Private Roger Hardwicke Ballard
Ellesmere College, Shropshire
Roger Hardwicke Ballard (Private 1926, Honourable Artillery Company) was born in Herefordshire on 22nd January 1893 and entered the ‘King Alfred’ dormitory at Ellesmere College in February 1904, a month after his 11th birthday. He stayed at the College for five years and left in April 1909.
During his time at Ellesmere he was described as being ‘one of the leading boys’ academically and he took an active part in the Debating Society whilst it would appear that his sporting skills were mainly on the football pitch and from the attestation papers he signed at the outbreak of war in August 1914 we see that he was a member of the College’s Officer Training Corps. On leaving Ellesmere he went on to work for the Economic Insurance Company, London until he signed up in September 1914 at Armoury House, Finsbury Square, London. He never married.
In September 1914 the 21 year old ‘with excellent vision and physical development’ began his very short military career as he was killed in action some 285 days later. On enlistment he was seconded to the 1st Battn. HAC (Infantry) and, after his basic training, embarked for France on 29th December 1914 with the BEF. He was reported ‘missing’ at the Battle of Bellewaarde, near Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium on 16th June 1915. He was awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1914/1915 Star. His next of kin were recorded as his father, Edmund, his two brothers, Edmund & Herbert (both of whom had emigrated to the US) and his sister, Laura.
His memory is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (Panel 9), on the War Memorial at Ellesmere College, Shropshire and in the College’s ‘Roll of Honour’ (p.7) where the entry states that his company Captain and Platoon Sergeant both paid tributes to his ‘bravery, efficiency and popularity’. Tributes are also recorded in the ‘Ellesmerian’ magazine (June 1909, p.44 / July 1916, p.209). He is also remembered on a memorial plaque in the St. John the Baptist Church, Suckley, Worcestershire.
By kind permission of John Harvey on behalf of Ellesmere College, Shropshire