Sailor marries best friend’s widow

Reprinted from The Packet, November 8, 2018
by Lester Green

Silas Boone sailed  overseas with his best buddy, Alexander Peddle to defend King and Country. Alexander lost his life on the HMS Dirk leaving behind a wife and young child to defend for themselves on the home front. When Seaman Boone returned from the war, he married the widow Julia Peddle.

Seaman Silas Boone, Hodge’s Cove (Photo courtesy of Peddle family)

Silas was born at Hodge’s Cove to Isaac and Georgina (Drover) Boone on February 20, 1894. He was one of six siblings and second born son. He first enlisted with the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reservist in January 1912 and served the required 28 days. Records indicate that he returned in the fall of 1912 to complete an additional 28 days. Sailors usually returned the following year but because he had completed an additional 28 days in 1912, he did not return in 1913. During January 1914, he completed 28 more days for a total of 84 days of naval training before the war was declared in the summer of 1914.

Silas was called to active duty in August 1914 when the government issued a Royal Proclamation requiring all trained Reservist to report to St. John’s. He was among the first deployment of sailors from St. John’s to leave on the SS Franconia on November 6. Among the sailors onboard, 33 were from the Southwest Arm area.

Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve Engagements (Application). Source TRPAD_GN 182.13

Upon arrival at Bristol, England he was assigned to HMS Pembroke, a shore-based naval facility. He was assigned to the HMS Fiona, an armed boarding steamers, five days later. The ship served under the command of the 10th cruiser squadron and carried out boarding duties at sea until December 1915.

He was assigned to the HMS Pembroke I for the next 16 months during which time he was assigned to various merchant ships. He was then transferred to HMS President III at Bristol where he remained until he was granted furlough to the HMS Briton, St. John’s on August 2, 1917.

Seaman Boone visited his family and returned to the HMS Briton on November 13. He was again deployed overseas and assigned to the Royal Naval Division Trawler Section at HMS Vivid III, Devonport. He was served on different trawlers while he remained attached to this shore-based structure.

On January 11, 1919, he received his final overseas naval orders to return home to the HMS Briton.  His final three months with Royal Naval Reserve was spent at HMS Briton, St. John’s. He was demobilized on April 2, 1919 and returned to Hodge’s Cove.

Ship’s ledger for Royal Naval Reserve. Source TRPAD_ GN 182.3

On October 27, 1920, he married the widow, Julia Ann Peddle (Bishop), in a ceremony held at Hodge’s Cove. She was formerly married to Alexander Peddle, a friend and fellow sailor from Hodge’s Cove. Alexander lost his life when the HMS Dirk was torpedoed and sank on May 28, 1918. At the wedding Archer Peddle, brother of Alexander, stood as a witness to their marriage.

Together, Silas and Julia raised two children. Ralph, the son of Alexander and Julia and their own daughter, Annie Maria.

Victory Medal and The Star award to Seaman Boone (Photo courtesy of Eric Peddle)

Seaman Boone was not finished with the war overseas. When Germany declared war against Britain on September 1, 1939, Silas volunteered and became one of few individuals from the area to serve in both world wars . He was 45 years old and became a camp foreman for the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU).

Silas passed away at his home in Hodge’s Cove in 1969. He is buried next to his wife at St. Mary’s Anglican Cemetery, Hodge’s Cove.