Second Lieutenant Ralph Thomas Boddington, 1st/10th Battalion, London Regiment, was killed in action in Palestine on 2nd November 1917. He was born in Selly Park, Birmingham, on 8th June 1883 and was the seventh of the ninth children (four sons, three daughters) of woollen merchant, Samuel and his wife Elizabeth Mary (née Pask Hughes), who had married in 1872. Ralph was the second of their sons to die on active service. Their youngest child, Guy Livingston Boddington, was killed in action on 19th December 1916.
Ralph was admitted to King Edward’s School, New Street, Birmingham in 1895, and matriculated at Merton College, Oxford in 1902, taking a B.A. in 1905 and an M.A. in 1909. He became a solicitor and senior partner in the firm of Hooper, Ryland and Boddington, Birmingham.
On 12th October 1910, 27-year-old Ralph married Muriel Jessie Harris, aged 22, at Stoneleigh parish church. The groom gave his address as his parents’ home, Hillfield Hall, Solihull. After their marriage, the couple set up home at Barras, Kenilworth Road, Berkswell.
By March 1915, Ralph had joined the Arden Volunteer Rifle Corps, which was formed in December 1914 and met at the George in the Tree Assembly Rooms for drilling purposes. The Corps was affiliated to the Central Association of Training Corps and covered Berkswell, Balsall, Barston, Hampton-in-Arden, and Tile Hill. The Coventry Herald 30th July 1915 reported that R. T. Boddington had qualified as a second class shot at the 2nd Battalion Camp in Warwick.
The London Gazette of 28th August 1916 announced that Cadet Ralph Thomas Boddington would be Second Lieutenant on probation with effect from 4th August 1916.
He was killed in action on 2nd November 1917, aged 32, and is buried at Gaza War Cemetery. He is also commemorated locally at Berkswell and Solihull, as well as at Merton College and King Edward’s School.
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