Fonds 2004/20 - Joe Boyle collection

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Joe Boyle collection

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Reference code

CA ON00093 2004/20

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Dates of creation area


  • 1897-1984 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

4 cm of textual records
75 photographs : b&w and col.; 18 x 12.5 cm or smaller

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Administrative history

The Joe Boyle Repatriation Committee was a committee of the Oxford Historical Society in Woodstock, Ontario. The Committee became involved in 1981 when the Oxford Historical Society agreed to the task of returning his body from England to Canada after a plea from Flora Boyle, the 89 year-old last heir of Joe Boyle. The Dept. of National Defence transported his body to Canada on service aircraft in 1983. Joe Boyle (1867-1923) was an adventurer whose expeditions included gold mining in the Klondike and rescuing the Romanian national treasure during the First World War. From Southern Ontario, Boyle ran away to sea as a teenager, returned a few years later, married, had a family and ran a successful business in the United States until the Klondike gold rush. In 1897 he packed up and headed for the Yukon, after a brief interval as a manager for a heavy-weight prize fighter. He remained in the Yukon until 1914, building up a very profitable gold mining enterprise. When the First World War broke out Boyle could not enlist in the Canadian Army because he was too old, but he organized and financed the Boyle Yukon Machine Gun Detachment, which served in France under British command. Boyle did go to Europe and became an honourary Lieutenant-Colonel. He helped to organize Russia's food distribution system and tried to save the Tsar, and subsequently helped to defend Romania from the Central Powers. He received medals from Britain, France, Russia and Romania for his efforts during the war, and afterwards was a friend of Queen Marie of Romania and King George V of Britain. He died in England in 1923. His remains were repatriated to Canada and buried in the family plot in Woodstock, Ontario in 1983.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of material documenting Joe Boyle's lifetime activities and the repatriation of his remains to Canada from England. Includes a brief biography, newspaper and magazine clippings re his various exploits, and a narrative by Queen Marie of Romania about Boyle's help to her country. Also contains correspondence, notes, and reports of the "Joe Boyle Repatriation Committee", as well as programs detailing Woodstock's Joe Boyle Day, held 28 June, 1983, and the military funeral accorded to Boyle when he was re-interred in Woodstock, Ontario in 1983. Also includes photographs of Boyle in the Klondike and during the First World War, portraits of Boyle and his son, Boyle's original grave site in England and his new grave site and headstone in Woodstock.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was compiled by the Joe Boyle Repatriation Committee and was received during 1982-1983 from the Committee.


Language of material

  • English

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Associated materials

The following related record can be found in the Kardex collection:
958.009 (D10) [Boyle, J.W. – Hon. Lt-Col DSO. Copy of a report to Chief of the General Staff, London, dated 4 Jan 18 on work carried on in Russia and Roumania during the First World War. Report not signed but presumed to have been submitted by Hon Lt-Col J.W. (Joe) Boyle DSO. Received from Professor R.A. MacKay, Science Dept, Carleton College.]
Associated material can also be found at the National Archives of Canada. The title is the Joseph Whiteside Boyle fonds and the reference number is R2593-0-1-E (the former number was MG 30 E428).

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

Collection originally titled "Biographical file - Boyle, Joseph Whiteside." The following books on Joseph Whiteside Boyle can be found in the DHH library:

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