Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

BALSHAM WAR MEMORIAL

Compiled and copyright © 2001 Dave & Martin Edwards & Tony Beeton
Tony Beeton is the nephew of Pte Sidney Beeton
Photographs of graves copyright © 2005 David Male

The memorial is to be found in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Balsham and takes the form of a monument with a deep octagonal base surmounted by three octagonal steps, a plinth with a tapered shaft topped with a gabled Crucifix. The memorial is made from limestone and as such weathers badly. There are 24 names listed for World War 1 and 8 for World War 2. The inscription and names are inscribed on the plinth and the steps of the north face. The memorial was constructed in 1919 by the Oxford architect Mr F E Howard. World War II names were added in December 1946. A Roll of Honour Book was also created to accompany the memorial.

Photograph Copyright © Tony Beeton 2003

REMEMBER THOSE FROM BALSHAM
WHO IN THESE YEARS OF WAR
MADE THE GREAT SACRIFICE

1914 – 1918

ANSELL George

Rifleman 49410, 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own). Killed in action Saturday, 5th October 1918 in France & Flanders. Born Congly, North Wales, enlisted Cambridge, resident Balsham. Buried in ETERPIGNY BRITISH CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot/Row/Section C. Grave 10.

BASS William

Private 2398, 10th Battalion (Prince of Wales' Own Royal) Hussars. Killed in action Saturday, 9th March 1918 in France & Flanders. Born and enlisted Cambridge, resident Balsham. Buried in TERTRY COMMUNAL CEMETERY, Somme, France. Plot/Row/Section A. Grave 4.

BEETON Sidney Edward

Private, 15766, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment who was killed in action on Saturday, 1st July 1916. Born Balsham, enlisted Linton. Buried in OVILLERS MILITARY CEMETERY, Somme, France. Plot XII. Row X. Grave 5.

Photograph Copyright © Tony Beeton 2005

BEETON William M

Private 29068, 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). Killed in action Monday, 13th November 1916 in France & Flanders. Born and resident Balsham, enlisted Bury St Edmunds. Buried in ANCRE BRITISH CEMETERY, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France. Plot VII. Row A. Grave 27.

BIGGS Owen John

Bombardier 36437, 59th Seige Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died of wounds Thursday, 23rd September 1915, age 23. Born Balsham, enlisted Bury St Edmunds. Son of John and Sarah Biggs, of Balsham, Cambridge. Buried in CHOCQUES MILITARY CEMETERY, Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row D. Grave 118.

BIGGS Robert Gadd

Private 3416, 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars. Killed in action Tuesday, 8th October 1918. Born Belsham (Balsham), enlisted Bury St Edmunds, resident London. Buried in BUSIGNY COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, Nord, France. Plot IV. Row B. Grave 27.

BROWN Albert William

Private 63087, 3rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment.) Died 26th May 1918. Aged 25. Born Balsham 19 August 1889. Son of Mrs. C. Brown, of 9, Chimney Lane, Balsham, Cambs; brother of Violet. Labourer. Unmarried. Enlisted and passed fit at Montreal 24 October 1914. Height 5ft 9½inches, girth 35½inches, complexion dark, eyes grey, hair brown; religion Church of England. He had heart tattoos on his hands and his right forearm. No known grave. Commemorated on VIMY MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Roll of Honour states 2nd Canadians KIA France 25 May 1915. National Archives of Canada Accession Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 1119 - 37

From Andy Pay's research into the Marquis de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour Volume 1 , Part 1, Page 55, the following:

Albert William BROWN, Private, number 63087, 3rd Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards) Canadian Expeditionary Force. Son of Albert Charles Brown of Balsham co Cambridge, by his wife Mary dau of James Purkiss. Born Balsham 19 August 1889, educated council school there and went to Canada 22 March 1912. He joined the Canadian Grenadiers in June 1913 and at the outbreak of war volunteered for foreign service, came over with the second contingent and after a period of training at Shorncliffe went to the western front. He had only been in France a month when he was killed in action 26 May 1915.

BROWN George Horace

Private 54164, 20th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. Killed in action 4th October 1918 in France & Flanders. Born and resident Balsham, enlisted Peterborough. Formerly 205098, Northamptonshire Regiment. Buried in BEAUREVOIR BRITISH CEMETERY, Aisne, France. Plot/Row/Section G. Grave 24. [Only listed as Horace Brown on SDGW and as 54163 on CWGC]

BROYD Frederick

Private 3/7040, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, died of wounds on Friday, 25th August 1916. Aged 31. Born Finchingfield, Essex, enlisted Bury St Edmunds. Son of John and Sarah Broyd, of Balsham, Cambs. Buried in ABBERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY, Somme, France. Plot VI. Row H. Grave 13.

