Private Edgar John Boxall

Regiment: 46th Battalion Canadian Infantry ‘The Saskatchewan Regiment’
Service No: 438000
Date & place of birth: 13 June 1890 in Lodsworth
Date & place of death: 5 May 1917 near Arras, France, aged 26

Private Edgar John Boxall was one of two close neighbours and most likely school friends from Lodsworth Common who emigrated to Canada to work as farmers, who enlisted in the Canadian forces in the same recruitment centre on the same day, and who served and were killed on the Western Front in France.

Family background

Edgar was born in Lodsworth Common on 13 June 1890, and was baptised on 14 September 1890 at St Peter’s church, Lodsworth. He was the son of William Boxall, a wheelwright of Brick Hill, Lodsworth Common, and his wife Kate née Beecroft who came from Lincolnshire.

By 1911 Edgar was a carpenter still living with his parents at Lodsworth Common.

In 1912 he emigrated to Canada to work as a farmer. It is likely that he sailed from Liverpool to Quebec on MS Virginian on 19 July 1912.

Military service

Edgar’s attestation papers show that he enlisted with the Canadian forces on 25 November 1915 in Edmonton, Canada as Private 438000, 46th Battalion, Canadian Infantry ‘The Saskatchewan Regiment’, part of the 4th Canadian Division. This was the same day and same place where his neighbour and school mate from Lodsworth Common, Richard Sherlock, enlisted: Richard had similarly emigrated to Canada to be a farmer.

Following enlistment Edgar presumably sailed to England, where his battalion was training. They departed from Southampton on 10 August 1916, arriving at Havre in France the next day. They served with the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division from 11 August 1916 until the Armistice. The unit has come to be known as The Suicide Battalion. They lost 1,433 killed and 3,484 wounded – a casualty rate of 91.5 percent – and won 16 battle honours in 27 months.

Death & commemoration

Edgar was killed in action near Arras, France on 5 May 1917. He was aged 26.

He was buried in Grave II.C.8 at Lievin Communal Cemetery Extension, Lievin, Pas de Calais. He is commemorated on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Subsequent family history

Edgar’s mother Kate died in 1938 and his father William in 1949. They are buried together in St Peter’s churchyard, Lodsworth in a grave with a small headstone engraved ‘William and Kate Boxall of Lodsworth Common’. They had been living at Cherry Cottage on Lodsworth Common. His elder brother William Laurence died in 1961 and was buried nearby.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project