I am nominating this for featured article because...
Albert Ball cleared Good Article Review two years ago. It has since undergone rearrangement of the material within it—mostly shifting sentences about to improve chronological flow of the article. There were also some tweaks made when the latest (Pengelly) bio became available as a source. A stable and complete article, it is worthy of being featured as a best example of Wikipedia.Georgejdorner (talk) 23:33, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
Happy to co-nom per George's invite. The GA and ACR nominations were largely our efforts, and Soundofmusicals and Carcharoth became more heavily involved during and immediately after the latter review. With four regular editors I expect there may well be places in the article that require some polish but a great deal of research and writing effort has gone into it and I think it has the goods -- between George and myself we should have access to the main sources and be able to respond to potential queries. Tks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:54, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
File:2106-21LastFlightof_CaptainBall.jpg: why is this licensed as a government creation? Was Arnold a government artist? Nikkimaria (talk) 19:22, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I have read through this today and I'm impressed. Happy to support after some comments. These will be in fits and spurts due to RL and (*ahem* resolving comments on my FAC a few lines up) so please bare with me. Lede will come last.
"After a series of moves to houses throughout Lenton..." -- Redundancy of "to houses" IMO.
We seem to have an abundance of "Lenton's" in the first few opening lines: "Albert Ball was born on 14 August 1896 at 301 Lenton Boulevard in Lenton, Nottingham. After a series of moves to houses throughout Lenton, his family settled at Sedgley, 43 Lenton Road." →"Albert Ball was born on 14 August 1896 at 301 Lenton Boulevard in Lenton, Nottingham. After a series of moves within the parish, his family settled at Sedgley, 43 Lenton Road." I have no idea if this is indeed a parish so I could be wrong here, but I would chose a different word from Lenton.
"His parents were considered loving and indulgent." -- By who?
That would be his biographer Bowyer, although if the latest bio (Pengelly) doesn't disagree, I'd say we could just drop "considered". Perhaps George or Soundofmusicals can check that as Pengelly is the one major source I don't have. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Ball's parents allowed him tools, radios, and other electrical equipment for his workshop (the hut mentioned below). He grew up in "genteel surroundings" with his own room and maid service. His father was considered "patient and lenient", as well as protective and supportive of his children. He was a hands-on father, teaching his son to shoot. His mother was so devoted to him that Ball's death reduced her to semi-invalidism.
I did extend the cite to include one more page of such examples.
The actual sentence in Bowyer is: "All three children benefited from the love and indulgence of a close-knit family life."Georgejdorner (talk) 08:32, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
It would be better to state that it was his authors observation. -- CassiantoTalk 09:49, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Is it truly necessary to duplicate references in the text, just to spare the reader that arduous click that will reveal it anyhow via the cite?Georgejdorner (talk) 18:29, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
"Ball had his own small hut" →"Ball had a small hut". "Had" and "his own" are both possessive in this context.
And what's wrong with the possessive in this situation? His indulgent father did give him the hut.Georgejdorner (talk) 08:32, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with a possessive, but do we need both? -- CassiantoTalk 09:49, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, okay. Another editor removed the repetition.Georgejdorner (talk) 18:31, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
"Possessed of keen vision, he soon became a crack shot. He was also deeply religious. None of this curbed his daring in such boyhood feats as steeplejacking. -- There seems to be a lot of stubby sentences here which makes for bumpy reading.
Open to suggestions. The statements about his shooting are particularly relevant and read okay to me. I think the religious bit is also important and probably can't easily be combined with other sentences. The last bit about steeplejacking perhaps belongs before the religious thing (we can also expand on it a little if that'd help smooth the bumps). Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I think it should all stay, but the pauses should be reduced. The trouble is that each of the short sentences are about completely different subjects so they can't really use commas. Could one of the sentences be expanded a bit? For instance, we could move the "crack shot" claim to where we speak of his upbringing with guns? What religeon did he follow? We could then combine the "steeple jack" claim with a conjunction. Failing that, I do think your correct when you say that the "steeple jack" claim would be better before the "religeon". -- CassiantoTalk 08:00, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, his specific creed is not mentioned—only that he was pious.
The writing about firearms IS in a single place already.
"March 1915 saw Ball..." →"In March 1915, Ball..."
Will leave this pending more on the related query below. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Done now. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:54, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Excuse the pun, but we seem to be flying through his early years here: "...though he was still interested in other girls such as Thelma Starr." In the space of two sentences, he has met, married got engaged and become interested in initiating an affair with another woman. How and where did he meet his new wife, who was Starr to him where did he meet her, did he have an affair, or was it lust only?
