WWI Profile: Edgar Levett Ballard 1898-1975

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WWI helmet with 30th Division insignia.
Source: Photo from Pvt Roy E. Jones at purpleheartsnorthcarolina.com

Edgar Levett Ballard
Bolivia, Brunswick County, NC
NC National Guard

May 7, 1917 – April 8, 1919
May 11, 1918 – April 2, 1919
Gassed: October 13, 1918

Edgar Levett Ballard was reportedly born in Little River, SC, and raised in Bolivia, NC. Only one reference to Little River was found, on his NC WWI Service Card. All other sources list his birth location as Brunswick County.

A family tree is located in FamilySearch. Two of Lawson’s brothers, John Thomas Ballard and Lawson Devaun Ballard are also WWI veterans. Lawson Devaun Ballard’s WWI Profile can be found here.

On May 7, 1917, at the age of 19, Edgar enlisted in the NC National Guard by way of the Boys’ Brigade, as described in a previous post.

In October, the 30th Division was created from NC National Guard units. Pvt Edgar Ballard was assigned to Company B, 119th Infantry, 30th “Old Hickory” Division.

The photograph above shows the 30th Division’s insignia in a horizontal position. If you remember from previous posts, the insignia contains an “O” for “Old” and “H” for “Hickory” as well as “XXX” the Roman numerals for 30, the division number. The insignia was designed to be worn vertically as shown here. According to division history, during WWI it was worn incorrectly and not discovered and corrected until the 1920s.

Refer to the previous posts outlining the history of the division and their famous Hindenburg Line assault. Details of the operations following the Hindenburg Line assault are included in 1st Sgt Van Mintz’s profile. This took place during October 8-10, 1918. The next contact with the enemy was October 17-19.

Pvt Ballard’s NC WWI Service Card indicates he was slightly gassed on October 13. History 119th Infantry, 60th Brigade, 30th Division. U. S. A. Operations in Belgium and France, 1917-1919 lists October 29, 1918, and shows he was “Sick.” However, sometimes that designation corresponds to poisonous gas exposure. Military casualty lists published in newspapers listed him as wounded slightly, so it seems to indicate gas exposure. Neither date fits with the operations of the 119th Infantry, but the effects of gas exposure often takes time to appear. However, without more information it is difficult to determine the exact date and location where the gas attack took place.

The 119th Infantry documentation shows he returned for duty on November 27, 1918. At that point, the war had ended. He was quickly promoted to Private First Class and then Corporal. He returned to the United States on March 17, 1919, with his company on USS Madawaska.

Edgar Ballard passed away in 1975. His obituary was published in Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), 1975 Dec. 26, p.18].

Ballard, 77, Dies

Edgar Levitte Ballard, 77, route 10, Statesville, was dead on arrival at Iredell Memorial Hospital Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Death was attributed to a heart attack.

At native of Brunswick County, he was a retired auto mechanic and lived on the Buffalo Shoals Road. He was an Army veteran of World War 1.

His parents were the late B.T. and Myrum Ballard, and he was born on Dec. 12, 1898.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Mary Woodsides Ballard; two sons, Thomas Ballard and W.L. Ballard, both of Statesville; one daughter, Mrs. Flake (Marium) Stewart of Taylorsville; two brothers, Johnny Ballard of Bolivia and Lawson Ballard of Wilmington; three sisters, Mrs. Casper Norton of Bolivia, Mrs. Pearl Stanley and Mrs. Henry King, both of Wilmington; 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

The funeral was scheduled at 2:30 p.m. today in Westmoreland Chapel of Bunch-Johnson Funeral Home. Burial was to follow in Iredell Memorial Park.

Edgar Levett Ballard was laid to rest in Statesville, NC. No military honors are shown.

If you would like to help us honor Edgar Levett Ballard or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement: Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran: How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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