Talk:Albert Ball/Archives/2011/October

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"Trailing only Red Baron" at time of his death?

Someone deleted this - I think it may very well be true, and have reinstated it. But has anyone had a look at what other ace's scores were in May 1917 ?? - most would have been well under their final tallies, of course. I'm sure Udet hadn't already shot down more than 40 EA at this time, for instance.

The main reservation I would have is the futility of comparing "scores" - without maligning Ball, or doubting his probity for one moment, the German and British scoring systems were so different. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:51, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I have checked this particular factoid, and it is true. And, yes, given the uncertainties of verifying ANY aerial victories by anyone in any war, it is essentially meaningless, flashy and 'peacockish'.

Georgejdorner (talk) 06:07, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Whoops, correction. Guynemer scored his 45th victory on 5 June 1917, two days before Ball's death. Therefore, Ball's tally of 44 was second to Guynemer at the time of Ball's death.

Georgejdorner (talk) 05:00, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Sorted now in lead -- tks George! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 11:18, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Family details and blue plaque

Noting here some family details that might be warranted in the article, but maybe not. It does provide more context though. The brother's name was Cyril. The sister's name was Lois (her married name was Anderson). The memorial at the church names another sister called Hilda, who died in infancy. The mother (Harriet or Harriett) died in 1931. The father (Albert) was born in 1863 and died in 1946. He was Lord Mayor of Nottingham twice, once in 1909/10 once in 1935/36, and he was knighted in 1924. His obituary was published in The Times, which is the source for the information heren (though that is a wiki, so the page linked to may change). Also, following up on the Lenton Listener mention of a blue plaque, I looked and it seems one wasn't erected there back in the 1980s (at least I found no mention of it), but one was erected recently (May 2011) in Grantham where he went to school (though it was one of several schools he attended). That doesn't seem to be an official blue plaque, but a local scheme, so I'm only noting it here. Carcharoth (talk) 17:22, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Auction of letter

Found this news item from 2005 about the auction of a letter. It is something I would add to the article, but I'm not sure how rare this is. If this is something that doesn't happen often, then I would add it, but wanted to check here first. Carcharoth (talk) 18:17, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Date of VC investiture

I'm reading The Court Circular from The Times for Monday, Jul 23, 1917; pg. 9; Issue 41537; col B, and this states that Ball's parents were presented with his VC during an investiture held by the King in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on 21 July 1917. Two points:

  • (1) This date contradicts the date of 22 July 1917 given elsewhere. Which source is more reliable?
  • (2) There is this picture on the picture the past website, which gives the location as Nottingham and the date as June. I suspect that this is totally wrong, but trying to check that is what led me to the article in The Times.

There were many other VCs presented that day (21 July) as well, and probably none the next day, so unless there is some explanation for all this, I think a mistake has been made here somewhere. Carcharoth (talk) 19:20, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Cost of the Memorial Homes

Not sure what to do with this reference (from Flight & the Aircraft Engineer, Volume 10, Part 2, 1918) to the Memorial Homes being intended to cost £10,000. It is a bit useless at the moment, because it is only an estimate, and what is really needed is a figure for how much they actually cost, but I thought it might be worth putting here in case anyone wanted to follow that up. Carcharoth (talk) 19:29, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I spoke too soon. I found the article in The Times, Friday, Sep 08, 1922; pg. 7; Issue 43131; col F. The bits of interest are that they were opened "yesterday" (i.e. agrees with 7 September date in other sources) by "Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Wilson, M.P." and that a message was read out from the King:

"It is fitting that the homes should bear the name of one destined to live pre-eminent among the sons of Nottingham, who, in the Great War, as in the days of Charles I, gave their all for King and country."

