Date of birth: 27th March 1913
Parents: Gilbert Ewan and Angelina Mabel Balster nee Watson
Address: 18 Chapel Place, Ramsgate, Kent
Occupation: Carpenter and Joiner
Cyril Leslie Balster was born on 27th March 1913 at Ramsgate in Kent. His father, Gilbert, was a Builder’s Estimator and Manager who had served in WW1 as a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. His mother is listed in various records as either Angelina or Angela. She is shown in the 1939 Register as Angela but on the 1901 census as Angelina. In 1939 Cyril was a Carpenter and Joiner.
Despite searching we can find no link to Warwick for Cyril. Both of his parents were born in Margate, and their parents (Cyril’s grandparents) were also Margate born. He left his estate of £235 19s 7d to his father, which indicates that he was not married but perhaps he had a sweetheart in Warwick.
We would welcome any information regarding Cyril’s life or his connection with Warwick
Rank & Number: Second Hand, LT/JX198887
Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Patrol Service
Brigade/Division: HM Drifter Ocean Sunlight
Date of death: 13th June 1940
Cause of death/Battle: Died at Sea
Commemorated/Buried: Buried in Ramsgate and St Lawrence Cemetery, Kent
Commemorated locally at: All Saints Church, Emscote
Cyril’s family came from Ramsgate and when war was declared he was working on a ‘drifter’ called Ocean Sunlight, a fishing boat using drift-nets to catch herring. The boat was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence and operated as a mine sweeper in the channel. It was dangerous work. German mines were released all round the southern ports, some exploding on contact, others tethered to the sea floor below the surface and exploding when a magnetic field was detected.
On 13th June 1940, Her Majesty’s Drifter Ocean Sunlight was returning to port at Seaford in Sussex. The wife of the ship’s cook, Albert Roberts, had gone down to the harbour with her children to greet her husband. She started waving as the boat came to within 800 meters of the shore when it struck a mine and blew up. Ten of the crew were lost, including the ‘Second Hand’, Cyril Balster.
- Unlocking Warwick Research Group