Arnold Balmford (1895-1917)
Arnold Balmford was the son of John Alfred and Edith Balmford, of 18, Imperial Road, Huddersfield.
He is one of the twenty-four men remembered on the memorial at Salendine Nook Baptist Church.
In 1911 the Balmford's lived at Claremont at Fartown Green. John Alfred Balmford, born in 1870 in Longwood, worked as an accountant. His wife Edith, a year younger, was also from Longwood. They had had five children but two had died young. Arnold was born in Longwood in 1896. The other surviving children — Edith and Edward — were born in 1902 and 1904 when the family were living in Dewsbury.
Arnold was educated at the Huddersfield Municipal Secondary School and the Huddersfield Technical College. According to Margaret Stansfield, he finished his education in Brussels which may explain his absence from the 1911 census. Stansfield also says he was a "keen musician and a bass vocalist of great talent".
Arnold enlisted in the local Territorial 1/5th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's at the beginning of the war on 8 August 1914 and was given the number 2749. His family were by then living at Stonegarth, 174 Halifax Old Road.
Arnold's Service Record survives and from it we can see that he was aged 19 years and two months when he joined up and had his medical at the Drill Hall. At 5' 8" tall he was above average height.
After initial training he went with the battalion to France on 13 April 1915, sailing on the SS Matheran from Southampton.
Within a few months on 31 July Arnold received a shrapnel wound to the right foot and was sent to hospital in England a few days later. For well over the next year, Arnold remained in England, perhaps recovering from his wound. He was posted variously to the Duke's various Territorial battalions: the 3/5th, 1/4th and to the depot battalion. He was eventually returned to France on 1 February 1917 sailing this time from Folkestone, and on the 17th joined the 2nd Battalion, notionally a regular unit, but by then in need of replacements.
Arnold was killed just three months later on 3 May 1917 at the end of the Battle of Arras. As he has no known grave, Arnold is remembered on the Arras memorial to the missing. Locally, he is remembered on the Fartown and Birkby War memorial as well as at Salendine Nook.
Some time after Arnold enlisted the family moved to 18 Imperial Road, Edgerton, and it was to this address from which the family sent the necessary declarations regarding next-of-kin. This form was witnessed by D.W. Jenkins, a Baptist minister, at his home on Langley Terrace, Crosland Road.
Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922
The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:
- BALMFORD, ARNOLD. Private. No 24963. 1/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Born Longwood 8.6.1895. Son of John Alfred and Edith Balmford, Stonegarth, 174 Halifax Old Road. Educated at the Huddersfield Municipal Secondary School and the Huddersfield Technical College. Completed his education in Brussels. A keen musician and a bass vocalist of great promise. Enlisted July 1915. Was wounded February, 1916. On return to France was transferred to the 2nd Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Killed in action at the Battle of Arras, 3.5.1917, aged 21. Commemorated on the ARRAS MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Private ARNOLD BALMFORD
- regiment: Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)
- died: Thursday, May 3, 1917
- age: 22 years
- record ID: 739584
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission (ID #739584)
- Imperial War Museums: Lives of the First World War (ID #162512)