Personal Life and Family
Albert Ball lived in a moderate wealth together with his siblings. He had a brother named Cyril and Lois, his sister. His father, Albert Ball Sr., was a plumber before becoming a successful business man. The rapid success of his father in the family transferring from one place to another which meant, they had numerous different addresses. It was in Lenton Boulevard that Albert Junior was born. Because of his early death, he was never married. He was engaged in 1915 to Dot Allbourne but was failed due to his constant interest in other women. Thelma Starr was rumoured to be the women that finally wrecked their engagement.
Work and Career
At the outbreak of the First World War, Albert Ball enlisted in the British Army. He joined the Robin Hood Battalion and soon after was promoted to a sergeant and then trained recruits. He was displeased with this work and transferred to the North Midlands Cyclist Company, Divisional Mounted Troops. He was still confined within his post but he was able to see 5 of his men go to the front line in France.
In June 1915, he started private flying lessons so his knowledge of engineering could be put to use and he would be able to see active service in France. His pilot training in the Ruffy-Baumann Flying School cost him �75 to �100 but it paid off as he qualified and joined the Royal Aero Club on October 15, 1915. Based on his new pilot status he was transferred to Royal Flying Corps. His first few flights were unsuccessful because he had only 15 minutes experience of flying a plane solo. During his flying service he was known to be a lone-wolf pilot. He stalked his prey until he was close enough to attack the enemy. When he was not flying, he spent his time cultivating a little personnel garden or playing his violin. His was not anti-social, he was just to shy to mingle with the other squadron pilots.
His first aerial victory happened in May 16, 1916 when he shot down a German plane. On June 25th, he became a balloon buster when he destroyed a balloon observatory with phosphor bombs. On July 2, he shot down another two enemy aircraft flown by Roland C II and Aviatik. His victories continued until his 20th birthday when he was promoted to a temporary captain with No. 11 squadron. His bravery, leadership and skills were not left unnoticed by his superiors in the military but also the people around him. During a mission on the evening of May 7, 1917, he was involved in a dogfight with Jasta 11, this was destined to be the final battle of his career and life.
On April 1917, he joined No. 56 squadron which was deployed on the Western Front. On May 7th he was seen flying his S.E.5 in combat with a German single-seater plane of Jasta 11 entering deep clouds and both aircraft crashed probably a result of collision. On May 7th his body was found in the wreckage. He is buried in Grave 643, Ann�ullin Communal Cemetery.
Influence & Legacy
Although Albert Ball died at a very young age, his legacy continues. If you recall, when his famous enemy Manfred von Richthofen learned of his death, he said "by far the best English flying man". His death brought misery and mourning, not only to his fellow pilots in the RFC, but to the whole nation who had had been made fully aware of his skills and courage for reasons of morale on the home front, essential during this dark period of world history.
As Albert Ball died at the very young age of 20, there were not many famous quotes by him. Here is a part of the letter written for his father and fianc�e:
"Won't it be nice when all this beastly killing is over, and we can enjoy ourselves and not hurt anyone? I hate this game."