Black, George Balfour


He was the son of Adam Black of 7 Petersham Terrace, London. He came to Winchester from Horris Hill, was a House Prefect his last year and went up to Christ Church, Oxford. He was devoted to stalking and hunting, and while at Oxford won a number of cross-country races, including the inter-University point-to-point in 1911 and 1912, between 1909 and 1912 he won thirty-two races.

On leaving Oxford he was gazetted to the 17th Lancers, and joined them in India in 1912. When war broke out he was on leave; he met his regiment in France in January 1915 and the following April was chosen to command Sir Douglas Haig’s Lancer Escort. He remained at that post till January 1918, when he volunteered for the Tank Corps and was appointed to the 13th Battalion. He was awarded the M.C. for “conspicuous gallantry and skilful leadership” near Warfusie-Abancourt, Villers-Bretonneaux on August 8th 1918 and was twice mentioned in Despatches.

The citation for his M.C. read: “MC LG February 1st 1919: Lt. (A./Capt.) Balfour Black, 17th Lancers, seconded 13th Bn., Tank Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and skilful leadership near Warfusie-Abancourt on 8th August, 1918. When the infantry were being held up during the second phase of the attack by very heavy fire from machine-gun nests and field guns he personally led his section through a thick fog, and by dealing with machine-guns enabled the infantry to get to their jumping-off places quickly and without casualties. Later, when his section attacked the second and third objectives, he followed close behind with the first wave of infantry under very heavy fire until the final objective was reached. He then rallied his Tanks and directed the towing of a disabled Tank under heavy bombardment. Throughout the action he showed marked coolness and courage.”

He died of injuries received earlier in the day at the Casualty Clearing Hospital at Daours on 23rd August 1918. He is commemorated on the Salperton War Memorial in Gloucestershire. The inscription reads: Capt. George BALFOUR BLACK 17th Lancers Att Tank Corps, died of wounds when in action the same day August 28 (sic) 1918 aged 29.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Black
  • Forenames or initials: George Balfour
  • House: F
  • Years in School: 1902-1907
  • Rank: Captain
  • Regiment: 17th Lancers, attached to The Tank Corps
  • Date of Birth: 5th April 1889
  • Date of Death: 23rd August 1918
  • How Died: Died of wounds
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer C2
  • Decoration: MC
  • Burial Site: VILLERS-BRETONNEAUX MILITARY CEMETERY: Grave IV. D. 10