Private William Thomas Austin
Born in Cardiff to Jersey-born James
Austin Balston and Mary Elizabeth Balston (nee Woonton)
Killed in action, aged 19 years
As can be seen from his Commonwealth War Graves Commission
entry, William Thomas Austin was the son of Mr J and
Mrs M E Austin of 167 Wood Road, Pontypridd, Glamorgan.
However, Austin was not his proper surname, rather it
was one that was adopted by his Jersey-born parents.
J Austin was, in fact, James Austin Balston who was
born in the parish of St Lawrence in 1854, while his
wife, ME Austin, was Mary Elizabeth Woonton who was
also from the same parish, being born in 1857. They
had married in 1881. Why the adoption of Austin as the
As a result of information received from Woonton family
descendants, it appears that around 1890, James and
his wife suddenly left Jersey, the reason for this was
that James was running away after being
associated in some criminal skulduggery involving the
sale of a horse. Not wishing to be traced by Jerseys
police, James dropped the surname Balston and henceforth
used Austin as his and his familys new surname.
Yet, when William was born in 1898, he was registered
as William Thomas Balston (see the Cardiff Register
of Births, Volume 11a, Page 462).
William originally enlisted with the South Wales Borderers
and was given the regimental number 46027. At some stage,
it is not known when, he was transferred to the Gloucestershire