CLARKE George

Private 26126, 95th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). Killed in action Thursday, 8th November 1917. Born and resident Balsham, enlisted Linton. Formerly 16297, Suffolk Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on TYNE COT MEMORIAL, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 154 to 159 and 163A

CLARKE Rowland

Private 15599, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Killed in action on Saturday, 1st July 1916. Age 25. Born Balsham, enlisted Linton. Son of James and Alice Clarke, of Townsend Cottages, Linton, Cambs. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 1 C and 2 A. [Spelt Roland CLARKE on memorial]

DEER Herbert

Private 2654, 50th Battalion, Australian Infantry, killed in action on Thursday, 18th October 1917. Aged 30. Born Balsham. Farmer. Educated at Balsham. Son of James and Susannah Frances Deer, of Frogshall, Balsham, Cambs. Enlisted 30 August 1916 6th Regiment, transferred to 50th Battalion 18 March 1917. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 7 - 17 - 23 - 25 - 27 - 29 - 31. Australian War Memorial Circular Document

FREE Jonas

Private 9815, 1st Battalion, King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry). Killed in action on Saturday, 8th May 1915. Age 24. Enlisted Cambridge. Brother of Mr. T. Free, of 8, Church St., Wakefield Rd., Normanton, Yorks. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 47

GOODCHILD John Stanley

Private 3290, Suffolk Yeomanry. Killed in action Monday, 29th November 1915 at Gallipoli. Born and resident Balsham, enlisted Woodbridge. No known grave. Commemorated on the HELLES MEMORIAL, Turkey. Panel 19.

PASK David

Private, 14141, Depot Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died on Wednesday, 24th November 1915. Born Balsham, enlisted Linton. Commemorated in MANCHESTER SOUTHERN CEMETERY, Lancashire. Q. 393 (Screen Wall).

HEAD, MC & Bar Raymond Evelyn

Lieutenant acting Captain, 3rd Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment). Died on Sunday, 24th November 1918. Aged 34. Son of Dr. R. T. Head, of Balsham, Cambs.; husband of Margaret L. Head, of 43, Mildred Avenue, Watford. Awarded the Military Cross (M.C.) & Bar. Buried in EAST LONDON CEMETERY, Plaistow, Essex. Plot/Row/Section 52. Grave 16139. Also No known grave. Commemorated on a memorial in Balsham Church.

KINSEY Walter Simon

Private 12706, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Killed in action on Thursday, 20th July 1916. Aged 19. Born Newmarket, enlisted Ipswich. Son of Robert and Rhoda Kinsey, of Monewden, Framlingham, Suffolk. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 1 C and 2 A

NOBLE Joseph Stanley

Private 16564, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Killed in action on Saturday, 1st July 1916. Aged 22. Born West Wratting, enlisted Linton. Son of Mrs. Edith Boness (formerly Knights), of 124, Fitzroy St., Cambridge. No known grave. Commemorated on THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Somme, France. Pier and Face 1 C and 2 A

MELTON, MM Harry

[Connection with Balsham not ascertained but lived in Whittlesford] Lance Corporal T.F.2469, 1/7th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). Killed in action 1st October 1916. Aged 21. Enlisted Hornsey, Middlesex, resident Lower Edmonton, Middlesex. Son of William Bird Melton and Emma Melton, of 138, Victoria Rd., Lower Edmonton, London. Awarded the Military Medal (M.M.). In the 1911 census he is aged 16, born Herlington, Middlesex, a Brass Worker, resident 1 King Edward Road, Lower Edmonton. In the 1901 census he was aged 6, born London, resident Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire; his father was a Tavern Keeper. Buried in GUARDS' CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, Somme, France. Plot VII. Row X. Grave 6.

PARKER Cyril George

Private 8448, 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died on Sunday, 26th September 1915. Prisoner of war. Born Balsham, enlisted Haverhill. Buried in NIEDERZWEHREN CEMETERY, Germany. Plot III. Row A. Grave 12.

PLUMB John Merry Harry

Gunner 156835, "D" Battery, 241st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Died of wounds on Friday, 27th July 1917. Aged 26. Born Balsham, enlisted Mill Hill, Middlesex. Son of George and Jane Plumb; husband of Florence Emma Plumb, of 59, Russell Rd., Finsbury Park, London. Buried in LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot XVI. Row I. Grave 8. [Roll of Honour states he died in August]

PLUMB Philip

Private, 966, 18th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force. Killed in action at Gallipoli on Sunday, 22nd August 1915. Aged 25. Son of John and Susan Plumb, of High St., Balsham, Cambs. No known grave. Commemorated on LONE PINE MEMORIAL, Turkey. Panel 62.

