Most of the Balsdon brothers make the ultimate sacrifice

The camp on the Pastures at Alnwick during the First World War.
The camp on the Pastures at Alnwick during the First World War.

A Northumberland man, who lost three of his uncles in the First World War, has shared his family story as the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict approaches.

The fighting Balsdon family, as they are described in an Australian newspaper cutting, lived in Ormonston Street in East Hartford before the war.

Most of the family emigrated to Australia, except for George Balsdon, whose son Jack now lives in Albion Terrace, Lynemouth.

At the outbreak of the war, his uncles joined the Australian Army and his father George signed up for the 7th Batallion of the Northumberland Fusiliers at Alnwick.

Mr Balsdon, who is in his 95th year, believes his uncles died during the Battle of the Somme and described their deaths as a ‘triple blow’ for his grandmother Margaret.

She took ill and died soon after the death of her sons from what many believed to be a broken heart.

Mr Balsdon’s other uncle Joe was a noted billiards player and a steward at the Universal Club in Ashington. Both he and Mr Balsdon’s father George survived the war.

The newspaper cutting from December 28, 1916, features image of the six – Corporal Joe Balsdon (wounded), Private Russell Balsdon (died of wounds), Private George Balsdon (in France), Margaret Balsdon, Private J Balsdon (killed in action) and Private Jim Balsdon (died).