|RN Medals to Musicians, Bandsmen & Bandmasters
|Here are the medals of Bandsman Edward Boyce, a man who held the possibly unique
distinction of serving over 51 years & holding pensions for both Army & Navy service!
C.G.S. (Fenian Raid 1866) - 87 PTE E. BOYCE, 25: REGT.
Afghanistan - 87 SERGT E. BOYCE. 1/25 TH REGT.
Naval Long Service - EDWD. BOYCE, BANDSN., H.M.S. VIVID.
When I bought this group many yrs ago it came with absolutely no research - just the medals - the
vendor thought it might be a father son group, & I tended to agree with him due to the time span of
the medals & the fact that a Naval LS was included with Army service medals. I almost only bought
the Naval LS as I really only wanted this medal for its rating, & he was OK with that, but as he really
wished to sell them all together, I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to take the three. I'm glad I did, as
when I started the research it became obvious to me that they were all to one man - with an
amazing service history!"
Edward Boyce was born on 26 October 1844 at St Georges Middlesex. He entered the 1st Batt’n
25th Foot (Kings Own Scottish Borderers) as a Band Boy on 26 Sep 1857 one month shy of 13
years of age, although on his service record he is shown as being 13 yrs 11 months old. Possibly he
added a yr to his age to join! His Regimental number was 87.
His pay was “ONE PENNY per diem” until he became “of age” at 18, when he was raised to “4 pence
per diem.” In any event join he did & was promptly shipped off to Gibraltar to join his Regiment –
there he remained for 4 yrs, then the Reg’t was posted to Malta for 2 yrs, then to Canada where he
saw service in the Fenian Raid of June 1866, earning (in 1900) the Canada General Service medal.
From Canada he returned home to re- engage on 27 Jan 1869 remaining in the Uk until Oct 1875
when his Reg’t was shipped off to India where he served for 6 years.
He had been appointed Drum Major on 11 Oct 1874 whilst his Reg’t was in UK. He saw active service
with the 25th Foot during the Afghanistan campaign of 1878-79. He was promoted to Band
Sergeant whilst serving at Pewan on 31 May 1880. The Reg’t left India & returned home in Feb 1882,
where Boyce was discharged to pension on 24 May 1882 serving a total of 24 years 9 months. His
pension was to be 19 pence per diem for life.
Boyce’s service was no where near done tho, this was a man who was not going to remain inactive
in his retirement – he joined the RN as a Bandsman on 23 Dec 1882 at HMS Royal Adelaide,
Plymouth. He served in the Band on her until being drafted to HMS Vivid on 1 Jan 1990, to serve in
the Band of the Admiral Commanding Devonport. He remained in the port Band for 19 years earning
the Naval Long Service medal on 16 Jan 1893. He finally went to full Naval pension on 1 June 1909 at
64 yrs 7 months of age! His total service in the KOSB & RN amounted to 51 years 9 months!!
For those readers who are musicians Edward Boyce's instrument was a Solo Euphonium. The
instrumental parts at that time for a Solo Euphonium player could be quite challenging so Boyce
must have been quite a proficient player.
After retirement Edward & Elizabeth Boyce settled in her birthplace, St Days, Truro for the remainder
of their lives. They had 9 children – at the time of their golden wedding anniversary in 1925, 6 were
still living. They had 18 grandchildren.
Edward Boyce died on his birthday, 26 October 1928 at 84 years of age, & was buried in the
churchyard of Holy Trinity Church in St Days, Truro.
Photo of Edward Boyce taken whilst he
was serving in the Port Admiral's
Band,HMS Vivid,Devonport. ca 1890.
He is wearing his 3 medals.
This photo is of Edward Boyce & his
wife Elizabeth Martin (Muir) who
were married on 20 Sept 1875. The
photo was taken on the occasion of
their golden wedding anniversary Sep
They were married in St Days Church,
& rest in the churchyard cemetery.
This photo shows Edward &
Elizabeth Boyce in old age.
It was taken around 1927 or
'28, in front of their residence
in St Days, Truro.
The Boyce gravesite.
The churchyard is no
longer maintained & has
fallen into a state of decay,
with many of the sites
being well overgrown with
shrubs, weeds, grass etc.
Thus is the case with
Boyce's gravesite. The
stone has also
disappeared, only the
perimeter stones & the
name marker remaining.
A recent photo of Holy Trinity
church in St Days, the church where
Elizabeth & Edward Boyce were
married & where both their funeral
services took place. Both are buried
in the churchyard cemetery.
The church is in ruins today, the
roof had to be removed last year
due to danger of it caving in. All
that remains in a very imposing shell.
Edward Boyce acknowledgments
I would like to close this display by paying tribute & many thanks to two chaps who made much of
this research possible -
Gerry O'Neill (UK) who obtained most of the information on Boyce's service with the Kings Own
Scottish Borderers Reg't.
Michael Thierens (Netherlands & UK) who took all of the colour church & gravesite photos.