The Minute Book
Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Sam Boast
Topic: Officers

Sam Boast

The Regimental Handbook of The Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment, Preston, 2007

Sam Boast. In the late 1920s the officers of 2nd Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment subscribed towards a piece of silver which would serve as a memorial to those of their brother officers who had died in the Great War. The well-known sculptor Ried Dick was commissioned to make a silver statuette of a subaltern of the 82nd dressed in field service uniform. The honour of being the model fell to 2nd Lieutenant S.W. 'Sam' Boast MC because he seemed to symbolise the tradition of family service, the mutual trust and respect between officers and men, and the unifying and sustaining spirit of the Regiment. The Boasts had a tradition of service with the South Lancashires and at one time four of the family were serving together as Quartermaster, Platoon Commander, Drum Major and Drummer, while three Boast brothers won the Military Cross during the Great War. Sam, having been commissioned in the field, was decorated for gallantry in 1918. The sculpture was completed in 1930 and has had pride of place in the 1st Battalion Officers' Mess ever since. By tradition, Sam is never cleaned because the unpolished silver conveys the rugged feel of the mud of Flanders. His helmet, however, is shiny from the touch of generations of Regimental officers who, by leaning on Sam, can identify with the deeds of their forebears. At first sight, Sam looks rather stern and aggressive, but this is superficial. He represents, above all else, the good-humoured determination of the fighting men of Lancashire to succeed whatever the cost.

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Sam Boast's Medals

In 2015, Sam Boast's medals were acquired at auction by his Regiment.

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Dix Noonan Webb Auction; 25 Feb 2015 catalogue

M.C. London Gazette 3 June 1918:

'For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.'

Sidney William Boast arrived in France as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment on 14 August 1914, in which capacity he would have first gone into action at Frameries on the 24th. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the retreat from Mons, Captain H. Whalley-Kelly recording five officers and 149 other ranks killed, seven officers and 301 other ranks wounded or missing (Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934, refers).

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in his old battalion in October 1916, he was subsequently awarded the M.C. and mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 28 December 1918, refers). Mention of him is to be found in Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934:

'On the 23rd [October 1918], it was found that the enemy had destroyed the pontoon bridge by shell fire, but orders were issued for another to be constructed that night, and 'D' Company, under Lieutenant S. W. Boast, M.C., was detailed to establish themselves on the east bank. At 1.50 a.m. on the 24th the bridge was completed, and a platoon, under 2nd Lieutenant P. J. Nolan, crossed without opposition. Once across, Lieutenant Nolan advanced rapidly, no enemy being encountered until a burning house was reached several hundred yards beyond the river bank. At this point the platoon came under point-blank machine-gun fire from a building about 100 yards away, and also from other enemy post in the vicinity. One of these was located and rushed with the bayonet, whereupon two Germans were seen running from the building carrying what appeared to be the machine gun; they were fired upon, but the result is not known. Lieutenant Nolan then continued to work his way forward, but almost at once his platoon again came under heavy machine-gun fire, making further progress impossible, and he withdrew it to a position covering the bridge, where the sections entrenched. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Boast, with two of the other platoons, had crossed and established a position on the east bank. At 4 a.m. both banks were heavily shelled with gas and high explosive, and the pontoon bridge again destroyed, while 'D' Company's hastily organized defences became untenable as soon as daylight disclosed their exact location to the enemy. At 7 a.m. Lieutenant Boast withdrew his company to the west bank via the bridge on the front of the battalion on the right. The bold handling of 'D' Company on this occasion was a fine example of the policy of harassing the retiring Germans without intermission, even though the main advance might be temporarily held up owing to the difficulty of getting supplies forward across the devastated regions in the wake of the pursuers, and the desire to avoid needless casualties. These harassing tactics, in the conditions of open warfare now prevailing gave ample scope for initiative and skill on the part of company and platoon commanders, and the account of the various minor operations carried out in the last few weeks of the war shows that those of the Battalion let no opportunity slip.'

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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