At nineteen, East Bairnsdale’s Allen Boyd needed the consent of his parents, James and Sara, to enlist in the AIF on 2 August 1915. Employed as a bank clerk, Allen was a member of the Bairnsdale football and rowing clubs. He had also been a senior cadet for three years, so was no stranger to military routine.
After four months basic training, on 23 November 1915 Private Boyd embarked for Egypt with the 7th Battalion 12th Reinforcement on HMAT Ceramic. In Egypt, he was allotted to the 59th Battalion, which was then being formed following the end of the Gallipoli campaign, and included recruits from rural Victoria.
On 18 June 1916, the 59th Battalion embarked on the Kinfauns Castle for Marseilles, the first stop on their journey to the battlefields of the Western Front. A few weeks after landing in France, Allen’s unit was in the first wave at the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. The 59th suffered heavy casualties to machine gun fire and many were killed or never seen again. Allen Boyd was among them, listed as missing.
At a court of enquiry convened in the field by the commanding officer of the 59th Battalion on 29 August 1917, Private Boyd was confirmed as ‘killed in action, presumed buried in no-man’s land’. His body was later re-interred at the Aubers Ridge British Cemetery near Armentières.
On 14 November 1921, Allen’s father James Boyd wrote to AIF Base Records, thanking them for the memorial scroll, which ironically, had arrived on Armistice Day. He also wrote ‘… I mourn not for his loss for he answered his Country’s Call and done his duty’.
Allen James Boyd is commemorated on the Bairnsdale Rowing Club Memorial and a number of honour boards in Bairnsdale.