Captain Claude Boyle May

Biography of Captain Claude Boyle May

Claude Boyle May was born on 1st June 1891 in Bridgeton, Glasgow, to James and Elizabeth Glen Boyle May. James was a Master Blacksmith and Claude was the couple’s third child and only son.

The May family subsequently moved to Rutherglen, where Claude attended secondary school before transferring, aged 15, to the Glasgow Pupil Teachers’ Institute. There he completed the Junior Student’s Certificate course, which included approximately 270 hours of training and practice in the art of teaching, and was one of the main qualifications for entry to teacher training college. Claude gained the Junior Student’s Certificate in the summer of 1910, and proceeded to the Glasgow Provincial Training College (forerunner of Jordanhill College of Education, now the University of Strathclyde), where he enrolled for a full, four-year course of teacher training offered in conjunction with the University of Glasgow. Students on this particular course were required to take some of their subjects at the College, and others at the University. If successful, they obtained two qualifications: the Teacher’s General Certificate, entitling them to teach in primary schools, and a University degree. Before starting his course, Claude was obliged to take the University’s preliminary examinations as he did not have sufficient Leaving Certificate passes to enable him to matriculate there; fortunately, he secured the necessary pass in Higher French.

Claude concluded his professional training at the Glasgow Provincial Training College in the summer of 1914, qualifying for the Teacher’s General Certificate with additional qualifications to teach music and drawing in primary schools. He also finished his fourth year at University, in which he took Maths and Natural Philosophy, but had yet to complete his studies for the BSc degree when war broke out. Claude enlisted for war service, and was commissioned in November 1914, serving with the 6th Bn. Border Regiment. He became a full Lieutenant on 10th August 1915, just after the regiment had landed at Suvla Bay during the Gallipoli campaign.

He was wounded in that campaign and distinguished himself sufficiently to be mentioned in Sir Ian Hamilton’s Despatches from that theatre of war. Claude was soon patched up, and returned to rejoin the 6th Border Regiment, this time in France, where he was promoted to Captain, and awarded the Military Cross for actions in October 1917. As so often happened, the award of the Military Cross would not be confirmed until 17th December 1917, a month after his death.

Captain Claude Boyle May died on 19th November 1917, aged 26. He is buried in Loos British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, where his parents had the inscription ‘thy will be done’ added to his gravestone. They also added Claude’s name to their family grave in Rutherglen Cemetery.

He is further remembered on the Rutherglen War Memorial; the Rutherglen Burgh Council Roll of Honour; the Roll of Honour of the Glasgow Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers, and the Glasgow Provincial Training College War Memorial, located in the David Stow Building on the former Jordanhill Campus.


Captain Claude Boyle May
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 6th Border Regiment
Degree: Student
Awards: Military Cross, Mentioned in Despatches
Comments: Killed in action 19 November 1917
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/810, 1148
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/182


With thanks to Anne Cameron from the University of Strathclyde for providing information about Claude Boyle May's studies there.

There are no comments available.