BALAAM, Albert James

No.503, Private, Albert James BALAAM
Aged 24

24th Company, Australian Machine Gun Corps
Killed in Action on 1st October 1917

Albert James Balaam was born in Ixworth (4th qtr 1892 Thingoe 4a:764) son of George and Sarah Ann BALAAM (née MARSH).

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at High Street, Ixworth, with his father George BALAAM [41]postman/shoemaker born Sapiston; his mother Sarah [35]; brother Leonard [10] and Frederick [2]; sisters Hilda [8], Florence [4] and Bertha [1]. All except his father were born in Ixworth.

1911 census...Aged 19, a gardener, he was still at High Street, Ixworth with his parents; sisters Hilda, Florence and Bertha; brothers Frederick and George Robert [5 weeks]. His mother had lost 1 of her 8 children.

He emigrated to Australia on 23rd January 1913, from London on the SS Ballarat, to Sydney.

He enlisted in Claremont, Tasmania on 8th Machine Gun Company (no.503) on 10th August 1916, giving his age as 24 and 2 months, a gardener born Ixworth nr Bury St.Edmunds. Next of kin, his father George Balaam of High Street, Ixworth. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighed 103 lbs, chest 32 to 35 inches.
He sailed from Melbourne on 16th December 1916 and arrived Plymouth 18th February 1917 and went to Perham Downs for training. He had a spell in Grantham hospital in May 1917. Transferred to 24th Company Machine Gun Corps on 29th August and shipped to France via Southampton on 7th September 1917 and was killed in Belgium 3 weeks later
On 1st October 1917 the war diary has{-
Zonnebeke..16 guns of the 24th M.G.Coy were in a defensive position on the Westhoek sector between Zonnebeke and Polygon Wood supporting 4th and 13th A.I.Brigades. Most of these guns are placed to enable them to bring direct overhead fire onto the enemy's line of approach. At 6:30 am the enemy attacked from the direction [??] in force. The four guns under the command of Lt.Benningher openeed fire on the advancing troops with good effect and dispersed them. range 700 yards

Albert Balaam is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Ypres panel 31

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details