Far from the Front

West Calder: A Scottish Village and the Great War

Email: jamesfanning@icloud.com



A K Boyd

The funeral of a local soldier who died in a London hospital, Robert Boyd of Mossend, took place in the village in late January and the Rev Anderson again used the opportunity to remind local people about their duty.


Corporal Boyd had been home on furlough from France during the Christmas that had just gone. On returning to London he took ill and died in hospital from pneumonia.


Much organisation went into his funeral on Tuesday, January the 18th. It was an impressive affair, as much for the benefit of villagers as for his relatives. Members of the 'Hope of West Calder' Tent of Rechabites, of which Corporal Boyd was a member, walked in front of the hearse. Following the hearse came a party of soldiers from the Highland Light Infantry, his relatives and 'members of all classes in the community'. Large crowds gathered at the side of the road to watch the funeral procession pass. At the cemetery soldiers carried the coffin shoulder high to the grave. There followed a very moving ceremony, conducted  by the Rev Anderson at the graveside.


The following Sunday, referring to the sacrifice made by Corporal Boyd, the Rev Anderson said that "One of the most remarkable things about the present war, one of the glories that swim up through all its horrors and atrocities, and for the moment submerges them, is the courage which is manifested not merely by the saint or hero, but by just the average ordinary man."


Corporal Boyd was just such a man.


"They have gone out from our shops and offices, from our factories and farms, and mines and they are just the kind of men you and I are accustomed to meet from day to day in our common life and all for the cause of King and Country."


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