Gordon Alex BOYD

Poppy

BOYD, Gordon Alex

Service Numbers: SX12569, 437044
Enlisted: 5 May 1941
Last Rank: Flight Sergeant
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Terowie, SA, 27 March 1912
Home Town: Warooka, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Accidental, United Kingdom, 19 January 1945, aged 32 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Corny Point Roll of Honour, Terowie War Memorial, Warooka District WW2 Honour Board
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World War 2 Service

5 May 1941: Involvement Private, SN SX12569
5 May 1941: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
5 May 1941: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN SX12569
14 Oct 1942: Discharged
15 Oct 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Sergeant, SN 437044
15 Oct 1942: Involvement Flight Sergeant, SN 437044
15 Oct 1942: Enlisted Adelaide
Date unknown: Involvement

Gordon Alex BOYD (Alec)

Gordon Alex Boyd was born on the 27th March 1912 at Terowie in the mid north of South Australia. He was the seventh of twelve children born to Gordon Adam Boyd and Florence Hunn and was the third of their five boys.
Universally known as Alec, he attended the Terowie Public School and it is likely that he was one of the Boyd children riding in the family trap on the 11 June 1921, when their “very quiet pony” suddenly bolted down the main street of Terowie, and ran into a spoon-drain, causing the trap to overturn. One of the children had a cut over the eye where the pony had kicked him, and one of the others had a knee severely hurt. The other young folk escaped with a shaking.
Alec then attended Terowie High School from 1924 to 1926 and in April 1926, aged 14, he represented the school in a tennis match against the Methodist Club.
Alec stated on his AIF Attestation Form that he had obtained his Woodwork Certificate and on his RAAF Application for Air Crew that one of his former occupations was Carpenter. Alec worked for A.R. TUCK & Son for a while after he left school, building tanks and erecting windmills, mostly on outback stations.
In 1928 Gordon and Florence Boyd left Terowie and settled with their younger children on Victor Bailey Robert’s property at Corny Point. Stan and May Jago (nee Boyd) moved from Largs Bay to the Stansbury Scrub in 1932 and in 1933 they commenced share-farming for Mr Bert Wilson at Daly Heads.
Alec Boyd was musical and played for dances at Corny Point and Warooka. My father, Gordon Filmer, remembers that he played both the accordion and the piano but Mona Liddiard thought he played the mouth organ. He always cleaned his shoes after he had been out, that is, before he went to bed.
Alec played cricket for Corny Point, Orrie Cowie and Warooka.
In 1932 he represented the Western Yorke Peninsula Cricket Association at the Country Cricket Carnival. He made 16 runs from a total of 81 runs in the teams match against Gawler River and 19 of 104 against Wirrabara. He was the Secretary of the Corny Point Cricket Club in 1940. He also played tennis while at Corny Point.
He played football for Western United and was described as a hard working and reliable player in the backlines. During the 1935 football season, Alec’s sister, May, saw many football matches as she was pregnant with my mother. As Alec had the families only motor transport, May went where the car went.
Alec’s father, Gordon Adam Boyd passed away on the 27th September 1934.
In July 1937 Alec was a passenger in a car driven by Robert McKenzie of Warooka when the car collided with a motor bike at Domaschenz’s Corner on the Yorketown-Warooka road.
On the 21st January 1939, Alec married Madge Goode, the daughter of Mr and Mrs SL Goode at the Corny Point Hall (now the church and museum building across the road from the memorial garden). His youngest sister, Joan, was the bridesmaid. An informal wedding breakfast was served to 40 guests. The happy couple left later on a motoring tour. My Dad recalls that the couple were tin kettled at the Carribie School.
In April 1940 Alec and Madge’s son, Malcolm was born at the Yorketown Hospital.
Shortly before he joined up Alec was involved in an Easter Monday Gala Day to raise fund for the Red Cross. Alec captained a cricket team which defeated Harry Shepley’s team 152 to 72.
Alec had continued farming for Victor Bailey Roberts at Corny Point after his father’s death but upon ‘joining up’ he had a sale of his farming equipment.
The people of Corny Point held a farewell for Alex, Madge and Malcolm with Mr JY Barclay giving the farewell speech and presenting a cheque and Mr Harry Shepley (Captain of the Cricket Club) voiced the appreciation of that body, and stated that Alec had been one of their leading players as well as carrying out the duties of Secretary in a capable manner.
On the 5th May1941 Alec enlisted in the AIF (SX 12569). He was 29 years old and had light brown hair and blue eyes. He had scars on his left shoulder, both knees and on his left buttock. He reported for duty on the 6th May 1941. In July 1941 he was in the Woodside Hospital suffering from tonsillitis. He was then appointed an acting Group II Motor Transport Mechanic.
On the 1st September 1941 Alec was allocated to the Australian Army Service Corps Group 21 and entrained to the Royal Park, Melbourne in the 3rd Military District, where he qualified as a Group 1 Fitter.
In April 1942 Alec was transferred to Alice Springs where he served in the No 2 General Transport Company and the No 4 General Transport Company.
Tragedy struck the Boyd family on the 17th July 1942 when Alec’s younger brother Sam was killed in action at El Alemein in Egypt. Sam’s death prompted Alec to transfer to the RAAF to hurry victory along.

