BALAAM, Arthur

Entered on war memorial as Albert in error

No.14575, Private, Arthur BALAAM
Aged 21

7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917

Arthur Balaam was born in Euston on 19th November 1895 (Thetford Q4-1895 4B:363), son of Arthur and Laura Elizabeth BALAAM (née BAKER).

He entered Euston Free Voluntary School on 27th April 1899 and left school on 20th September 1909.

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at the Village, Euston with his father Arthur BALAAM [41] horsekeeper born Sapiston; his mother Laura E [37] born Thelnetham; sisters Mary [13], Florence [11], Thurza [7] and Edith [1]. All the children were born in Euston.

1911 census...Aged 15, a labourer, he was at Euston with his parents, sisters Ada [26], Florence, Edith and Susan [5]. All the children born in Euston and all eight surviving.

The pension card has his parents still in Euston.

He enlisted in Norwich, initially in the 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.
On the 28th the objectives were (1) RIFLE TRENCH and BAYONET TRENCH (Black line) and (2) the BLUE LINE (shown below). The war diary of the 7th Norfolks has:-
" At 4:25 am this morning "C" and "D" companies- "C" on the right- advanced to capture RIFLE TRENCH and join up with "A" and "B" Companies. In conjunction with the attack of the 5th R.Berks Regt, this would establish the BLACK LINE.
At zero plus 50 minutes - the BLACK LINE being captured, all the four companies of the 7th Norfolk Regt with the 7th Suffolk Regt on their left should have proceeded to establish a map line...(given below) to be called the BLUE LINE.
At 2 pm no definite news had been received regarding the attack. It appeared that "A" and "B" Coys went over the top at zero plus 50 minutes without gaining touch with "C" and "D" Coys and were lying out in front in shell holes, having been entirely held up by M.Gun fire with both their flanks unprotected.
"C" and "D" Coys were unlocated. Some men of "A" and "B" Coys began to crawl in, back to our line but were at once sniped. At 11 pm the situation is as follows. The Attack by "C" and "D" Coys was held up by M Gun and rifle fire - none of our men reached the German line. The trench had not been touched by artillery and there was some wire.
For the remainder of the day our men lay out in shell holes being sniped by the enemy. As soon as it was dark all those that could, returned to our lines and stretcher squads went out to bring in the wounded. For the whole of their work they were continually under enemy M.Gun and rifle fire, which was done with the aid of extremely bright Very lights. The fire was so heavy and so accurate that is was impossible to bring in many of our men who were badly wounded and close to the enemy trench. The casualties of "C" and "D" Coys are very heavy."

Two days later a fresh attack did succeed in taking Rifle Trench, but a counter attack drove them back.

CWGC records 73 of the 7th Norfolks killed on the 28th, only 7 have an identified grave.

the 2nd objective, BLUE LINE

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Arthur Balaam is commemorated on the Arras memorial, bay 3

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