Regiment: Grenadier Guards, 1st Battalion, Guards Division
Service No: 25790
Date & place of birth: 16 November 1898, Petworth
Date & place of death:1 December 1917, Cambrai
For some reason, Reginald Boniface enlisted in Horsham to one of the most prestigious British Army regiments instead of to the usual Royal Sussex. He was one of the latest-born of those who died.
Reginald Boniface was born in November 1898, the son of Nelson and Sarah Boniface of Stag Park, Petworth. The family had been at Keyfox Farm on the Balls Cross Road in 1891; Stag Park is the “home farm” of the Leconfield estate. By 1911 they were in Lurgashall, just a few miles north of Stag Park, and again no doubt on a Leconfield farm. Reginald had brothers Henry, Nelson (who died as an infant) and George and a sister Alice. Reginald was at school in 1911.
Why Guardsman Boniface joined the Grenadier Guards is not clear. Though the regiment is best known now for its ceremonial functions in London, it was a full battle regiment in WW1. In 1917 Reginald’s battalion took part in many battles on the Western Front including Pilkem, Menin Road, Poelkapelle and Passchendaele, as well as the Battle of Cambrai in which Reginald died.
Death & commemoration
Guardsman Reginald Boniface was killed in action during the Battle of Cambrai on 1 December 1917, aged just 19. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, MR.17, Louverval.