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Reginald Thomas Annesley Acton, 1877-1916
1877: 'A visit to relatives in Godstone in Surrey followed, and then the whole party went to Ireland, and stayed for some time in Wicklow, where a third son was born... Returning to England, Major and Mrs Acton went for a time to Norwood, where they stayed with friends. The Crystal Place was a great enjoyment to them and to their children. At length they settled down at Tunbridge Wells, where Major Acton bought a house. ... In September, 1878, Major Ball-Acton started for India, leaving behind him his wife and five children.'Reginald Acton, Emily Parsons' 'Uncle Reggie', was killed at Ypres on May 22nd, 1916, age 38.
Rugby School, which Reggie attended, printed a folder about him. This is reproduced here, with additions from elsewhere either bracketed or indented:
Reginald Thomas Annesley Acton, of Kilmacurragh, Rathdrum, County Wicklow, and Iron Acton, Gloucestershire, was the third and last surviving son of Colonel Charles Ball-Acton, C.B. (Old Rugbeian, 1842), The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry) and of Georgina Cecilia his wife. On both his father's and his mother's side there was a long connection with the School, dating back nearly 100 years..
He entered Rugby School in 1891, was a member of School House, passed through the RMC, Sandhurst, and was gazetted to the 1st battalion of the K.O.Y.L.I. in 1897.
[His Commanding Officer gave him this commendation:]
Captain Ball-Acton served under my command in the 1st Batt. Yorkshire Light Infantry, from January, 1898, to November, 1899, and during that time he was attentive to his duties, and I had no fault to find with his performance of them; careful in his habits, and a strict teetotaller. He was fond of out-door sports, and a good rider.
He served with the 2nd battalion in the South African War from April, 1900, to the end of the campaign in 1902, and received the Queen's Medal with three Clasps and the King's Medal with two. He was promoted Captain in 1901, and, retiring at the end of the War, spent some years farming in South Africa and the Argentine.
[The following testimonials refer to this period, the first to South Africa]
Dear Ball-Acton,[The following refers to Argentina]
Captain R. Ball-Acton worked for my partner in the management of Estates in South America, from June, 1909 - May, 1911. I have very much pleasure in testifying to his tact, discretion, and general high character. ..
(Emily Parsons kept a jokey letter which he wrote to her, then aged 8, from Argentina, and I was able to pass it on to his son, Charles, who was born in 1914.)
El Correntino[Reggie returned to England and married Isabel Richmond on April 17, 1913, in St James the Less, Iron Acton. Emily was a bridesmaid.]
At the time of the outbreak of War in 1914, he was in the Special Reserve. He at once rejoined his old Regiment, was sent to France to the 2nd Battalion in December...
[A letter to his sister Evelyn and her husband Edward Nixon Wynne, an excellent shot. Baby Charlie refers to his own son, born in October. Charlie refers to Charles Acton Wynne, his nephew, then a pupil at Cheltenham College.]
In FranceHe was wounded at Lindenhoek in January, 1915, and invalided home, and, in March, was sent to the 3rd Battalion at Hull. He returned to the Front, to the 7th Battalion of his Regiment, in March, 1916.
When on patrol duty, near Ypres, two of his men were wounded. Thinking that they had not been able to get back to their own lines, Major Ball-Acton went back to search for them, and, in doing so, was twice hit, the second time fatally. A Subaltern and a private, at great risk, brought him in, over 200 yards, under heavy machine-gun fire, and, for this, were both decorated, the former with the Military Cross. He fell on May 22nd, 1916. Age 38.
A brother Officer wrote: -
"He was a thorough gentleman, chivalrous, keen and brave, of more than ordinary force of character. We all deplore his death. I don't think I have ever met a man who was so truly a soldier and a gentleman, and, with it all, there was a true humility about him that often made one quite ashamed of oneself."
His parting words to his wife were: -
"Always remember that this life is a very little part of it."
From Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site:
In Memory ofAdditional Information: Son of Charles Ball-Acton, C.B. (Col., K.O.Y.L.I.) and Georgina Cecilia (his wife); husband of Isabel Diguis La Touche (formerly Ball-Acton), of Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow.
REGINALD THOMAS ANNESLEY BALL-ACTON
Major, 7th Bn., King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry who died on Monday, 22nd May 1916. Age 38.
WHITE HOUSE CEMETERY, ST. JEAN-LES-YPRES, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Grave Reference/Panel Number: Special Memorial 9.