Captain Ballance, Sgt Henderson and Pte Turner, 16 DLI

This second Army Film and Photo Unit photograph features, left to right: Captain Ballance, Sgt Henderson and Pte Turner. Note the distinctive 46th Division 'Oak Leaf' insignia and three arm of service strips on Ballance's battledress, also the absence of the DLI shoulder titles, which must have been removed for the duration of the exercise. Or perhaps this was in the era just before they were introduced?

Captain Ballance played cricket for Oxford University pre-war and was awarded the 16th DLI's first Military Cross for his actions in 3/43 in Tunisia. He was one of the most popular and most respected of the Battalion's officers. In a letter home to his wife from an Italian hospital in 11/43, Sgt Henderson refers to these photographs:

'Do you remember that photograph you have of me taken on an exercise in England? The one where I am pointing something out to an officer. That is Major Ballance, my Company Commander for the last 18 months. Peter [Griffin, the 16 DLI Medical Sgt] tells me he has been awarded the MC. I am very pleased about that as I think a lot about him. By the way, the officer in the white mac on the photograph is now a Brigadier...'

Major T G L Ballance MC was killed in action on 4/12/43.

In a letter to his wife dated 31/12/43, Sgt Henderson writes movingly and with great eloquence about the loss of Major Ballance:

‘They say there is no sentiment in the army. Don't you believe it. The spirit of the old 16th was an sentimental as it was fine. A spirit which wins wars. I was talking to an officer only yesterday who joined the Btn after I left. He told me that Major Ballance died from shrapnel wounds, living only a few hours after he was hit. If I have done any hero worshipping in this war, he has been the object of it. Can you wonder that his death is not just another battle casualty to me? At least one person will remember him as a man of keen judgement and human understanding....'


Capt Ballance, Sgt Henderson, Pte Turner, 16 DLI

NEXT SGT HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPH