Other names: Arthur
Locations in this story: Shaftesbury, DorsetFrance & FlandersSouth AfricaMesopotamiaIndiaWeymouth, Dorset
Story: Arthur Balch was born in 1880 in Shaftesbury, Dorset and baptised there on 18th July 1880. He was the son of William Balch and Mary Balch (née Highman). In 1891 the family was living in Parsons Pool in Shaftesbury. He had enlisted with the Royal Artillery as a Driver (Service No. 3776) on 18 Jan 1898 but was almost immediately transferred to the16th Hussars on 22 Jan 1898 as a Private. He had served in South Africa and had been awarded various campaign and service medals including one for the Relief of Ladysmith. He went on reserve from 1905 and was called back for a short period between 1909 and 1910. He was mobilized again on 17 Jan 1914 as a Private with the Corps of Hussars (Service No. 47765). He served in both France & Flanders, Mesopotamia and India. Whilst serving in France he became the batman and groom to General Sir John French who was the Commander of the British Expeditionary Force until early 1915 when Sir John was relieved of his duties. Following the cessation of the war Arthur was eventually demobilized on 7 Dec 1919. He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals, the 1914/15 Star and the India Afghanistan North West Frontier Medal 1919. He had previously married Nellie Lodge on 1st Jan 1907 at Weymouth, Dorset, Registry Office and they went on to have five children. The 1939 Register shows the family living at 4 Walpole Street, Weymouth, Dorset, where Arthur was working as a Bus Inspector on Southern Buses. He eventually died on 27th Sep 1960 in Weymouth. Sources: Based on original research carried out by Ken Baxter for the exhibition "Shaftesbury and the Great War" at Gold Hill Museum in 2014.