|Place of birth||Blythe, England|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Seventh Street, Weston, New South Wales|
|Age at embarkation||26|
|Next of kin||Mother, Mrs Margaret Balsdon, Seventh Street, Weston, New South Wales|
|Previous military service||Nil|
|Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll|
|Place of enlistment||West Maitland, New South Wales|
|Rank on enlistment||Private|
|Unit name||30th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement|
|AWM Embarkation Roll number||23/47/2|
|Embarkation details||Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on
|Rank from Nominal Roll||Private|
|Unit from Nominal Roll||30th Battalion|
|Other details from Roll of Honour Circular||Enlisted 27/9/15. Taken on strength, 30th Bn, 20/4/16.|
|Fate||Died whilst a Prisoner of War
|Place of death or wounding||Fromelles, France|
|Date of death|
|Age at death||26|
|Place of burial||No known grave|
|Commemoration details||Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France
Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.
The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.
On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.
After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.
|Panel number, Roll of Honour,|
Australian War Memorial
|Miscellaneous information from|
|Sisters: Miss B. BALSDON, Seventh Street, Weston, New South Wales; Mrs A.B. O'CONNOR, 42 Gipps Street, East Melbourne, Victoria|
War service: Egypt, Western Front
Taken on strength, Ferry Post, Egypt, 20 April 1916.
Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 June 1916.
Reported missing, 20 July 1916.
Form B103 (file p. 15) has notation: 'Died whilst prisoner of war in Germany. (Shown in List from German Government forwarded by American Embassy, Berlin.'
Red Cross File No 210901 has statement from 2063 Pte H.V.T. HODGINS, 25 August 1916: 'I knew Balsdon: he was a 4th Rft. in C. Co. and I saw his dead body on the night of the 19th. July, in No Man's Land at Fleurbaix, as I was getting back wounded. I had to pass right over his body and recognised him quite easily. His initial was J. but we always called him Joe. There were two other Balsdons who, I have been told, are wounded.'Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
|Sources||NAA: B2455, BALSDON James
Red Cross file 210901