Boyes, James Riby

James Riby Boyes was the son of Robert Riby and Sarah Boyes (nee Carr) of Riversdale, Scalby, born in Scarborough on 18 December 1917 (according to the 1939 Register) and killed in action on 27 April 1943

The Scarborough Mercury of 30 April 1943 states –


Sgt. Air Gunner James Riby Boyes (25), eldest son of Mr and Mrs R R Boyes of Riversdale, (Station Road), Scalby, is reported missing from recent operations.  Prior to the outbreak of the war Sgt Boyes was actively employed in the had of Messrs W Boyes and Co. Ltd., and was associated with the Sherburn Flying Club.  Educated at Scarborough College, he took a keen interest in sport, and was a member of the Scarborough Rowing Club, Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club and the Scalby Cricket Club.  When war broke out he volunteered for service in the RAF Volunteer Reserve and joined the service in July of 1940.Sgt Boyes and the crew of a 90 Squadron Stirling Bomber were shot down by a night fighter and plunged into the Ijsselmeer.  Four of them rest in cemeteries in the Netherlands whilst the pilot, Sgt Leak and Sgt Boyes are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.

The operation was a partial failure, the Pathfinders having failed to mark the target accurately.  Although most of the bombing had fallen to the North East of Duisburg more than 300 buildings were destroyed.  Luftwaffe night fighters attacked the bomber stream on both the outward and homeward parts of the journey.  It is believed that the aircraft was shot down by Hpt. Werner Husemann of Stab/NJG1 at 03:37 hours.

On 14 May 2013 the Yorkshire Post reported on the Boyes’ family pilgrimage to the Dutch lake where the Stirling Bomber crashed.  It stated that James was the eldest of five brothers who was destined to become the head of W Boyes & Co. Ltd.  The visit coincided with the 70th anniversary of the crash and the 23 members of the family hired a sailing barge to take them to where the bomber entered the lake.  There they laid a wreath and held a ceremony of music and readings including poetry written by James to his parents.

Andrew Boyes, nephew to James, and Chairman and Joint Managing Director of the company, said that it is clear from his poetry that James did not expect to survive the war.

In 2017 the rear gunner’s doors from the Stirling were put up for sale on Ebay.

As well as being remembered on Scalby War Memorial and panel 143 of the Runnymede Memorial, James is remembered on a family headstone in Manor Road Cemetery, plot 5744.  It states, “Also Flt Sgt James Riby Boyes (Jim), RAF, the eldest beloved son of the above, killed in action over Germany April 27 1943 aged 25 years.

Thanks to Leslie (Fred) Fox for sharing his research.