View Full Version : ok guys - i need your help -

18th March 2011, 07:28 PM
Hello everyone - i'm so excited to have found this site - i've spent some time reading various threads and i'm now sure that someone here will be able to help me, hopefully answer some of my questions, and hopefully point me in the right direction ... (i wasn't sure where exactly to post this thread as i have various questions - so i hope "ask the forum" is a good place to start ... )

i'll try and make this as short as possible.

for over a year i've been trying to find out exactly what happened to my father's elder brother. all my father ever said about him was that he left home as a young man and no-one ever saw or heard from him again. my father used to get very upset when talking about this brother - and, even though dad died in 1988, i am determined to make this journey for him.

i easily managed to get a copy of my uncle's birth certificate - he was Frederick Ballard, born on 20th December 1905, in Lewisham, London. he was the eldest of 5 children and, sadly, their mother died when she was quite young in 1920 - leaving her husband to bring up 5 children alone. i think Fred probably left home around this time, when he was around 15.

i had no other information to help me ... however, i am 90% certain that i was lucky enough to find him through searching the National Archives online. i am now in possession of a Seaman's Pouch in the name of Frederick William Ballard, date of birth 20th December 1907, born in London. even though the middle name of "William" has been added (which, in fact, was my father's name) and the birth year is 1907 instead of 1905, and it doesn't say Lewisham ... i am certain that there are too many coincidences and that it must be him. this chap was "Frederick Ballard" born on "20th December" in "London" - it HAS to be him ... unfortunately, there was no photograph - that would have helped enormously - he may have resembled my father.

my problem, of course, is that i need to find out, definitively and for sure, that i have found the right person. therefore, i need more information ... and this is where i need your help so much.

so ... this is what i know ... and when you read it, you will find that Frederick was a flawed character with many faults - the Pouch did not make easy reading for me ...

Frederick William Ballard - R256212 - Fireman & Trimmer - Oil & Coal

Address : 3 Ethelbert Court, Ethelbert Road, Bromley, Kent
Wife : Georgina Ballard
(I have found absolutely no record of this marriage - not just in London, or Kent, but anywhere in the UK)

and now ... can someone PLEASE make sense of all of these dates ... i am obviously aware that Frederick spent the best part of WW2 deserting, on the run, and in prison ... but can anyone please try and work out why some of the dates seem to clash ...

EMPIRE TRADER : 06.01.1942 - 27.06.1942
HISTORIAN : 14.07.1942 - 19.07.1942
STRIKER : 25.07.1942 - 26.10.1944
RUNNELSTONE : 12.12.1944 - 21.12.1944
ORMONDE : 08.01.1945 - 17.01.45
EMP SHEARWATER : 27.01.45 - 07.04.1945

However, the Pouch also contains :

Various Forms S-165A - stating :

Misoa - date of entry or discharge 15.08.1942
Man Wanted - Run - 15.08.1942 - form stamped 02.09.1942
Entered from Desertion ex Misoa - 11.09.1942
Discharged to RNDQ Preston - 19.09.1942
Entered from RNDQ Preston - 22.10.1942
On the run - 09.10.43
... at some point he'd been found and taken to Wandsworth Prison and then discharged to HMS Mersey on 08.08.1944
Discharged to RNDQ Preston - 15.08.1944
HMS Mersey - 23.09.1944
Discharged to RNAH Seaforth - 04.10.1944
HMS Mersey - 10.10.1944
Discharged - 12.10.1944
and then again : Discharged : 02.05.1945 - Services Not Required - Misconduct

i'm so sorry guys!! as you can see, all the dates seem to clash - can anyone make sense of what Frederick did between 1942-1945 ... apart from being on the run, and being in prison. and i guess that the names of the ships are merely the ships that he "should have been serving on" when, in truth, he was in prison.

how can i find out if this is my uncle - i wonder if Wandsworth and/or RNDQ Preston would have further information - perhaps records - i wonder if they would let me have a copy? and i think RNAH was a hospital - the paperwork does mention a certain sexually transmitted disease - heaven forbid Fred, is there anything else i'm going to find out!

i live in France and so i cannot personally visit the archive centres - i rely totally on internet and the telephone.

Unfortunately, Frederick was not a war hero ... but i'm sure he's my uncle and i need to know.

Thank you for reading this ... i was supposed to keep it as short as i could, but i wanted to put in as much information as i knew ... and if anyone can help me in any way i would be hugely grateful ...


18th March 2011, 08:17 PM
Hello Judy,

We'll take it one step at a time.

There is another pouch at Kew in BT 390/5/20 for Frederick William Ballard, I found using the Discharge Book No. R256212 you mentioned. He signed what was called a T124 Agreement, which means he signed an agreement to serve with the Royal Navy under their disipline whilst keeping his pay and condition as a Merchant Seamen. (see link below) I do not know the full content of these pouches, but there maybe a photo in there


I think it would be advisable to get a copy of his service file held at Kew so we can cross reference the dates. These records are held at The National Archives in classification BT 382. The Fifth Register of Seamanís Service 1941 to 1972.

