John (Jack) Balshaw

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John (Jack) Balshaw
Personal Information
Date of Birth 28 Jul 1893
Place of Birth Bacup, England
Death 20 Sep 1982, aged 89
Place of Death Kelmscott, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 44 years, 11 months
Description 5'6" tall ; 119lbs
53.977 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Buckingham road, Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Jane Balshaw
Military Information
Reg Number W3537
Date of Enlistment 21 Jul 1941
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot (Staff)
Post War Details
Fate Remained in Australia
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

WW1 Service

On 5 Jan 1915, giving his age as 21 years, 6 month old, John enlisted at Preston in the British Army for the duration of WW1 with regimental number 73752. On 3 May 1915 following basic training he was posted to the 13th Division's Artillery and served in the No. 3 Section of the 13th DAC in France from 13 Nov 1915 until 3 Jul 1917 as a Driver. On 28 Jun 1917 he sought medical assistance for influenza, and on 4 Jul 1917 he was admitted to the 13th Canadian Field Ambulance and then on to the 1st Canadian General Hospital who on 10 Jul 1917 had him embark on the HMHS Brighton for the Brook War Hospital in Woolwich, England suffering with synovitis to both knees.

Recovered, he was posted again to the Expeditionary Force, joining the BEF in France on 17 Oct 1917 where he was posted to the 86th Brigade on 6 Nov 1917. Granted leave on 19 Oct 1918, he spent 3 days in the care of the 55th Casualty Clearing Station, but remained in France until 14 Mar 1919, before returning to the UK where he was discharged on 31 Mar 1920.

His misdemeanors include an AWOL charge from Midnight 18 May until 5:30pm on 19 May 1915 for which he forfeited the day's pay. Then on 4 Nov 1916 he was awarded 14 days Field Punishment No 1. for insubordination on 31 Oct 1916, and on 18 Nov 1916 he was awarded another 7 days Field Punishment No 1 for ill treating a mule on 15 Nov 1916.

Between the Wars

John arrived in Fremantle aboard the SS Hobson's Bay from Southampton on 4 Apr 1929 with wife Jane (18 Jun 1896 - 11 Jun 1975) and 8 year old daughter Mary (b.17 Apr 1920).

Electoral Roll entries: 1931 - 1943 River road, Kelmscott, labourer

WW2 Service

Jack enlisted in the CMF's HQ 7th Heavy Brigade RAA (M) at Swanbourne on 21 Jul 1941. A week later he was transferred to Kingston Barracks on Rottnest Island where on 5 Dec 1941 he was transferred to 7th Workshop & Park Company. From 2 Mar John was detached to York, returning to his unit on 13 May 1942. His next move came on 8 Sep 1942 when he was transferred to the 23rd Line of Communication Salvage Section at Karrakatta.

On 1 Jul 1943 John was graded as proficient and therefore received a pay increase, and on 28 Feb 1944 he was moved to the sub section of the unit at Naval Base until 6 Apr 1944 when he returned to Karrakatta where he was seen by a Medical Board with the result that he was classified B2, unfit for long marches but capable for walking short distances at his own pace. On 21 Mar 1945 John was appointed as a Lance Corporal, and while he had an accidental injury to his left little finger it did not require an investigation. He was then promoted Acting Corporal on 17 Dec 1945, with the rank confirmed almost 12 months later on 22 Nov 1946.

On 28 Jan 1947 John was transferred to Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot as a member of staff before being admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital on 17 Feb 1947 with furunculous to both arms, returning to duty on 5 Mar 1947. On 12 Sep 1947 he was transferred to the discharge unit to prepare for his discharge which took place on 18 Sep 1947 after more than 6 years full time service.

Post War

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1980 at 44 Buckingham road, Kelmscott, brickmaker. Jane died 16 Jun 1975 in Kelmscott, aged 78.


Field punishment could be awarded by a court martial or a commanding officer for any offence committed on active service. There were two categories of field punishment. Field Punishment No 1. required the soldier to be shackled to a wheel, a tree, or similar immovable object for several hours each day. All offenders awarded field punishment would march with their unit, carry their arms and accoutrements, perform all their military duties as well as extra fatigue duties, and be treated as defaulters.

Jack's ashes, along with those of his daughter Mary Thorne, and her husband Leslie R Thorne were scattered in the sea off Waikiki Beach, Western Australia. A plaque is included in the Waikiki Memorial Wall.

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