PLUMB Sidney

Private 3/10190, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died on Thursday, 1st April 1915 at home. Born Balsham, enlisted Linton. Buried on south boundary in HOLY TRINITY CHURCHYARD, BALSHAM, Cambridgeshire. [Spelt Sydney Plumb on SDGW]

STINTON Alexander [Alec]

Lance Corporal (Rifleman), C/7337, 18th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps. Died of wounds Thursday, 28th March 1918. Born Balsham, enlisted Huddersfield. No known grave. Commemorated on ARRAS MEMORIAL, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 7

STINTON Stanley

Private 6090, 19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars. Died of wounds on Wednesday, 27th March 1918. Born and resident Blasham, enlisted Bury St Edmunds. Buried in ST. SEVER CEMETERY EXTENSION, ROUEN, Seine-Maritime, France. Section P. Plot VII. Row D. Grave 7B.

Photograph Copyright © Tony Beeton 2005

TAYLOR Harold

Private 1331, Essex Yeomanry. Killed in action at on Ypres, Friday, 14th May 1915. Aged 19. Enlisted Colchester, resident Quendon. Son of Isaac and Margaret Taylor, of High St., Balsham, Cambs. No known grave. Commemorated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Panel 5.

One other Balsham soldier has come to light but his details appear on the Babraham War Memorial, but he was born in Balsham

WHITTAKER George William

L/Cpl., 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment killed on 1st July 1916 aged 25 years.  His parents were at that time living at Chalk Hill Farm, Babraham, Cambridgeshire. See also Babraham memorial.

   
1939 – 1945
BATTEN Owen

Private 5830007, 5th Battalion, Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment). Died 31 May 1940. Aged 21. Roll of Honour endorsed Dunkirk. Buried in HOUTEM CHURCHYARD, Veurne, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave 216.

HOBBS Frank Albert

Private D/17002, 6th (Home Defence) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 29 December 1939. Aged 50. Son of William and Annie Hobbs; husband of Agnes K. Hobbs, of Balsham. Buried in BALSHAM (HOLY TRINITY) CHURCHYARD, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.

HOBART Daniel George

Joiner, Cable and Wireless under Navy orders, S.S. Retriever (London), Merchant Navy. Died when is ship was bombed off Greece 12th April 1941. Aged 24. Son of John and Laura M. Hobart, of Balsham, Cambridgeshire. No known grave. Commemorated on TOWER HILL MEMORIAL, London. Panel 86.

Further information supplied by Alan Phipps of the World Ship Society:

Daniel George Hobart aged 24 years was the son of John and Laura Hobart and served in the Merchant Navy aboard the S.S. Retriever as a cable jointer or joiner. The ship was owned and operated by Cable and Wireless of London. It was an elderly cable ship of 647 tons built in 1909, and commanded by a Captain Foy.

On Friday 11th April 1941 she was engaged on Government service en route from Lemnos to Piraeus an in area which was exceptionally dangerous, when they came under attack by dive bombers of the Luftwaffe, at 264 deg. one mile off Aliki Rocks near Phleva Island. One bomb penetrated the deck and blew the bottom out of the boat and it sank.

JOLLEY John Arthur

Sergeant 5933199, 1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment. Died at Takanun, Thailand of cholera 7th June 1943. Age 29. Prisoner of War of the Japanese. Son of William and Ellen Jolley, of Balsham, Cambridgeshire; husband of Elsie May Jolley, of Cambridge. Buried in KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY, Thailand. Plot 2. Row M Grave 11.

Photographs Copyright © Tony Beeton 2005

OSBORN, VC John Robert

Warrant Officer Class II (CSM) H/6008, Winnipeg Grenadiers, R.C.I.C. Died when he saved six of his men when he threw himself on a Japanese grenade Friday 19th December 1941. Aged 42. Awarded the Victoria Cross (V.C.) citation in London Gazette 1st April 1946. Son of John Robert and Harriet Sussana Osborn; husband of Margaret Elizabeth Osborn, of St. Vital, Manitoba, Canada. No known grave. Commemorated on SAI WAN MEMORIAL, Hong Kong. Column 25.

Known as the forgotten VC of East Anglia. He was brought up in Balsham and volunteered for the First World War when 17 years old and was badly gassed. Dr Head, whose son was killed in the conflict, recommended that in view of his breathing difficulties he leave England. Moving to Canada he volunteered again at the age of 46 at the outbreak of the Second World War. He was a highly regarded CSM and saved six of his men when he threw himself on a Japanese grenade.

