crown Copyright).
The Reverend Clarke-Wood said:
“2ndLt Boyd and Pte Little were 20 & 19 years old respectively. The reminder that so many of our British Troops who died during WW1 were very young. It’s a stark thought the cost of war far outweighs any erroneous concepts of glory. That so often what is accomplished is bought with the lives of those who will never have the opportunity to fulfil all that they could otherwise. For me there is an emotional connection with these two soldiers because in my role as a Padre I often interact with young soldiers and officers. It is an honour to be able to spend time recognising 2ndLt Boyd and Pte Little and to declare within the presence of others that their lives mattered and for us today, still do.”
The grave of 2ndLt Boyd was found after a researcher provided the CWGC with evidence suggesting that his grave could be identified. Further research conducted by the National Army Museum and JCCC confirmed their findings and similarly, it was CWGC who identified the grave of Pte Little in a separate investigation, again verified by the JCCC.
The headstones over their graves have been replaced with named inscriptions by the CWGC.
CWGC Director for France, Xavier Puppinck, said:
“It is a special duty of ours to welcome people to our cemeteries, and to be able to mark the sacrifice of these two brave soldiers with a new headstone more than a century after they fell, is an honour. These services of rededication give us an opportunity to renew our commitment to care for their graves, and those of their comrades, forever.”
2nd Lt Reginald Russell Boyd (Copyright Unknown). Lt Harry Eaton lays a wreath at the grave of Second Lieutenant Boyd (Crown Copyright).
2nd Lt Reginald Russell Boyd
2nd Lt Boyd was born on 2 July 1896 in the village of Bishopton, in Renfrewshire. He was Commissioned on 2 April 1915 as a Second Lieutenant and joined 9th Battalion The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).
On 12 February 1916, he arrived on the Western Front and was attached to 7th Battalion The Border Regiment. The battalion War Diaries show that on 19 April 1917, 7th Battalion The Border Regiment was situated in the line near Monchy-le-Preux, near Arras. 2nd Lt Boyd received a gunshot wound to the head that day. He was taken to No 20 General Hospital at Camiers for treatment but succumbed to his wounds on 4 May 1917 aged 20. He was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, but his grave was lost. As he was missing, he was commemorated on the CWGC Arras Memorial to the missing.
Drummer Adam Grant plays the Last Post at the rededication service for Private Little (Crown Copyright).
Pte Frederick Little
Pte Frederick Little was born in Carlisle, Cumbria, in 1899, but grew up in Dumfriesshire in Scotland. Before enlisting into the Army on 18 April 1917, he worked as a labourer for a fellmonger, producing hides and skins.
Pte Little embarked for the Western Front on 31 March 1918, initially serving with 12th Battalion The Highland Light Infantry. He transferred to 9th Battalion The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) on 25 April 1918. On 1 August 1918, the battalion was located near Villemontoire, near Soissons. They attacked but came under heavy enemy machine gun fire only managing to advance 100 yards from their initial jumping off positions. Pte Little was wounded. Having had his wounds dressed, he was later killed by a shell at just 19 years old. The location of Pte Little’s grave could not be established after the war and he was commemorated on the CWGC Soissons Memorial.