Alexander James Boyd
Staff Sergeant, Australian Imperial Force
Alexander James Boyd, born in Brixton Hill, was 27 years old when he joined the war effort. He had blue eyes and fair hair and attended Alleyn’s until 1903, living with his father, Alexander and his sister, Helen at the time. After leaving school, he married his wife, Jessie Annette, and followed in his Father’s footsteps by finding work as a journalist. Before the war, Alexander spent time in Malaysia which was then under British control. It was here that he first gained military experience as part of the Malay States Volunteers, a Home Defence Force similar in structure to the British Territorial Force. Alexander volunteered for the force until resigning when he moved to New South Wales, Australia. He continued his commitment to military service after the outbreak of war when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in May 1915. After being attested, he was appointed to the newly formed 20th Battalion and left for the Eastern Front in late June. He arrived at Gallipoli on 22nd August and quickly began to experience the peninsula’s tough terrain and unsanitary conditions when he contracted dysentery in September. After a short spell in hospital, Alexander recovered and returned to the trenches where he received his first promotion to Sergeant in November. He continued to serve at Gallipoli until the peninsula was evacuated in December 1915. After receiving his second promotion to Staff Sergeant in February 1916, he moved to the Western Front where he took part in the action at Pozieres in July before moving to Belgium. In 1917, the battalion was transferred back to France during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. It was during this pursuit of the retreating German forces that Alexander suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder on 5th May 1917. After being sent to England for treatment, he was declared as medically unit for service and was returned to Australia in December 1917. For his services in the war he was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory Medal.