Gunner William Henry Balchin: A Common Name

The Brighton & Hove Hebrew Congregation memorial tablet commemorates a D W Balchin, who is also mentioned in the Chair of the Jewish Historical Society (Sussex Chapter) Michael Crook’s talk. [1]

However, military records appear to show that the details in Michael’s talk belong to a William Henry Balchin, who served as a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery, “A” Battery, 242nd Brigade (service number 193802) and whose address was given as 438 London Road, Westcliffe, Essex in 1915. [2]

William Balchin was the son of Henry Balchin and Georgina Jackson and he had three siblings – Georgina, Percy and Alma. He was married to Rebecca.

Gunner William Henry Balchin
©We Were There Too

William died of his wounds during the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium and is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium. [3, 4]

His death was reported in the Jewish Chronicle. [5] A photo of William and a picture of his grave are featured on the We Were there Too website.

Grave stone of Gunner Michael William Balchin
©We Were There Too

There was also a Private F Balchin who died on 4 Nov 1918. He served with Mechanical Transport, 35th Auxiliary, Petrol Company, Army Service Corps, service number DM2/155079.

He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. [6]
The connections (if any) between the different soldiers with the surname Balchin and with Sussex need further investigation.

[1] Imperial War Museum, Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation Memorial Tablet [Accessed 2 July 2019]; and Michael Crook, JHSE Talk,
Nov 2018, p.39.
[2] British Jewry Book of Honour, Part 1, p78 mentions Gnr W Balchin of A/242 Brigade, RFA, address as above; and We Were there Too [Accessed 2 July 2019].
[3] https://www.jewsfww.uk/william-henry-balchin-2080.php
[4]CWGC.org [Accessed 2 July 2019].
[5] Jewish Chronicle, 14 December 1917, p.191.
[6] Commonwealth War Graves Commission [accessed 2 July 2019]