Godfrey Ballard

1895 - 1915

Godfrey was born in Woodstock. He studied for a year at Oxford University before enlisting, but died leading his platoon in his first battle.

Solicitor’s son

Godfrey Adolphus Ballard was born between July and September 1895 in Woodstock. His father was a solicitor and Methodist local preacher. His mother was from Islip, and he had two sisters. The family seem to have lived comfortably with two servants, although they also had a lodger.

Wesley Society member

In 1911 Godfrey was at Oxford High School, and in 1913 he began at Corpus Christi College. He joined both the University Officers’ Training Corps and the Wesley Society (now JWS at Wesley Memorial). When war broke out he interrupted his studies and joined the army on 1 September 1914.

Died leading his men

In due course Godfrey was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the London Regiment, arriving in France in July 1915 after compassionate leave to visit his father, who was seriously ill. His battalion had experienced action in May, but Godfrey’s first engagement was not until the start of the Battle of Loos on 25 September. As an officer he had to lead his men ‘over the top’, and he was particularly unfortunate that this was the first battle of the war to produce huge casualties. He did not survive it. His body was never recovered, but his death in action was recorded by the army on 27 September, at the age of 20. His mother suffered particular grief as her husband had died only two weeks earlier. Godfrey is remembered on the Loos Memorial and on the Corpus Christi war memorial.

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