Alec returned to South Australia and was discharged from the AIF on the 14th October 1942. He enlisted in the R.A.A.F. on the 15th October 1942. Despite not liking his first name, Alec became known as Gordon during his time in the airforce. Fifteen years out of school he studied hard and qualified first as a Leading Aircraftman and then after training at Mallala, Victor Harbor, and Parafield, on the 9th April 1944 he gained his flying badge. He flew an Avro Anson, a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft.
He then entrained to Ransford in Victoria and on the 28th April 1944 he embarked from Melbourne and disembarked in the UK on the 13th June 1944. One newspaper article at the time of Alec’s death stated that he finished his training in Canada but it is unclear if this was correct as Elliott Parker who trained with Alec does not mention Canada in his account of Alec’s service.
On the 17th June 1977 Mr Elliott W. Parker, of Riverton, South Australia wrote to my grandmother (May Jago nee Boyd) - frankly I know more than any person alive of the man I knew of Gordon Boyd’s career in the RAAF. He was my crash mate at Mallala (we flew together) where we won our wings.
As the oldies of the course according to our mates we were designed because of age to be instructors or staff pilots but we two were the first to be sent to England. We went to America via the Panama Canal on the Maraposa, had leave in New York and saw the eastern coast from Boston to Washington where we have V.I.P. treatment in private homes etc.
On the evening of D Day we sailed out of New York harbour on the Queen Mary and six days later arrived in Greenock - Scotland. Our base was then at Padgate between Liverpool & Manchester and later when the doodle bugs (V1s) & V2’s quietened we were based at Brighton.
(Alec was on leave three times 30 June 1944 – 6 July 1944 for 7 days, 17 October 1944 - 25 October for 9 days and 22 Dec 1944 – 31 Dec 1944 for 10 days.) Elliott continued - Incidently we spent our leaves together at a delightful lady’s home on the land in Dumfrieshire - Scotland and here we had a white Christmas.
We were both selected as Lancaster pilots and while waiting to go to O.T.U. (operational training unit) we did various courses including 2 refresher flying courses. Later 4 of we Australians were sent for experience to a Beaufighter operational station at North Coates about 5 miles south of Grimsby. (Base for the No 254 Squadron RAF).

It was just after this that 32 Beaus hit Denhelda on the Hook of Holland two and a quarter hours later 24 came back - 2 crash landed on nearby dromes and 6 missed out. We four Aussies were doing flying control work at that stage, 2 on the morning shift and 2 on the afternoon shift, the early risers Gordon Boyd & Jack Robinson went to the Control Tower and volunteered to go out in a Beaufighter and help bring back one of the damaged planes.
As Phil Loffler & I walked across the drome a plane with only one wheel down made an approach but was sent around again by the control Tower to either get the other wheel down or retract both, unfortunately a blinding snow reduced visibility to zero and that plane with Gordon, Jack & young Mayfield an English pilot went in about 200 yards from Phil & I.
(The official report of the accident which occurred on the 19th January 1945 states that the crew were ferrying an aircraft from Woodbridge where it had been under repair. When the pilot first approached the airport visibility was about seven miles, but by the time he had made his landing approach a heavy snowstorm had started and within 30 seconds visibility was less than 200 yards. The apparent cause of the accident was that the pilot doing an overshot in a snowstorm lost control of the aircraft. The aircraft crashed on the shore about 300 yards east of the airfield. The pilot was 21 year old Englishman, Raymond Joseph Rothwell who was buried in his hometown of Southampton).
Elliott went on to say -
Wing Commander Braithwaite the C.O. and his men could not have been kinder, they would not let us go alone to Cambridge Regional Cemetery. Flowers were at a premium for wreaths Phil & I procured artificial wreaths relieved with carnations at 3/6 per bloom, you can imagine how Phil & I felt when we went with the ceremonial party out to the regional Cemetery to find two wreaths, one from the Commanding Officer and Officers of North Coates and one from the Sergeants Mess - such was the comradeship over there that even though in that short period they had lost 13 men they could still think of us.
Elliott said Gordon “lived a full and happy life, was widely known and well liked and at no stage did he show fear and loved flying.”
Alec and Jack Robinson are buried side by side in the Cambridge City Cemetery. The late local Len Barrett and his wife visited the cemetery when travelling in the United Kingdom and brought home a picture of Alec’s headstone for Alec’s sister, May. In 2019 my husband and I were able to visit the cemetery and place a poppy at Alec’s grave.
Lest we forget.

Speach delivered by EE (Beth) Filmer (Great Neice) at the Corny Point Anzac Day service on 25 April 2021

Sources:
AIF and RAAF Service Records and RAAF Accident Report
https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=6412013
https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=5541620
https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=1064960
National Library of Australia, Trove (Newspapers) articles tagged “Gordon Alex Boyd”
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/
Personal Recollections:
Elliott William Parker, SN 27853, RAAF buddy of GA Boyd
Mary F Filmer, Corny Point – neice of GA Boyd
K Gordon Filmer, Corny Point
Mona Liddiard, former resident of Corny Point

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