 


Photograph Courtesy & Copright © Richard E Hinkle 2002

The citation in the London Gazette of 1st April, 1946:

At Hong Kong, on 19th December, 1941, a company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers became divided in an attack on Mount Butler. A part of the company led by C.S.M. Osborn captured the hill at bayonet point, but after three hours owing to the superior numbers of the enemy the position became untenable. C.S.M. Osborn and a small group covered the withdrawal and when their turn came to fall back he single-handed engaged the enemy, exposing himself to heavy enemy fire to cover their retirement. Later the Company was cut off and completely surrounded. Several enemy grenades were thrown which C.S.M. Osborn picked up and threw back. When one landed in a position where it was impossible to pick it up, he threw himself upon it and was instantly killed. His self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades. C.S.M. Osborn was an inspiring example to all throughout the defence, and in his death he displayed the highest qualities of heroism and self-sacrifice.

Son of John Robert and Harriet Sussana Osborn. Husband of Margaret Elizabeth Osborn, of St. Vital, Manitoba. John Robert Osborn was born in Norfolk England on the 2nd of January 1899. He served in the First World War as a seaman in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and saw action at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916. At the end of the war he moved to Saskatchewan where he farmed for two years at Wapella. He then worked with the maintenance division of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Manitoba where he married and had five children. He joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers in 1933 and was called to active duty on the 3rd of September 1939. At forty-two years of age he was the second oldest VC recipient in the Second World War. There is no known grave but his name appears on the Sai Wan Memorial in Hong Kong. His medal is on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

On the 1901 census, in Hackford, Norfolk, which says he was born at 'Forldham', Norfolk - no such place, but could be Flordon or Fordham. There is a statue of him on Hong Kong Island.

RICHARDSON Robert William

Sergeant (Air Gunner) 1874495, 626 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died 23rd May 1944. Aged 21. Son of Rebecca Richardson, of Balsham, Cambridgeshire. Buried in JONKERBOS WAR CEMETERY, Gelderland, Netherlands. Plot 12. Row C. Grave 9. Extra details supplied by Tony Beeton on a separate page.

Photographs Copyright © Tony Beeton 2005

SIMPSON Sidney William

Private 5889109, 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment. Died 1st March 1945. Aged 24. Son of Robert William and Maud Simpson, of Balsham, Cambridgeshire. Buried in TAUKKYAN WAR CEMETERY, Myanmar. Plot 18. Row C. Grave 10.

TOMLIN Francis Douglas

Able Seaman C/JX 551439, R.F.A. Olga E. Embiricos, Royal Navy. Died 29th January 1944. No known grave. Commemorated on CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL, Kent, United Kingdom. Panel 76, Column 1.

Further information supplied by Alan Phipps of the World Ship Society:

Able Seaman Francis Douglas Tomlin was detached to the crew of SS Olga, a Greek tramp steamer operating under British (Ministry of War Transport) control. S.S. Olga was actually “Olga E. Embiricos” a ship of 4,600 tons having been built in 1922 and owned by C.E. Embiricos of Andros.

Francis was part of a four man Royal Navy gun crew provided to operate the gun carried by the ship. The reason he was carrying out such duties was due to the loss of so many Merchant Seaman the Royal Navy provided the men needed. Prior to this the merchant seaman crew would have been trained to operate what was often a First World War gun and in some cases Boer War guns that had been put back into use.

On S.S. Olga there were four seamen assigned for what was called DEMS duty, Defensive Equipped Merchant Ship. Francis was one of the group.

On Saturday 29th January 1944 S.S. Olga loaded with 6900 tons of coal was en route Durban-Aden-Massawah when she was attacked and torpedoed by the German U-boat U-188 under the command of Kapitan-Leutnant Siegfried Lüdden at position 12.3 N x 50.10 E.

Of the 37 crew on S.S. Olga twenty were lost which sadly included Daniel.

Omitted in error from the Memorial and the of Roll of Honour:

TWITCHETT Arnold Charles

Sergeant 1874043, 431 Squadron (RCAF), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Died Sunday 20th February 1944.  Arnold lived in Balsham in Fox Road and his parents moved after the war to the Land Settlement at Abington. Buried BERLIN WAR CEMETERY, Bradenburgh, Germany. Plot 6. Row D. Collective grave 12-17. See Great Abington also.

Also commemorated in the Church:

HEAD Brian Morrison

Sergeant 4488, Kitchener’s Horse. Killed in action 13th December 1900 at Nooitgedacht when fighting in the Boer War. Aged 26. Third son of Dr R T Head. [See also Cambridgeshire Boer War memorial]

Last updated 5 April, 2014

Friends of the War Memorials
War Memorials Trust
Main page
Commonweath War Graves Commission
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Copyright © Roll-of-Honour.com 2002-
Email: rollofhonour@ntlworld.com

See our on-line bookstore
Visit our bookstore