George Clemenceau (1841 – 1929)
For the Ballard families of the Commonwealth forces in the First World War there were no less than 166 major catastrophes – the loss of a son. The number of other catastrophes like disfigurement & insanity … they are not measured here. This section is my tribute to the fallen by way of recording something of their biographies to provide an abiding memory of where they were from, the loved ones they had to leave and anything more I can provide to thank them with more than cold stone and an epitaph. Anyone who went to that war in any role deserves our thanks. I cannot yet provide recognition of all of those Ballards that returned but maybe one day ……
After ten years of research I have now managed to track down all 155 Ballards in UK units and 5 of the 11 Ballards in the ANZAC and Canadian forces. For some of the victims I have entered their family trees on WikiTree & for all of the First World War victims I have entered information on Every One Remembered. This is a collaboration between the Royal British Legion & the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with the objective of ensuring that by the end of the Centenary in 2018, every fallen hero from across the Commonwealth is remembered individually by those living today.
The loss of your child due to War must be very hard but spare a thought for the family of Henry & Sarah Ballard of Birmingham. Sarah had died in 1898 and Henry in June 1915 (with some suspicion that he committed suicide). This family lost the eldest son, Thomas, who died at Rooidam, South Africa in the second Boer war of 1900. They lost William in May 1915 as a result of shrapnel wounds & very soon George died in June 1915 at Ypres. In October 1917 Charles died at Passchendaele & in December 1917 Horace died reputedly as a result of war wounds. Walter died on 1st October 1918 at Sancourt, Nord, France. Finally after nearly twenty years suffering from war wounds the last brother, Alfred, died in 1935. Of eleven children there were nine brothers. Of these two died as small children, Alfred & Leonard, in 1892. The remaining seven sons all served in the Army & all died either in service or as a consequence of that service.
There were two Ballard couples who lost three and a further eight families that lost two sons:-
Alfred Abraham & Martha Elizabeth Ballard of St Pancras, London; Abraham – 1915 Gallipoli, John Samuel – 1917 Ypres & Sidney – 1918 Pas de Calais.
Charles & Grace Ballard of Sandown, Isle of Wight; Frederick – 1916 Pas de Calais, Richard – 1917 Jerusalem & Oliver – 1918 Nord.
Charles & Emma Ballard of Speenhamland, Berkshire; George – 1915 Gallipoli & Albert – 1918 Vimy Ridge
Frank & Maria Ballard of Rushden, Northamptonshire; Albert – 1915 Pas de Calais & Frank – 1918 Pas de Calais
Edward & Susannah Ballard of Bolton, Lancashire; Alfred – May 1915 2nd Battle of Ypres & Thomas – Feb 1915
Harriet Ballard a single mother of Basingstoke, Hampshire; George – 1916 Iraq and Arthur – 1918 Soissons.
Joseph & Mary Ann Ballard of Abingdon, Berkshire; John Henry – 1915 Pas de Calais & less than a year later Frederick (who won the Military Medal) – 1916 also at the Pas de Calais.
David & Harriet Ballard of Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire; Harry – 1916 Somme & Leonard – 1917 Pas de Calais
Charles & Eliza Ballard of Sudbury, Suffolk within 6 months both at Ypres, William – Feb 1915 & John – August 1915
William Buggins & Elizabeth Ann Ballard of Battersea, London on consecutive days 12th & 13th September 1918. William Richard Ballard & Thomas W Ballard were in different units but died in action just 4.5 km apart.
The most senior ranking deaths were Lt-Col Charles Naesmyth Bruere Ballard of 15 Brigade Royal Field Artillery killed at Boulogne in 1915 and Commander Charles Frederick Ballard of HMS Formidable sunk on 1 January 1915 while on Channel patrol off Portland Bill by torpedoes of German U-boat U-24. The ship sank quickly during bad weather resulting in the loss of 547 men from her complement of 780, and became the first battleship serving with the British Royal Navy to be sunk during World War I.The most promoted was Charles Willard Ballard MC of the Royal Sussex Regiment who rose through the ranks from a Private in 1914 to a Captain when he was killed at Cambrai in 1917.Not all of the fallen were casualties of war, little Albert Ballard a 5 feet 2 inch Cotton Spinner from Lancashire succumbed to pneumonia and died in Canterbury, Kent. Several survived the combat and died in the Spanish Influenza epidemic that tore through the army in late 1918.