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  • Photo published in the Hucknall Dispatch dated 26th November 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Long Eaton, Derbyshire
Born c1892 (Army Service Record. CWGC gives his age at death as 21, newspaper report gives age as 23). 1901 census: living at 13 Kirkwhite Avenue, Long Eaton, John (father) age 50 lace maker, Elizabeth (mother), sisters Sarah (29), Mabel (21), Ethel (12), Lillian (7) and brothers Joe (27), Frank (24), Percy (18). John age 9. He was the brother of Percy Ballard of 70 Tamworth Road, Long Eaton Nottinghamshire (CWGC). On enlistment 1911 his next of kin were given as his brothers Joseph (Long Eaton) and Percy (New Sawley), father deceased. He was a Methodist.
Was a lace hand prior to joining the Grenadier Guards in January 1911 on a short service engagement. Joined Nottinghamshire Constabulary in January 1914 following discharge to Army Reserve in the same month. Served as constable (Pc34), 'J' Division, Nottinghamshire Constabulary. He was recalled to the colours on 4 August 1914.
07 Nov 1914
21
485232 - CWGC Website
15080
Private
2nd Bn Grenadier Guards
Army Service Record held by RHQ Grenadier Guards. He enlisted in the Grenadier Guards on 25 January 1911 on a short service engagement at the age of 19 years 8 months and joined at Caterham on 31 January 1911 (home service, 1911 census, military schedule, at Godstone, Surrey). He served three years with the Colours then was discharged to the Army Reserve in January 1914 on expiry of period of army service. He was recalled to the Colours on 4 August 1914 and went to France on 12 August 1914. He died on 7 November in the 4th Clearing Hospital of wounds to both legs and an arm sustained when a shell burst near him on 6 November. He is buried in Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery (grave ref I.M.44). He was awarded the 1914 star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Report and photograph in South Notts Echo, 23 November 1914, with eye witness account by a fellow soldier, Private James Herbert Bradley, Grenadier Guards, who was also a former army reservist (Grenadier Guards) and a fellow policeman. Bradley, who survived the war, wrote the following to a friend who had sent them some cigars, "Smoking is our only comfort out here, but I am very sorry to say that poor Ballard won't be able to enjoy any of them, as he is wounded and perhaps he is now in England if he has got over it - which I hope he has. He got wounded on November 6th with a shell which burst against him. He was wounded in both legs and arms very severely". "My friends, it’s awful being at war. I have never had a bit of rest since I came out but I shall stick to it and do my duty for the good of the old country. "I don’t know what will be the ending of it, but I can tell you it’s awful - the sights I see and the bursting of Black Marias, shells, and the whizzing of bullets. It’s enough to drive you off your head, but I have got used to all that now. It’s nothing to what it was at first. We have had some very big battles, then you see plenty of German dead and wounded lying about, but we do not get off scot free. We have a few but nothing compared to theirs. "The other day we had our trenches in [a] beautiful wood and in about two hours the Germans smashed it up into match wood with their big shells, so you see what we poor beggars have to put up with. We lost a few men there but we have done some good work, and stuck to our trenches. We got praised very much by our Generals and the King also sent us a praiseworthy message for our gallant conduct in sticking to the position. "The Germans keep us busy enough when they try to rush our position. They come in hundreds like fleas, and when you kill one, hundreds come to his funeral. It’s marvellous where they keep coming from. We shoot hundreds of them, but there always seem to be plenty more. It’s awful to see the sights after they have attacked us. They lie about like dead sheep. We get some funny things to contend with - Black Marias, or Jack Johnsons, or Coal Boxes. They go off three times worse than a clap of thunder, and they blow the earth up and make a hole that you could get a horse and cart into them comfortably. So fancy one of them dropping into your trench. I have had them drop not above ten yards away from me; it’s awful; you want a constitution like a horse to stand that, what with bullets and shells bursting." A photograph and an extract from the newspaper report of his death is on website, www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk/page/ballard_police_constable0_of_hucknall
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo published in the Hucknall Dispatch dated 26th November 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    John George Ballard - Photo published in the Hucknall Dispatch dated 26th November 1914 , courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
  • Commonwealth war grave commission headstone marking his grave at Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    John George Ballard - Commonwealth war grave commission headstone marking his grave at Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Courtesy of Murray Biddle