Volant Vashon Ballard
1774-1832. Baptised on 4 July 1774 at Ludlow in Shropshire, he was the second son of Humphrey Ballard and of his wife Sarah Vashon, and was the nephew of Admiral James Vashon.
Ballard entered the service in April 1786 aboard Commodore Alan Gardner’s pennant ship Expedition 44, commanded by his uncle, James Vashon, seeing service on the Jamaican station and transferring with both officers to the Europa 50 four months later. After returning to Britain the Europa was paid off in 1789 and he joined the Astrea 32, Captain Peter Rainier, whom he followed to the Monarch 74 in June 1790 during the course of the Spanish Armament.
Having earlier served with George Vancouver under Commodore Gardner in Jamaica, Ballard was selected by that officer to join the Discovery during Vancouver’s voyage of exploration to the Pacific coast of North America between 1791-5, serving in the various roles of able seaman, midshipman, and captain’s clerk. On returning to England, he was awarded a lieutenant’s commission on 6 November 1795.
From January 1798 Ballard commanded the sloop and ex-French privateer Hobart 18 in the East Indies, and he was posted captain of the thirty-year-old frigate Carysfort 28 on Christmas Day 1798. He remained with this vessel until January 1800 when he left Bombay as a passenger aboard the East Indiaman Woodford, arriving in England at the beginning of August and delivering dispatches from the commander-in-chief in the East Indies, Vice-Admiral Peter Rainier, to the Admiralty.
A brief acting command followed in the late spring of 1801 aboard the eighteen-pounder frigate Jason 36, and further acting commands were the Atlas 98 from 2 May to 23 July and the Sirius 36 from 23 July to 26 August. He subsequently commanded the Dutch prize Du Ruyter 68 from November as a troop ship, going out to the Leeward Islands at the beginning of 1802 with the First Battalion of the 85th Regiment from Madeira, where this vessel remained at Antigua.
From the beginning of 1804 Ballard commanded the Dutch-built Beschermer 50 at Harwich, retaining her into the following year, and in July 1806 he joined the Blonde 38, sailing from Portsmouth and Falmouth with a convoy for the West Indies in November. Here he at last gained notice with the capture of seven privateers within a few months, among these being the Dame Villaret 5 on 15 August, the Hortense 8 a day later, Hirondelle 8, Duquesne 17, and in October the prolific Alert 20. He later served at the reduction of the Danish West Indian possessions from 21 to 25 December 1807. During 1809 and 1810 he was employed under his namesake Captain Samuel Ballard off Guadeloupe, and he was present at the destruction of the frigates Loire 40 and Seine 40, which had been part of the force that had captured the Junon 38 on 13 December 1809. For his part in the action, he earned an honorary mention in dispatches.
In 1810 Ballard commanded a squadron mostly consisting of sloops off Guadeloupe, and from May to July he had the frigate Statira 38 in succession to the late Captain Charles Worsley Boys who had died at sea in the previous November. He returned to Portsmouth in September in command of the Neptune 98, which immediately put to sea again before he left her weeks later.
Ballard was nominated a CB in 1815, achieved flag rank on 27 May 1825 and died at Cavendish Crescent, Bath on 12 October 1832. He was buried at St. Saviour Church, Walcot.
He married Arabella Sarah Crabb of Shedfield Lodge, Hampshire; on 18 September 1811 at Droxford, Hampshire, and had two daughters and four sons, one of whom, James Boucher Vashon, became a captain in the Navy and two more became Roman Catholic clergymen. He was a close friend of his namesake, Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel Ballard.