Um, it says he was briefly engaged, not married. I'll need to defer to George or SoM as Pengelly reports this. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Oops, my error. Cheers Ian -- CassiantoTalk 08:00, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Ball was an adolescent lad of 17 and 18 at this time. His engagement to Dot lasted two months. His next major girlfriend, Thelma Starr, was only 14; in photos, she appears to not yet even gone through puberty. And there were other girls. However, in those Victorian times, it is dubious he had sex with any of them. Nevertheless, his parents were opposed to his engagement(s); they weren't THAT indulgent.Georgejdorner (talk) 09:44, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
That's fine. My comment still stands; saying that he was interested in girls is redundant. If we are saying that he had an affair during his engagement, then this maybe worthy of leaving in the text. -- CassiantoTalk 09:49, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Just read your above George, and it seems these were just celibate romances. That's fine then, just double checking. -- CassiantoTalk 12:45, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
As indeed you should. If you weren't doing that, you shouldn't be reviewing this article.Georgejdorner (talk) 18:36, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
"...where his interest in engineering could find an outlet" -- his interest doesn't find it, he does. Could this be reworded.
Forgot this earlier, reworded now. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:54, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
The money conversion ruins the flow of prose IMO. Could this be put in a footnote?
Mmm, it's a pretty concise bit of info, though; I've thought a footnote might be more trouble than it's worth... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
These money conversions are standard things in WP articles; they are in numerous articles besides this one. They give the reader the sense of the "real" present day amounts. Also, the sizable sum is another example of parental indulgence.Georgejdorner (talk) 09:22, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Sure they are standard, I have used them for all of my FAs. I used them for Dan Leno (in the text) and Marie Lloyd (in a footnote). Now I have used the two, I prefer footnoting them as the flow can become somewhat interrupted by the conversion. I suppose we could get away with this one as it is at the end of a sentence.
"Ball would wake at 3:00 am to ride his motorcycle to Ruffy-Baumann and get in some flying at dawn," -- "get in some flying" just does not sound right. Also, do we really need to know which mode of transport he took? Surely the key point here is the fact he was taking flying lessons. "Ball would wake at 3:00 am for flying practise...
I think it's worth leaving the motorbike mention there as he was in a Cyclist company, and also because the biographies emphasise his fondness for motor transport. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Mentioning the motorcycle also shows his interest in mechanics. Early motorcycles took as much fixing as riding.Georgejdorner (talk) 09:32, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't quite see the connection there between riding a motorcycle and an interest in mechanics. I drive a car, but I'm not in the least bit interested in how it works. -- CassiantoTalk 09:49, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Might I suggest then: ""Ball would wake at 3:00 am and ride his motorcycle to Ruffy-Baumann to start flying practise" or something similar. I really do think "get in some flying" sounds very conversational.
The citation is to Pengelly, so I'll leave to George or SoM to check if Ball's instructors are reported as considering him so or it's simply the the biographer's observation. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I have added "by his instructors" to clarify matters.Georgejdorner (talk) 18:38, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
"certificate no. 1898 -- Do we need to know this? If so, worthy of a footnote?
This is a standard factoid for articles concerning WWI aviators, found in pretty much all references and used in almost every other similar article in WP.Georgejdorner (talk) 18:51, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Ditto money conversion reply. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
How about setting this and the money conversion in parenthesis?
"Completing his training at Central Flying School, Upavon, he was awarded his wings on 22 January 1916." → "He completed his training at the Central Flying School, Upavon, and was awarded his wings on 22 January 1916."
"He survived being shot down by anti-aircraft fire on 27 March." -- "shot down by anti-aircraft fire"? Would he have be shot down by any other kind?
Open to suggestions but I'm not sure how else we can express it and still be accurate; "flak" I think is anachronistic (though happy to be proved wrong), and "ground fire" or "artillery" are ambiguous. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Ok, that's fine cheers. -- CassiantoTalk 08:00, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
"Three days later, he fought the first of his several combats" --he/his. Redundancy of "his" IMO.
Could the short sentence at the end be combined?
Both done earlier. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 13:54, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
These are for now, more to follow... -- CassiantoTalk 19:41, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Tks for taking the time to review, Cass. Aside from those I've responded to, I think I've actioned all the comments above. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks for thorough and constructive reviewing. Your incisive comments have led to many detailed improvements. As a final favo(u)r, could you please check for any "Yankeeisms" I have committed?Georgejdorner (talk) 18:56, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Not a problem, I will try and continue tonight, if not tomorrow. -- CassiantoTalk 19:14, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Initial fighter posting
sixth paragraph down should start with the noun not a pronoun.
Unless I have missed it, could we link "VC"?
Done both; in the end I spelt out VC and reworded as he obviously hadn't received the award when he was "a budding flyer". Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
"Returning" changed to "upon return".Georgejdorner (talk) 18:43, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Is there a way of not repeating ""for conspicuous skill and gallantry"?
It's in the citation and we do say "also" to ack the repetition... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Not for Brits I guess, maybe others? Not that fussed though... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
"Ball was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant on 8 December." -- Could we give the year again as a reminder? We last use it at the beginning of the previous paragraph.
Done and linked "substantive rank" for the uninitiated. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
All but the second para in this section seem very short and stubby. Could some be combined?
Done, tks again. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Second fighter posting
Final flight and aftermath
"Following the end of the war, Ball's grave, which had been behind enemy lines, was located at Grave 643 in the Annoeullin Cemetery." -- Handy to know where this cemetery is as it is a new section.
Well it's in Annoeullin, which was linked earlier -- should we say more? I have reworded slightly in any case as the use of "located" may have been confusing. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:34, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
"Ball's is the only British grave from the First World War in this extension, the rest being German war graves." →"Ball's is the only British grave from the First World War in this extension, with the rest being German."
Done as suggested but thought we could do without the "with". Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:34, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Is "Nottingham High School Junior School" its actual name?
Website says "Nottingham High Junior School" so used "Nottingham High's Junior School", which I though worked better here. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:34, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Everything else looks really rather good. -- CassiantoTalk 04:54, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Tks for your continued interest! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:34, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
"...was an English fighter pilot of the First World War." →"...was an English fighter pilot during the First World War." Not much different, but the latter sounds better IMO.
Is there a tributary comment we could add onto the end of the final paragraph? I think this would round the lede up nicely and give the reader the sense on just how popular and remarkable this man was.
Great idea! I added a tribute from the master ace, Richthofen.Georgejdorner (talk) 18:59, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Support -- All of my points have been answered satisfactorily and I am now happy to add my support. This is a very good article indeed! --CassiantoTalk 20:03, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Many tks Cassianto! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 21:49, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
aviation newsletter, Flight International eight days later Was Flight International really a newsletter at this time? And the sentence needs a comma after International.
I've substituted "journal", which I think is preferable. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:53, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
What was the second bar to the DSO for? The others have a brief summary in the main body, but nothing is said about this one until the formal award citations section.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 19:44, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
Tweaked. Tks for reviewing, Storm! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:53, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
Interesting article, his letters reminded me of stories from Boy's Own. I guess that many boys of the time internalized the attitudes purveyed there.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 02:26, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
I agree, and all credit to George for pointing out his story to me and suggesting we collaborate on it way back when. Tks for your support. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 02:42, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
"Another memorial tablet is present inside the same church, stated in 1930 to be mounted on the north wall": Either it's there or it's not, regardless of what was once stated.
Removed "stated in 1930" and added a more up-to-date citation. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 21:59, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
"His father wanted the remains brought back to England for reburial, but the policy put in place by the Imperial War Graves Commission meant that this was not possible. The Commission were working at the time to consolidate the British war graves into fewer cemeteries; 23 British bodies in graves in the location where Ball was buried were moved to the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, but at his father's request Ball's grave was allowed to remain.": I'm not following what his father wanted and what the Commission wanted. - Dank (push to talk) 18:06, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
I think I've reconciled this by cross-checking another source. Tks for ce and support, Dan! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 21:59, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Sure thing, any time. George, I hope this review process hasn't been as unpleasant as you sometimes make it sound. - Dank (push to talk) 23:30, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Comments - responding to a couple of the points raised by Dank above, as some of the text he was querying was added by me back in 2011.
(i) The bit about the memorial tablet in 1930 was part of what I added two years ago. If you look at the talk page (search for '1930'), you will see that I suggested back then a more up-to-date source (the same as the one Ian used). I should have added that source back then, which would have avoided this quibble. Sorry about that.
(ii) The bit Dank queries above, starting ""His father wanted the remains brought back to England for reburial" is also part of what I added back in 2011. Ian says above that he 'reconciled this by cross-checking another source' I've looked at the edit Ian made, and that change has gone too far, IMO. Dank, what Ball's father wanted was repatriation from France to England. What the Commission wanted was to keep the bodies in France, but consolidate them into fewer cemeteries (in this case, the nearby Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery which is in France, not the UK). The compromise was to allow Ball's body to stay where it was originally buried (i.e. in the local cemetery's extension for German and other war graves), and also to allow Ball to have a private memorial, rather than the standard Commission headstone. This is a fairly important point, as it is relatively rare for such burials abroad to not have this standard Commission headstone. Dank, does that make things clearer? Ian, does this help explain why I think the text about Ball's father wanting the body brought home is correct and should be restored?
