Captain Guy Livingston Boddington, 6th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was reported missing in action, believed captured, on 19th December 1916, after going out on night patrol. His parents, Samuel (a woollen merchant) and Eliza, lived at Hillfield Hall, Solihull having moved there from Edgbaston between 1901 and 1905.
Guy Livingston Boddington was born in Stourbridge in 1891 and was the youngest of nine children (four boys, five girls). He was educated at Messrs Till and and Wright’s Preparatory School, Malvern, and afterwards at Radley College, Oxfordshire.
By 1911, aged 19, he was working in his father’s business, Samuel Boddington & Sons, woollen merchants, in Cannon Street, Birmingham. On the outbreak of war he joined the Army, being commissioned Second Lieutenant on 19th October 1914. His older brother, Ralph, also joined the Army and was killed in 1917.
Guy Livingston Boddington married Nell Severn in Pewsey, Wiltshire between April-June 1916, less than a year before his death. Their daughter, Joan Elizabeth (1916-1982), was born on 28th December 1916, nine days after her father’s death.
Guy Boddington was initally listed as wounded and missing, presumed to be a prisoner of war, before being declared presumed dead a year later. The Leamington Spa Courier 5th January 1917 reported the circumstances surrounding his death:
It appears that Captain Boddington, with a patrol, went out at night to take up a position in front of our lines, and got right on top of a German advanced post before either they or the enemy were aware of the other’s presence. Captain Boddington shot two Germans in the post, and two more were shot by his men, but a machine gun and rifle fire were opened on them from the German trench in the rear, and the Captain was hit as well as another man. A lance-corporal and another man were trying to remove their officer when the other man was hit, and the lance-corporal was unable to do anything more by himself, although he tried. The result was that Captain Boddington had to be left on the German parapet. It is considered practically certain that he was taken in by the enemy, and there is a fair chance of his being alive in German hands. The commanding officer of Captain Boddington’s regiment says :- “He had done magnificent work in the trenches previous to this occurrence, and is a great loss to me both as a friend and as an officer.”
He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and is also listed on Solihull War Memorial, as well as on the war memorial at Radley School. The school is also commemorating Old Radleians on the centenary of their deaths on the school’s Archive and Special Collections blog.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian