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Old boy’s name added to Bury Grammar war memorial
A new name has been added to a war memorial at Bury Grammar School Boys after painstaking research from a teacher uncovered a forgotten hero.
Boyce Ethelbert Minton, who died in the Second World War, is now the 144th old boy to be featured on the memorial, which commemorates pupils who died in both world wars.
Head of history Mark Hone made the discovery by chance, while researching former pupils who joined the Army, in preparation for the centenary of the start of the First World War next year.
Boyce Minton and his younger brother Hampden lived in Manchester Road and both attended the school.
Aged 19, Boyce enlisted in the 11th Hussars cavalry regiment when the First World War broke out, and is thought to be the first Bury Grammar School old boy to be wounded in the war.
He was seriously injured while defending the Belgian village of Messines against a German attack. He recovered and returned to serve in his unit later in the war, but it is not known what happened to him after leaving the Army and returning to civilian life between the wars.
When the Second World War broke out, Boyce was living in Barrow in Furness, and then aged in his mid-40s, decided to enlist in the Merchant Navy.
In March, 1941, he was serving as the mate of the SS Brier Rose, a small cargo ship carrying a consignment of iron from Belfast to Cardiff.
However the ship never arrived at its destination, and Boyce was never seen again.
It was assumed that the ship had been attacked by a U-boat, but Mr Hone says it was more likely that it had sunk because of its age.
It is believed Boyce’s death was not notified to the school because he had moved away from the area, and now 72 years later, his name has finally been added to the memorial.
Boyce and the rest of his crew are also among 36,000 sailors remembered on the Tower Hill memorial in London.
Mr Hone spent hours researching Boyce’s story, and thought, because it was such a rare name, that it may have been the son of a former pupil. He said: “I had to provide all of the research to the governors to get his name up. It felt fitting that he should be included as he was the first old boy at the school to be wounded in the war. I think there will be a lot of people missing from battle who we may still discover.”
The school is appealing for anyone who knew Boyce Minton and may have more information about his life to get in touch by calling 0161 797 2700.
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