Soldier Spotlight: Matthew “Scotty” Boyd

Image: The returning Sexsmith soldiers after WWII. Back – Bill Card, Dan Rycroft, Simon Haakstad, Jack Campbell, Andy Innes, George Cameron, Dale Harris, T. Copeland, Samuelson. Middle – J. Bond, G. Gerow, E. McDonald, G. Rix, Scotty Boyd, J. Siluch, Bryce Burns, L. Rasmussan, D. McNaughton, T. Forsythe Front – Jack Waters, H. Knight, B.Brown, L. White, C. Foote, C. Thomson, D. Wright, B. Murray, G. Kusyk, B. Moody, G. McQuitty, J. Thorpe. Photographer’s stamp: Art Craft, Grande Prairie, Alta. 1945 (SPRA 0644.01.08)

Matthew “Scotty” Boyd was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1904, the eldest of 9 siblings. At a very young age, Matthew showed talent for singing, and he was also active in cricket, running, and swimming. At 12 years he apprenticed to be a butcher while still pursuing his education and sports. In 1928 he was selected for the British Diving Team in the Olympics in Amsterdam. That same year he immigrated to Canada, going to work on a ranch near Peace River. This was quite a culture shock for him, and he was given the nickname Scotty because of his accent. Soon after his arrival in Canada he met Yukola, who he married. Scotty obtained work as a butcher and they moved to Beaverlodge in 1931. Over the years they lived in various areas: Beaverlodge, Grande Prairie, Hythe, Sexsmith, Peace River and Spirit River. Scotty won medals at the Grande Prairie Music Festival, and he joined the B.P.O. Elks No. 249 at Beaverlodge in 1938. He enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces for 6 years, 3 of which were spent overseas. After 15 years in Canada he was able to visit his family in Scotland again. An interesting army prank (in Holland) was that Scotty and some pals stole a train and crossed the border into enemy territory, where they were captured by the Germans, and escorted on a tour of the city before being released and having to face their Staff Officers! In 1954 the Boyds operated Lee Borden’s locker plant in Hythe, and in 1958 they bought their own business which became Boyd’s I.G.A. in Spirit River. They had 4 daughters: Marion, Gladys, Yukola, and Sheila. In later years they enjoyed holidays together, and Scotty served in the Spirit River Town Council. Matthew died in December 1975, but even in his last days in the hospital he sang Scottish songs.

Source: Wagon Trails Grown Over (taken from Beaverlodge to the Rockies Supplement) pp. 578-581
Photos: pp. 1153, 1162, and 580

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.