In memory of Lt David Boyce

by Olivia Cox November 17

I thought I’d write a quick post today in memory of a darling friend of mine who was killed on this day last year by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. I don’t mean this to turn into a sob story, so please bear with me – it just seems right that he should still be remembered.

Dave was serving with B Squadron, 1st Battalion The Queen’s Dragoon Guards when his armoured vehicle hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), killing him and his driver.

Dave was 25 (it was his birthday two months previously, almost to the date), and he’d been in theatre for just one month.

The last time I saw was him was at his leaving party, at the old Valmont (now Dukebox) in Chelsea, and the memory of his mascara-slash-tear stained (oops) blue striped shirt (T.M. Lewin, as always) as I walked away will stay with me forever.

There are so many words to describe Dave, and so few to describe the loss of him. Suffice to say, the world is a lesser place and the Army feels – and will continue to feel – his loss severely. 

Dave’s passing out parade from RMAS in Aug 2010
Dave was so very, very enthusiastic about the army – it was his passion. He and I served as Platoon Commanders at Exeter University Officer Training Corps (aka student army), which is actually where we met. I remember how exciting it used to be see his smiling face coming towards me covered in camoflage cream when I was cold, wet and frankly miserable in the middle of some field somewhere. 

Olivia Cox

I did always feel a bit sorry for Dave though, on exercise. He had a real thing about feet – he hated them being to warm, especially at night. So, sleeping bags were a real issue for him, and he had to do this weird maneuver to poke his feet out the side. Wherever possible, he also used to walk barefoot – I can remember him wearing flip flops in the snow at uni. Maybe that was just an Exeter thing…?!
In Turkey, 2009
Dave on Landy

From EUOTC, Dave commissioned out of Sandhurst and completed the cavalry’s Young Office course, before being accepted onto the Infantry’s version (much more hard-core). No mean feat – Dave was pretty special and immensely good at his job.

He was so proud of what he did – I lost count of the number of times that he just “had” to turn up to my house in his stinking uniform after some exercise or another because he “simply hadn’t had time”. I think he secretly quite liked seeing the neighbours’ twitching curtains as he pulled up in Landy (his bright red Land Rover Defender). 

Dave was wise beyond his years, but also charmingly self-depreciating. He had time for everyone, and was so easily swayed by those he cared about (he bought me my first pet – Freddie, a slightly grotesquely over-sized hamster with one red eye – less than a month after I met him). 

One of Dave’s favourite places in the world was Rock in Cornwall, particularly Lumpy Bay and Crumpit (I’m quite sure that these are not their proper names, but they’re what I learnt them as, and that is how they’ll stay). If you’re ever down there, stop in at the sailing club – there’s a pair of Binoculars there dedicated to Dave’s memory. He really did love everything about Rock. 
Dave was one of those people who was annoyingly good at just about everything he tried at. He was an awesome rugby player, great rower, and hugely passionate about sailing – he did the Sydney to Hobart yacht race a couple of years ago on a 69 foot-er. I remember sitting by my laptop for hours waiting for the live stream to start because Dave had got confused about the time difference.
Whilst I knew him, Dave fell in love with skiing (he’d previously been a boarder, boo hiss). As was typical of him, he immediately bought all the gear, including a pair of particularly luminous Salomon boots that were the unfortunate butt of many jokes for at least one season.
Sailing in The Solent
Around the same sort of time, Dave also took up running. Now. I like to think that this was to keep up with me (honestly, I used to beat him early on) but actually I think it was just Dave wanting to be good at everything he did. Soon, he was doing 10k’s (he did that Nike one where everyone ran in their own city and raised a load of money), and we were having furious rows on our ritual jogs because I couldn’t keep up and he had therefore “stolen my sport”. Please don’t ask me to explain that one…

I don’t really want to end this post because I know there is so much more to say about Dave. But frankly I could talk about him for years. 

I have no doubt that Dave is up there somewhere, having a nose around and checking out what we’re all doing from time to time. Wherever he is, I like to think he’s armed with a steady stream of Champagne, menthol cigarettes (the smell will forever remind me of him) and a large amount of pick ‘n’ mix sweets (particularly the long red pencils with the white innards. And maybe some white mice. And definitely the odd Percy Pig, Reversy Percy or Fizzy Pig Tails).

In Turkey

 Always loved, never forgotten. x

P.s. here’s another couple of pictures that I just love…

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