Records of individual Merchant Seamen's sea service details are held in alphabetical surname order. These details include the following information: Name of seaman, Date and place of birth, Discharge (Seamanís) book number, Rank, Details of the ships on which he served. These include:

Name of ship and official number, date of engagement (Joining ship), Date of discharge (Leaving ship), whether ship was a foreign going of home trade vessel, and records in some cases National Insurance contributions. Details shown in these records are similar to those contained in an individual seaman's discharge book.

His file should be in BT382/70 covering the surnames "Ball Samuel to Ballon H" (see link for ordering and viewing options)


Looks as though he had a bit of trouble between July 1942 until 1944, though the rest of his service looks intact as to the joining and leaving dates of each ship.

Will advise more when you have had time to digest this posting

David Williams
18th March 2011, 08:28 PM
[ref original post #1

Hi Judy.
First of all,welcome aboard,I am sure the you will find all
that you are looking for,there vare people out here that
seem to know everything about everything,amazing.For
my little bit of information......if you click onto "Google"
then onto "SWANSEA DOCKS",you will find two photo's
of the Runnelstone,which ran out from Swansea on a regular
basis and was owned by a Company called Stone & Rolfe,
that was based in Llanelli,where I live,they were a small
company with only about 3/4 ships.I know its not much,
but I hope that it might be of interest or help to you.

Dave Williams(R583900)

Doc Vernon
18th March 2011, 08:34 PM
Hello Judy
As you mention about the date of Birth,yes that is quite possible as in those days and even a lot later,there were many who signed on with bluffing their gae,this was a practice used by many! So the date isnt of much cop at all! I would say it is definately the person you are looking for!
There is also another possibility about the date,and that is that the records at the NA sometimes are not 100% either,human errors!

Name: Ballard Frederick William. Service number: R256212. Place of birth: London. Date of birth: 20 December 1907. . Name: Ballard Frederick William. Service number: R256212. Place of birth: London. Date of birth: 20 December 1907. BALCHIN W J to BARRETT
Date: 1939 - 1946

As for all the other info youhave given,i hope that someone with a bit more knowledge on those things may be able to fill it all in for you!
He certaily was a character! haha:)
But so were many of us in our Heydays!
Cheers and good hunting!

There is an Entry for a Frederick W Ballard (Marriage in theJULY /AUG/SEPT Of 1923) at West Ham (Wife nee Bickers)
Which would have made him about 18/19 Yeras of age??
But then there are others too!

BALLARD Frederick W De Omar Marylebone (http://javascript<b></b>:golink("/cgi/districts.pl?r=150151355&d=bmd_1298539912")) 1a913 (http://javascript<b></b>:gopage(1924,1,2,'1a','913',1))
Ballard Frederick Brailey Hackney (http://javascript<b></b>:golink("/cgi/districts.pl?r=155878621&d=bmd_1298539912")) 1b806 (http://javascript<b></b>:gopage(1927,2,2,'1b','806',1)) 1927

18th March 2011, 10:00 PM
MISOA could be HMS MISOA a landing craft ship for tanks see http://www.combinedops.com/LST%20HMS%20Misoa.htm for details . It was a converted tanker http://www.oldships.org.uk/SHIPS/SHIP_DETAILS/MISOA_DETAILS.htm

If he jumped ship RNDQ is Royal Naval Detention Quarters , see here http://www.godfreydykes.info/NAVAL%20PRISONS%20AND%20NAVAL%20DETENTION%20QUARTE RS.htm

He would have been discharged from DQ to a ship , in this case a shore basse

RNAH Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital [British military] (DMA) Seaforthg , is just outside Liverpool isn't it

HMS Mersey was the Navy's Liverpool depot, established as a branch of HMS Eaglet and commissioned in 1940, and paid off in 1946.

19th March 2011, 12:28 AM
... many thanks Deep Sea, David, Castleman and Rob ... you've given me some links, some extra info to research and, most importantly, a bit more hope ...

...from researching this site, i just knew i had to enlist the help of you guys ... !!

i eagerly await any more advice, hints, tips, info - or even just your thoughts - it's good to be in touch with you all and to know that, at long last, someone is giving me a helping hand with my search ...

it's now 1.24am here in france - (started watching something on the tele and couldn't turn it off ... ) - i'll pay for it in the morning ... so i'm logging off now ...!!

many thanks again -

happy daze john in oz
19th March 2011, 04:43 AM
What a great posting Rob. The link concerning prison life was very interesting and even entertaining in places. The information provided in these forums just gets better and better.

In a similar vein Tony there are two books I read while at sea way back in the 6+0's.
'The Prison on the Moor' the story of Dartmoor Prison,
'Crime and Punishment in the Britsih Navy'.
Most likely out of print now but well worth a read if you can get hold of copies, the Story of Dartmoor is fascinating if you are interested in prisons and prisioner life, while the other is a very graphic insight of life in the British Navy in the 1600' to the late 1800's.