Great War First Day of the Battle of the Somme 1st July 1916 Casualty and Posthumous Military Medal group awarded to Lance Corporal E. Boam, 2nd Battalion, Devon Regiment, who according to sources found, was originally involved in the rescue of the a 11 year old girl who fell from a boat in the sea at the Scilly Isles in August 1915, for which he was awarded the Royal Humane Society Certificate in December 1915. Present out on the Western Front from 22nd December 1915, he was killed in action on 1st July 1916, the infamous first day of the Battle of the Somme, though his death was not confirmed until early 1917. On that day the 2nd Devons were ordered to attack between Ovillers and La Boiselle, and having gone over the top then took heavy casualties losing 232 killed and 199 wounded, many were cut down by the German machine guns in what they called Mash Valley. An officer in his battalion wrote to his mother stated that “Boam was seen lying near their trenches. Deceased was a good lad and had he lived would have been sure to get promotion.” Boat was one of a small number of men posthumously awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in a special London Gazette listing on 28th July 1917. This award is most probably for his actions which led to his death on 1st July 1916.
Group of 3: Military Medal, GVR bust; (14569 L.CPL. E. BOAM. 2 DEVON: R.); 1914-1915 Star; (14569 PTE. E. BOAM. DEVON: R.); Victory Medal; (10569 PTE. E. BOAM. DEVON. R.)
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Edgar Boam was born in 1897 in Matlock, Derby, the son of Margaret Ellen Walton, and later moved with his mother to Rochdale, Lancashire. Having been educated in Rochdale at Heybrook Council School and All Saint’s Sunday School, he then went to work as a butcher for the firm of a Mr. Mason in Rochdale. Boam then enlisted into the British Army at Rochdale, joining as a Private (No.14569) the 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. In December 1915 just prior to being posted to the Western Front, Boam was presented with a Royal Humane Society Certificate for rescuing a 11 year old girl who fell from a boat in the sea at the Scilly Isles in August of that same year. Without any disregard for his own safety in noticing the young girl had fallen into the water, he jumped in fully clothed and with equipment, swam to her and pulled her into safety.
Boam saw service out on the Western Front from 15th December 1915. On 1st July 1916, the infamous first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 2nd Devons were ordered to attack between Ovillers and La Boiselle, and having gone over the top then took heavy casualties losing 232 killed and 199 wounded, many were cut down by the German machine guns in what they called Mash Valley.
Boam, by then a Lance Corporal, was originally posted as missing, only being confirmed as killed in action on the 1st July 1916 in March 1917. A newspaper article printed a segment of a letter written by an officer of the 2nd Devonshire regiment which gave the following details, “Lance Corporal Boam was seen lying near their trenches. Deceased was a good lad and had he lived would have been sure to get promotion.”
Boam was one of a batch of men who were posthumously awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 28th July 1917. The gazette states that the men listed were ‘since deceased, who had been killed in action or died of wounds subsequent to the date of the award of the Military Medal to them by the Commander-in-Chief in the Field.’ In all probability, this was a posthumous award for his actions on the 1st July 1916