2/Lt. Edward Balmford

Born in Ashton under Lyne on March 29, 1884 to Alfred Balmford and Hanna Harriet Balmford (née Bickerton). Alfred Balmford was a Tailor and Draper and in 1881 they were living on Sankey Street in Warrington. Alfred Balmford died on January 16, 1890 and by 1901 Hanna had sold the business and moved the family to Ashton. Edward was by now an apprentice mechanical engineer (most likely at Manchester Tech School) and he lived with his mother and two of his older sisters. The family had a live-in servant.

In 1911 Edward was working as a mechanical engineer (gas engines), along with his brother, at the National Gas Engine Co, in Ashton, his uncle’s business. He lived with his mother, his uncle Richard Bickerton, his younger brother Alfred Bickerton Balmford, his older sister Mabel Balmford and four servants in Gorton. Evidently, his mother was quite unwell as two of the servants were nurses. His mother died on June 23, 1911.

On September 3, 1914 Edward joined the 6th Battalion Manchester Regiment as a private and promoted to Lance Corporal in December. On May 5, 1915 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, (later revised in the London Gazette to be effective March 11, 1915). Edward trained with the 2/9th Battalion at Southport and Haywards Heath during early 1915. On June 2, 1915 he embarked with 16 NCOs and men of the 2/9th en-route to Gallipoli. They landed on June 20 and were taken on the strength of the Battalion on June 22nd.  Less than a month later, he was wounded during an advance by the 52nd Division along with 15 other ranks. He was evacuated to hospital in Alexandria where he spent 35 days recovering before rejoining the Battalion in Gallipoli on August 17th. He remained with them throughout the remainder of the campaign and continued serving with them in Egypt, landing there in January 1916. On May 28, 1916 he attended a school of instruction for 3 weeks and departed for leave in the UK until July 23rd. He was struck off the strength of the Battalion on June 18, 1916.

Once in England, his uncle’s company secured an additional six months unpaid leave so that Edward could assist them with munitions work as manager of the Howitzer department in charge of 8″ and 6″ recuperators. The company having secured a number of munitions contracts from Vickers. An additional six months leave was subsequently granted at the end of which he joined the Territorial Reserve, on Aug 22, 1917. At this time his brother Alfred was a degreed Mechanical Engineer (B.A. Science Cambridge, 1910) working as a department manager at the National Gas Engine Co. in Ashton where their work focused on the development and production of munitions and engine parts for aeroplanes and submarines. The National Gas Engine Company Ltd was founded by Mr Henry Neild Bickerton in 1889 and was located on Wellington Road in Ashton-under-Lyne. It was renamed the National Gas and Oil Engine Company in 1932. After the war Edward Balmford worked as a Sales Manager for the firm and his work saw him travel abroad on several occasions. By 1939, Edward was living with his nephew Henry Bickerton on Portland Street in Ashton. Henry, the son of Henry Neild Bickerton, was assistant works manager.

2/Lt. Edward Balmford died at the Cheltenham General Hospital on February 9, 1951 while temporarily staying at a hotel in Cheltenham. He was 66 years old.