Naval Officer-in-Charge Wellington 1943 - 1945
Captain A. D. Boyle, RNZNVR
Captain Alexander David Boyle, the son of well known South Canterbury farmer Alexander Boyle, and was born at Otaio, South Canterbury, on 3 November 1887. Captain Boyle was educated at Christ’s College Christchurch and Wanganui Collegiate.
At age sixteen Captain Boyle entered HMS Britannia to undergo officer training, followed by a period of sea training in HMS AUROA and HMS ILLUSTRIOUS. Following promotion from Cadet to Midshipman, he served in HMS POWERFUL on the Australian Station before joining HMS DIADEM of the Channel Fleet. Following a period ashore undergoing promotional courses for Lieutenant, he was posted to the Royal Yacht VICTORIA AND ALBERT, and HM Ships BLENHEIM and DONEGAL, before being promoted to Lieutenant.
At the outbreak of WWI he was serving on HMS NEW ZEALAND and saw actions off Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank. At the Battle of Jutland, and now promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Captain Boyle was serving as NEW ZEALAND’s Turret Officer for ‘X’ Turret when the ship received a direct hit near ‘X’ Turret, causing damage to the Turret’s roller track. For his conduct in this action, he was mentioned in dispatches. A period of service on the battleship HMS THUNDER, and the cruiser HMS CHATHAM saw him return to HMS NEW ZEALAND for the 1919 world cruise with Admiral of the Fleet Lord Jellicoe. This was Captain Boyle’s last appointment before retiring in the rank of Commander in 1920.
After retiring from the Royal Navy, Captain Boyle took up employment with the livestock company of Pyne Gould Guinness Ltd. At first he was employed for a number of years in the Christchurch office before transferring to Timaru where he rose to the position of Sub-Manager and a Director before retiring to go farming on his own account at ‘Birchbank’, Orari.
With the formation of the Canterbury Division of the RNVR, Captain Boyle was appointed the Division’s first Commanding Officer in the rank of Commander RNVR and was responsible for the establishment of the Division with a complement of one hundred and twenty officers and ratings. He retired a second time in 1934.
At the outbreak of WWII he was again recalled to service, and immediately appointed Naval Officer in Charge Lyttelton.
With the reorganization of the Naval Staff in 1940, the then Commander Boyle was appointed to the new post of Staff Officer for Technical and Material Duties on 17 July 1940. As such he was responsible for such matters as requisitioning vessels and fitting them out for minesweeping duties. In 1943 he took up the appointment as Naval Officer in Charge Wellington, where he remained until demobilized and retired once more for the third time in 1945 in the rank of Captain.
Retiring to his farm ‘Birchbank’, Orari, Captain Boyle took an active part in the community serving as President of the Temuka and Geraldine A&P Association, the President of the Navy League of NZ Canterbury Branch, and as an elected member of the Timaru Harbour Board from 1950 to 1962. He also retained his Directorship of Pyne Gould Guinness Ltd until his death.
He was a leading Friesian cattle breeder, a successful breeder of Tamworth pigs, and later became a breeder of Romney sheep. He took an active interest in racing, being a member of both the Canterbury Jockey Club and the Geraldine Racing Club. He also raced three horses.
His death occurred on 1 February 1965 and at his request was laid to rest in true naval fashion, in an oaken casket fitted with rope handles.
For his service, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal 1914-18, the Victory Medal 1918 with Mentioned in Dispatches, the Defence Medal, the British War Medal 1939-45, the New Zealand War Medal, the George V Silver Jubilee Medal, Groix de Guerre with Palm (France), and the Legion of Merit (Degree Officer) (USA).