Charles Hilton Boyce

He was guiding three mules hauling artillery when a shell exploded nearby and the shrapnel took the whole stomach out of one of the mules.

Charles Hilton Boyce was on his regular duty providing transportation support with the 10th Canadian Railway Corps overseas. On this particular day he was using three mules to haul artillery carriage. The mules were connected in a line with a chain and fastener to allow the soldiers to quickly disconnect a mule if it was shot or out of commission so the rest of the team could continue. Charles was near the centre mule when a shell exploded nearby and the shrapnel took the whole stomach out of the mule, killing it instantly.

“Charles said it had missed his leg by the thickness of his puttee,” recalled Douglas Boyce, the son of Charles. Charles unhooked the chain from the dead mule and hopped on one of the two remaining mules so they wouldn’t stop carrying the load. “When asked in later years of what happened to him during the war, Charles would only grin as our mother would tell us kids, ‘your father had his ass shot from under him,”’ recalled Douglas. “We in the family weren’t aware until many years later that he was referring to his mule and not his own anatomy.”

Charles was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1895. He enlisted on February 22, 1916 and served in England, France, and Belgium. After the war, Charles went to Truro, Nova Scotia and met and married Harriet Hay. They lived out their lives in Truro with thirteen children.

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