St James's Church, Hampton Hill

Joe Boyle: The Epilogue - 1987 June

Joe Boyle's memorial

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At a simple ceremony on 14 April a memorial to Lt Col Joseph Whiteside Boyle, DSO was unveiled in our churchyard where he had been buried for sixty years. His remains had been exhumed on the same day of 1983 and reinterred in his home town of Woodstock, Ontario with much ceremony.

He had died on 14 April 1923 at Wayside after a spectacular career as gold prospector in the Yukon and later as head of an allied mission to Russia in 1917 and as the man who re-organised the Russian railways. He received many decorations for this work and for the valuable work he did at that time for the Rumanians. Subsequently, his grave was provided with an ancient cross and urn (moved with his remains to Canada in 1983) by Queen Marie of Rumania who also arranged for orange lilies to be placed on his grave.

Legend has it that she was the lady in black who visited the grave on 14 April each year during her exile from Rumania.

The ceremony this April was conducted by our Vicar and was attended by Edwin Bennett and his wife from Canada and Mr and Mrs Fogg (Mr Fogg was the English member of the Canadian Committee for the repatriation) in addition to Vera Rockliffe, who with Len had been much involved in co-operating with the Canadians for some years, and Bill Robinson, as well as myself. Orange lilies were placed on the memorial for the occasion.

Source: Ron Bridges, The Spire Magazine - 1987 June

St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
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