Looking for soldiers that served prior to WW1? Find My Past is the best resource for finding information about Victorian-era Soldiers.
By far the best resource for WW1 research. WW1 Service Records, pension papers, medal index cards and casualty information.
Search through millions of archived British Newspaper Articles to find any references to your ancestors.

William Rowland Boast was born in Leyland in 1883 although he was christened in St. John`s Parish Church in Preston on the 10th June 1883 by his parents, Richard and Sarah Jane Boast (nee Partridge). His parents married in St. John`s Church on the 23rd December 1876 and they went on to have ten children, nine of whom survived; Alice Ann (1877), Mary (1879-1893), Elizabeth (1881), William R. (1883), Isabella Ellen (1885), James (1887), Andrew (1890), John (1893), Henry (1895) and Sarah (1898).

In 1901 the family lived at 90 Peel Hall Street in Preston where William`s father Richard was a corporation labourer. His two elder sisters, Elizabeth and Isabella both worked in one of the local mills, his younger brother James was a biscuit baker and William was employed as a joiner`s labourer.

In the second quarter of 1907 William married Ann Smith in St. Stephen`s Church in Preston. A daughter Mabel was born in 1907 and then a son William Rowland in 1909. By 1911 William, Ann and their two children were living in a two up, two down terraced house at 9 Clifton Street in the Broadgate area of Preston. William was now employed by the Preston Gas Company as a fitter. Not long after the 1911 Census had been taken, William and Ann had another daughter and named her Hilda. A third daughter Evelyn was born in the March quarter of 1913, her birth being registered in the Burnley district where William`s parents were living.

At the outbreak of war William enlisted into the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. His service papers indicate that he had seen previous service with Territorial Force but was now time expired, (no further information). He was 31 years and 2 months old, five feet three and a half inches tall and had a chest measurement of 36”. William noted his home address as being 1 Campbell Street in Preston and gave his wife Ann as his next of kin. He confirmed his occupation as a plumber for the Preston Gas Company. William passed his medical inspection and was issued with the service number 19.

He signed his agreement to serve abroad in the event of a national emergency in the Town Hall in Preston on the 7th August 1914, his signature shown below indicates he was initially a member of “D” Company.

D Coy 1-4th Bn William Boast

The Battalion was originally made up of eight companies but around February 1915, under Army orders, it was then reorganised into the Regular Army formation of four companies. William sailed for France with the 1/4th Battalion on the 4th May 1915, his papers confirming that he was now a member of “C” Company. He managed to survive the Battalion`s first major action at Festubert on 15/16th June 1915 where the casualties numbered 431 men killed, wounded or missing.

At the beginning of November 1915 the Battalion was taking its turn in the trenches around Aveluy and late in the evening of the 7th November, having been relieved from trench duty, the Battalion marched to billets in Bouzincourt. They remained in billets where cleaning up, inspections and training took place but from time to time they had to provide a number of Officers and men for working parties. According to the Battalion War Diary the weather was very wet and blustery during this period, later turning to snow and it seems there was a constant stream of men reporting sick, no doubt a lot of the sickness relating to the bad weather.

Later information suggests that William had been home on a period of leave and he was in Preston on Thursday, 11th November 1915. Unfortunately his service papers do not give any dates so it is unclear what date he returned but it`s likely he arrived back over the weekend of the 13th/14th November.

Extract from the Battalion War Diary

13th November 1915 – The morning was very blustery and wet. The Adjutant and Commanding Officer attended a conference at Brigade H.Q. – 3 O.R.`s reported sick.

14th November 1915 – The Battalion received orders that we should go into Authuille on Nov. 16. Early communion was celebrated at 7.30am in the 1/6th Seaforth`s canteen. A voluntary service was held in “C” Coys billets at 6.30pm. Colonel Hindle returned from leave. – 2 O.R.`s reported sick.

15th November 1915 – The Brigadier should have inspected the Battalion `in the attack` (a practice) but this was cancelled owing to the Battalion having to find working parties of 300 men. Snow fell during the early hours of the morning – 1 other rank killed, 5 reported sick, 1 to base for discharge.

Sadly, the man reported killed on the 15th November 1915 was William Rowland Boast after being shot by a sniper. Information from a letter sent to a relative of William`s was reported on in one of the local Preston papers;

“A letter has been received by a relative stating that Boast was killed by a sniper. He was buried close to the trenches. Boast, before being called up was employed as a plumber at Preston Gas Works. He was 32 years of age and was the son of Mr and Mrs Richard Boast of 45 Commercial Street, Brierfield. He was over on furlough as recently as last Thursday. He has three other brothers serving and two brothers-in-law”.

The Preston Guardian then published confirmation of William`s death;

19 Private William Rowland Boast 1

Oddly, even though the Battalion was in billets, the only personal item noted as being returned to his widow Ann was William`s identity disc so whether anything else was returned at a later date is unknown.

William was buried in Aveluy Communal Cemetery Extension.

Ann Boast received a pension of 22s/6d per week with effect from the 12th June 1916 for herself and their four children. After the war she took receipt of his three medals, the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medal and would also have received William`s Memorial Scroll and Plaque in recognition of his sacrifice.

After the war William`s name was added to the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Gallery in Preston. He is also remembered on his local Church Memorial Tablet in St. Mary`s Church in Preston.


Memorial Tablet, St. Mary`s Church in Preston

Memorial Tablet, St. Mary`s Church in Preston

In 1919 Ann Boast remarried to Samuel Gordon and in 1939 the couple were living in Asheldon Street (off New Hall Lane) in Preston. Samuel was a boot and shoe repairer by trade. Ann`s daughter Evelyn was also living there and was a domestic servant.

Rank: Private
Service No: 19
Date of Death: 15/11/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, C Coy, 1st/4th Bn.
Cemetery: c

Janet Davis
Latest posts by Janet Davis (see all)
(This post has been visited 109 times in the last 90 days)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
%d bloggers like this:

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.