John Alexander BOYNS

Year of Birth:  1890

Place of Birth:  Gympie, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  22 May 1916

Date and Place of Embarkation:  24 January 1917, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship:  HMAT Ayrshire A33

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  49th Australian Infantry Battalion; 9th Reinforcements

Regimental Number:  3469

Died:  9 June 1918


John Alexander Boyns was born in Gympie, Qld, on the 3 September 1890 to George Boyns and Elizabeth Quinn and the youngest of 4 siblings, Albert George born 1883, Amelia 1885, Elizabeth Beatrice 1887 and George Henry 1888.

John Alexander attended the Croydon State School and became a clerk in the warden’s office in Croydon in 1912 and from there transferred to Kingaroy, Wondai and Murgon as Clerk of Petty Sessions.  In January 1917 he became engaged to Miss Mona Emmons, a school teacher in Brisbane.

John’s father George who was a mining engineer well known in the Gympie, Croydon, Burketown, Cloncurry and Irvinebank districts, died in 1930 and his mother Elizabeth in 1939.

On his enlistment John Alexander was aged 25 years 6 months, occupation was Clerk Petty Sessions and his next of kin was his mother Elizabeth Boyns, 30 Scott Street, Cairns.  His height was 5 feet 6 inches, weighed 140 pounds with medium complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair.  He gave his religion as Church of England.  He also stated that he had been a member of Rifle Clubs in Qld for 5 ½ years.

During his service John Alexander qualified 1st class at the School of Musketry as he had fair knowledge of the Lewis gun.  He also proceeded through the ranks to Sergeant but reverted back to ranks when he transferred to 9th Reinforcement Battalion.

John Alexander Boyns was killed in action in Sailly-le-Sec, Somme Sector, France on the 9 June 1918 and was buried in the Communal Cemetery, Vaux-sur-Somme.  His remains were later reinterred at the Villers Bretonneux Military Cemetery.


HMAT Ayrshire A33 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial


NAA:B2455 – letter from sister


Northern Herald (Cairns) 19 September 1918 p43


Online Resources

Photograph of the: HMAT Ayrshire A33, Australian War Memorial

NAA: B2455, J A Boyns, National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial

Northern Herald (Cairns) 19 September 1918 p43

Gympie Times 28 June 1913 p5

The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 31 January 1917 p11  


Other Resources

The First Expeditionary Force: the Thursday Island Expedition: a collection of reference documents. Denis Bird, 2015 [CDFHS Library]


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