George Boynes (1894-?)

by Christian McManus

In 1894, George Boynes was born in Andrews, South Carolina to Elizabeth Austin and William Boynes. Boynes was a Baptist and later joined the Elks Fraternal Order. Before enlisting into the Regular Army, George Boynes moved to Norfolk where he lived on 740 Smith St. and worked as a concreting and pile driving laborer employed by James Steward.

Boynes enlisted into the infantry of the Regular Army on August 5, 1918 and trained at Camp Humphreys in Virginia. After training Boynes was assigned to Co. F as part of the Labor Battalion nine miles away from Camp Humphreys as a Private. During this time, George Boynes would suffer from one permanent injury: his right ankle. He was discharged from Camp Humphreys, VA on December 28, 1918 due to his injury. Once he returned to civilian life, Boynes became a laborer at the Naval Base where he remained unmarried and without children according to his questionnaire.  

Boynes provided a lot of additional information on his questionnaire including information about his feelings towards military service, effects of camp experiences, and effects of service on his physical and mental health. Beginning with his feelings towards military service, Boynes believed that, “… the United States should maintain an army large enough to protect its interest both in times of peace and in time of war.” Following this response, he said that military service “did no harm to me and no good that I know of” however mentioned that he was “made stronger” in his religious belief. He goes on to say that God, “… directed the forces that defeated Germany and her company” when asked the effects of his experiences when contrasted with his state of mind pre-war. George Boynes signed off on his questionnaire on April 21, 1920 at the Y.M.C.A. building on Queen Street in Norfolk, Virginia.