Carcharoth, I couldn't access the source you used for your edit, so I checked what Bowyer, as one of Ball's two major biographers, had to say on the subject and rewrote the passage based primarily on that. Even if you vouch for the accuracy of the source you used, I don't think the passage can be restored just as it was because the first line was passive and confusing (who had located Ball's grave?) and there was further confusion owing to Albert Sr's apparent change of mind (first he wanted the body moved, then he didn't). Personally I think it's simpler to leave as is because it does accurately reflect what a key source says -- happy for anyone to double-check that, or voice their opinion, of course. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:44, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Ian, the first (passive) line was rewritten in an earlier edit - I'm not objecting to that. I'm objecting to your removal of the line about the policy against repatriating the British and Empire dead - this underpins what happened here with Ball's grave. The key sources on the background to this will be the histories of the Imperial War Graves Commission. Those histories will get details like this right, based on the correspondence with Ball's father in the archives kept by the Commission. Without making clear that Ball's father originally wanted the body brought home, you leave the reader with a misleading impression. I will explain on the talk page. Carcharoth (talk) 00:38, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Responded there -- my point above is that there was a confusing impression in the text as presented originally, since Ball's father seemed to want his son's body moved, then not moved, without an obvious explanation as to his apparent change of mind. Based on what you've said on the talk page, we may be able to resolve that now but it wasn't clear before. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 04:18, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
(iii) While looking over the recent edits, I noticed this one that Dank asked be checked. I don't know who originally added that, but I suspect that 'in an advanced state of nervousness' shouldn't be replaced with 'anxiously'. Could someone check the citation for that?
(iii) Okay, I have corrected the page numbers within the Bowyer cite.
(iii) Either term above would be British understatement to a fault. Ball was temporarily blinded by oil spraying from a holed tank, and left flying helplessly with an engine about to seize.
(iii) After landing, Ball could not at first dictate his combat report because he "...was in so overwrought a state...." After thanking God, Ball admitted he thought a dying German pilot might ram him.
(iii) The squadron's Recording Officer, Lieutenant T. B. Marson, remarked, "In that event, his nerve failed him in the last."Georgejdorner (talk) 03:35, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
(iv) There are other sources on the talk page referring to minor points (a sentence or two here and there) that I had intended to add at some point. I should have done so earlier, and I'm now not sure whether to return to this article and do that, or not. Really, the discussion from two years ago never came to a proper conclusion. Ideally, that would have been sorted before this FAC. So I'm in a bit of a quandary as to what to do now. Would there be any objections if I tied up those loose ends?
Whatever Ian wants to do with those is fine by me. - Dank (push to talk) 02:18, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I am certainly open to improvements.Georgejdorner (talk) 03:10, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you. I've put more detail about the 'anxious/overwrought' wording on the article talk page. I will do my best to get back to the earlier material on that talk page as soon as possible (either tonight, tomorrow night, or next week). That may give time for Ian to comment as well. Carcharoth (talk) 23:08, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
As I've proclaimed to all involved in the writing/editing of this article, during reviews I'm pragmatic rather than idealistic, mainly because stability is always part of the criteria. There's always more detail out there that can be added in and there's been plenty of time over the years to make tweaks to this article; no WP article is ever 'finished'. Therefore if something in the article under review is demonstrably inaccurate according to reliable sources, it should be altered or excised. If OTOH we're simply talking further detail, well I think it's a fairly well-detailed/nuanced summary of his life, career, and legacy as is and such things can wait until after the review. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:44, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Ian, what I had to say in reply turned out to be longer than expected, so I'll drop a note on your talk page (and ping George as well) rather than write at length here (i.e. I don't want this to distract from this review). But, the point George has made on the article talk page about the 'anxious/overwrought' wording is important - I think you need to look at that and comment there. Carcharoth (talk) 00:38, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I'm happy for George to word that as he sees fit -- as I say, clarifications/corrections may need to be made as necessary, that's not an issue. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk)
I have checked all Pengelly cites. With minor corrections, all of them check out except (68). That one, to my way of thinking is rather "air ware". There is no mention of directorship in the cited pages, and only author's speculation concerning Ball's motivation.
I have been keeping an eye on this review despite not 'dropping in' lately. Tks for all that work George; I only had access to the 1977 edition of Bowyer when we first worked on this article and obviously the paging is different to the 2004 edition -- that was a labour of love on your part! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 22:44, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, if I am going to motormouth elsewhere about the necessity of checking links, I have to back it up here.Georgejdorner (talk) 14:47, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
I am not aware of any outstanding issues at this point. I have been able to check about 80% of the cites back to their sources. ODNB is the major source I was unable to check out.
Double-checked ODNB, just a couple of tweaks. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:53, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I made a plain (and rather awkward) amendment to develop an unadorned account of the 5 May 1917 near-ramming.Georgejdorner (talk) 02:24, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Tks George, I changed a word and trimmed a bit but in the main I think your clarification of what actually happened was just the right thing to do -- definitely worth it. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 08:56, 30 October 2013 (UTC)