Captain Albert Ball VC DSO MC

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by lastfour, Feb 10, 2008.

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  1. The Biography channel are soon to screen a programme about highly decorated WW1 hero Albert Ball [1896 -1917]- Sherwood Foresters and Royal Flying Corps.
    Long overdue - IMHO

    Attached Files:

  2. You mean Albert Ball VC?

    Yes he was "Highly Decorated" :eek:
  3. One of Nottinghamshire's finest, & a former Forester as well. They don't come much better than that.
  4. Your right to pull me up on this :oops:

    Medal entitlement of Captain Albert Ball - The Sherwood Foresters & Royal Flying Corps

    Victoria Cross
    Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ) & 2 Bars
    Military Cross ( MC )
    1914 - 15 Star
    British War Medal - ( 1914-20 )
    Victory Medal - ( 1914-19 ) + "MID Oakleaf"
    Knight, Legion of Honour ( France )
    Order of St George ( 4th Class ) ( Russia )

    Attached Files:

  5. Read Cecil Lewis ('Sagittarius Rising') for a pen picture by a man who knew him, and was himself a bemedalled ace... He was in the fight that Ball died in.

    "Of the great fighting pilots his tactics were the least cunning. Absolutely fearless, the odds made no difference to him. He would always attack, single out his man, and close."

    VC at age 20.

    That said, the pen pictures and the portrait all suggest to me a man that would have no place in today's world. He looks like, and is described as, an arrogant, lone killer who empathised with nothing. If he were on the other side, the match with Richthofen is perfect. Admirable when you need to kill your enemies, respected by anyone who's had to look down the barrel of a gun, but not someone who would ever be welcome at a dinner party by sane people... In modern parlance, 'one scary mofo'. Interesting social class contrast with James McCudden - more highly decorated, but a Sgt Major's son....
  6. There was some memorabilia knocking around my squadron's offices, and a few of our jockeys probably joined up the same time as him.
  7. Difficult to say this, as some of his letters home suggest otherwise.....

    "Oh it was a good fight, and the Huns were fine sports. One tried to ram me, after he was hit and only missed by inches. Am indeed looked after by God but oh I do get tired of living always to kill, and am really beginning to feel like a murderer. Shall be pleased when I have finished."

    "wont it be nice when this beastly killing is over and we can enjoy ourselves and not hurt anyone? I hate this game"

    Looking forward to seeing the programme when it is shown.
  8. Good quotes - I'm just not sure whether that's evidence of a sensitive soul, or the slightly restrained way an individual of his background would say - in part - what he thought the recipient should hear (who were the letters to, out of interest? if his mother, they're unlikely to be boasting of his enjoyment of slaughter, for example...), and just possibly display some battle fatigue?

    Doesn't detract in any way from my admiration, but he was known as an aloof loner, for sure
    Maybe I should just have said 'loner'...
  9. or 7th (Robin Hood Rifles) Bn Notts & Derbys Regiment (he is wearing this territorial 'regiments' badge). I believe he couldn't transfer to the RFC proper as he was a territorial (territorials could only be posted to units of their territorial regiment, Capt Ball VC must have found a loop hole around this - this restriction was stopped in 1917)
  10. Interesting point Polar, the Albert Ball/Homestead website, states........

    "In 1914 he enlisted in the British army with the 2/7th Battalion (Robin Hoods), of the Sherwood Foresters, Notts and Derby Regiment. By the October of 1914 he had reached the rank of Sergeant and then in the same month was made a Second-Lieutenant to his own battalion.

    So desperate was Albert to get to the front that he transferred to the
    North Midland Divisional Cyclist Company but still remained in England throughout 1915.

    In June 1915 he paid for private tuition and trained as a pilot at Hendon
    with the Ruffy-Baumann School. On 15 October 1915 he obtained Royal Aero Club Certificate Number 1898 and requested transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. The transfer granted, he further trained at Norwich and Upavon, being awarded the pilot's brevet on 22 January 1916.

    With regards to the Robin Hoods the WFR museum home page, has the following info.....
    "In 1908, another review of the Armed Forces saw the forming of the Territorial Force and the Robin Hoods were officially linked with and became a battalion of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment. They were numbered the 7th Battalion but were given special dispensation to continue using the title 'Robin Hoods'. The official title therefore was 1/7th (Robin Hoods) Battalion The Sherwood Foresters Regiment. Having being integrated into the Sherwood Foresters, the Robin Hoods began a long and glorious service as a Territorial Battalion and on 4 August 1914 were mobilised on the outbreak of War.

    The Grandad of Mrs Lastfour, was in the Sherwood Foresters WW1, in his effects is a small solid silver Robin Hoods badge and some paperwork, will look this out and check Battalion.
  11. Martin Middlebrook books contain a lot of info on the Robin Hoods (he has an intrest in the territorial Lincs bns part of the North Midland Divs). My Great Grandfather was a pre WW1 Robin Hood, their was 3 Bns of Robin Hoods - 1/7 with 46th (North Midland) Division, 2/7 with 59th (2nd North Midland) Div and 3/7 the training Bn based in the UK. The 1/7th got battered a few times during WW1, after the German spring offensive 1918 they could only muster around 10 soldiers for inspection by the King. Subsequently 2/7 and 3/7 disbanded leaving 1/7 to become 7th.

    The Robin Hoods still exist, spending WW2 as Royal Arty & Royal Eng Searchlight regiment. They eventually became WFR's (D (RHR) Coy 3 WFR(V)) disbanding in the early 90's and reforming as 350 (Robin Hood) Squadron (Air Support) Royal Engineers (V) in 2001.