Soldier footballer remembered in new play

Jimmy Boyd inspired hundreds of Hearts fans to enlist in World War 1 (Picture from Heart of Midlothian FC)

A SCOTS footballer who was killed in the First World War is to have his life remembered in a play at his former school.

Hearts player Jimmy Boyd joined the famous “McCrae’s Own” of the 16th Battalion of the Royal Scots at the outbreak of war, prompting hundreds of fans to enlist as well.

Boyd was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The Scarf, which will debut atWestCalderHigh School, follows two such fans as they go off to war, as well as featuring the Jimmy Boyd and soldier George McCrae.

“It is 95 years since the Battle of the Somme, but staff and pupils still pay tribute to their ex-pupil who fought and died there and all other ex-pupils who have served their country,” said Sandy Potter, pupil support manager at the school.

“The play tells the story of how both boys take part in the Battle of the Somme and was inspired by the story of Lance Corporal Jimmy Boyd.

“As a result of a project, and a short film we made called Lest We Forget about Jimmy Boyd a few years ago, pupils attend the remembrance services at Haymarket and at thevillageofContalmaison, inFrance, to lay a wreath on behalf of the school and Jimmy Boyd’s family.


“After the service in Contalmaison last year, we decided to do something a bit different to mark the occasion and have written this play.”

Boyd (back row, second from left) died in the Battle of the Somme (Picture from Heart of Midlothian FC)

The play is set in four parts, beginning in an Edinburgh tenement and ending in the trenches on the night before the Battle of the Somme.

McCrae’s Own Battalion was nicknamed after Sir George McCrae who led them into battle.

Thirteen Hearts players volunteered for service despite the fact they were leading the Scottish First Division, which later became the Scottish Premier League.

Five hundred of the club’s fans and hundreds of other local men followed suit, including players from Hibs, Raith Rovers and East Fife.

Many, like Boyd and teammates Duncan Currie, Harry Wattie and Ernest Ellis, died in the Battle of the Somme.