John Boyle was born January 21, 1897 at Manchester Lanes, England. This date is the one given to the 1911 census. Upon enlistment John put down the year 1895, but this is unlikely
The 1911 census notes that John Boyle’s father, John, arrived in Canada in 1908 and his mother Annie in 1910 with two children, John and Allan. John Sr. worked as a baker and son Allan worked as a baker’s apprentice. John Boyle Jr. went to work as a cigar maker at around 14 years of age. By 1914 he was working as an electrician with Bert Duck. He was also active in the YMCA Orchestra, playing the violin.
John Boyle was one of the first applicants of 69 men to sign up at the beginning of the war in August of 1914. At that time he gave his age as 19 years, but he was probably 17. He was chosen to be part of the First Contingent of Canadian soldiers to go overseas. He signed his enlistment papers September 18, 1914 at Valcartier, Quebec, the assembly point for the Canadian Contingent. He was 5’6 ½” tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. He arrived in England in October 1914 with the rest of the First Contingent. They continued with their training over the winter at Salisbury Plains, a muddy and wet and cold experience. In April 1915 he was with the Canadian Army during the Second Battle of Ypres where the German Army first used chlorine gas as a weapon of war.
John Boyle died April 24, 1915 at the age of 18, making him one of Revelstoke’s youngest war casualties. At the time of his death he was a private with the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia) Regiment. His body was never recovered or identified and his name is memorialized at the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial. He was one of the very first Revelstoke men to die in the Great War and this news caused a great shock in the city. There was much confusion over the circumstances of his death which added to the grief of all who knew him.
John’s brother, Allan Douglas Boyle, served overseas in the war also. Upon return to Revelstoke he ran Boyle’s Bakery and served as a long time councilor for the city during the 1930s and 1940s. Allan’s son Douglas served in the Canadian Navy during World War II and later rose to the rank of Admiral.
John Boyle’s name was included on the Revelstoke Methodist Church Honor Roll and the YMCA Honor Roll. His name is on the Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques as Boyle, Jack.