Balfour Anthony Trotter

Balfour Anthony Trotter was born on 12 Jan 1888, the son of a solicitor. He went to Harrow School 1902-1907 and matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1907 the same year as Noel Downing. The two were life long friends.

It is assumed that Balfour is nicknamed ‘Jabey’ in the correspondence of Noel – elsewhere there are references to ‘Jabey Trotter’ (Sic). By the same token it is assumed ‘Botts’ is another of the 1907 Brasenose cohort, probably Trounsell Gilbert.

Other members of this group included Aubrey Webster (Webber?) and Christopher Haworth Burne.

Unlike Noel and a number of his other friends, Balfour did not join the University and Public Schools ‘Pals’ battalion but sought  a commission by a more direct route. It looks as if he had a spell in Canada after Oxford and returned to England only in Feb 1915. He enlisted and eventually became a Captain in the Royal Field Artillery. In his post war civilian life he is variously recorded as an Estate Agent and even a Turf Accountant.

Balfour (right) and Olive Trotter with Noel, Hazel and Jill Downing, 47 Selwyn Rd, Edgbaston, 11 Sep 1938

Balfour (right) and Olive Trotter with Noel, Hazel and Jill Downing, 47 Selwyn Rd, Edgbaston, 11 Sep 1938

Balfour Trotter in retirement moved to Monxton, Nr Andover. He died in Andover Hospital on 1 Apr 1963.

Noel and Molly Downing lived in nearby Upton and the visitors’ book records Balfour frequently visiting The Cottage, Upton. He had been widowed in 1950 but rapidly remarried Vera in 1951. The visits are so frequent in the year 1955 that it would suggest that he used his friend Noel’s hospitality to search and find his own retirement home nearby with his new wife. Balfour and Vera’s address is always given as 38 Colebrook Close, West Hill, SW15.

Balfour had one daughter Phyllis Trotter (b. 1930), who continued to live unmarried in the Andover area. She was Noel’s God Daughter and is mentioned as such in Noel’s 1963 will.


  • Oxford University, Roll of Service, Clarendon Press 1920
  • UK Incoming Passenger Lists, Liverpool, 18 Feb 1915,
  • Downing Photo albums
Last updated on 14 February 2021 by JJ Morgan