More to the point of what I said above, the article says that "The capital value of the gift exceeds £20,000". So that answers the question I had. Is it worth putting that in this article? Carcharoth (talk) 19:37, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Memorial unveiling

If another reliable source is needed for the details of the memorial unveiling, it was briefly (26 lines) covered in The Times, Friday, Sep 09, 1921; pg. 11; Issue 42821; col C. The squadron of airplanes flying overhead is also mentioned, as is the fact that the unveiling was by Sir Hugh Trenchard. There are additional details, such as the parents laying a tribute of blue and white flowers in shape of a propeller, but the local newspaper reports likely had more on this. There was, for example, an article in the Nottingham Guardian, 'Homage to V.C. Airman: The Ball Memorial Unveiled', 20430, 9 September 1921, p.6. Carcharoth (talk) 19:51, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Stained glass window and coat-of-arms

There is a puzzle that distracted me for a while, concerning a stained glass window. Not the Ball window in the Holy Trinity Church (that was an earlier generation), but the stained glass window(s) that Ball's father is said to have commissioned in the grand house he had built in Wollaton Park. This is described here, where the claim is that "Sir Albert commissioned a stained glass window to commemorate young Albert". I tried to find pictures, with some on property websites, but the closest I got was a picture with the motto "Sublime Petimus". When I plugged this into a search engine, I got a hit in Armorial Families, which contains descriptions of coats-of-arms. That includes:

BALL of Nottingham (H. Coll., 27 June 1924). Argent, a lion rampant sable, holding in the dexter forepaw a fireball proper between two roses gules, barbed and seeded also proper, on a chief of the second a representation of the badge of the R.F.C. or. Mantling sable and argent. Crest — On a wreath of the colours, in front of a dexter cubit arm grasping in the hand a fireball proper, two roses as in the arms. Motto — " Sublime petimus."

It seems that the father had a coat-of-arms drawn up for his family in 1924 that included some representation of the RFC? If this can be pinned down in a reliable source, it would be good, but the above is as far as I was able to go. I don't think it is enough at the moment, as I'm wary that estate agents trying to sell that property may have talked this up. Anyway, maybe there are sources out there that can shed some light on this. FWIW, 'sublime petimus' translates approximately as 'We seek what is on high' and seems closely related to the motto of the RFC college (later RAF cadet college): Superna Petimus (Latin: We seek higher things). An example of the latter is here (about an Royal Air Force Cadet College medal from the 1920s). Carcharoth (talk) 01:33, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

How about more info about his life?

Greetings, all,

With all due respect to a fallen hero, how about adding some more about his life, rather than just his afterlife?

Georgejdorner (talk) 23:53, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

The amount added recently is actually not that much. Do a word count of what has changed recently. Turning from the question of how much has been added recently, to the question of overall balance, the lead section is currently 347 words, and of those only one sentence (the last) of 19 words is about events after Ball's death. In the main body of the article (leaving out the table at the end and the citations), you have 224 words on his early life, 3021 about World War I, 732 about the Victoria Cross and his legacy (if you exclude the VC citation). The five medal citations take up another 546 words. If that balance isn't right, what do you think the right balance should be? I would certainly favour adding more details of his life. He met Billy Bishop, I think. It would also be nice to include a few quotes from his letters home. Carcharoth (talk) 00:56, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
To George, I have added a couple of extra tidbits for his life and have some more to add. A few days ago I found a choice piece in a book describing him as having the perfect makeup for a killer in wartime given his 'proper' upbringing and lack of maturity, which contrasts nicely with a bit in Bowyer about how calling him a killer would be unfair, because of his continued remorse over sending his opponents to their deaths. So I'm aiming to put the one after the other in the appropriate spot (possible after the "lone wolf" bit).
To Carcharoth, we already have number of quotes from his letters, though there are one or two more we can add. I think the lead had the appropriate balance with the amount in the legacy section at the start of this review, given the add'l info now I might expand the lead a bit, but let's complete the additions/mods to the main body first. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 01:14, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm still looking around in various places, and I still have a list from the earlier stuff which I never finished. If I don't get round to that this week, I'll try and consolidate my notes here for future reference (for you, George and others). For now, I've completed looking at other articles on Wikipedia where Ball is mentioned or linked from, to see if anything obvious has been missed. What I found was the following: Ernest Foot (article claims Ball was his best friend); Bulwell (article lays claim to Ball for Bulwell, though I'm not sure how accurate that is); Red Baron (video game) (this is trivia/popular culture, though now quite an old computer game, from 1990); and three articles make claims related to memorials to Ball: Albert Toft, Arthur Brewill, Basil Baily. None of that is particularly needed (and not seen Toft mentioned before anywhere), but others might make more of these links (or be able to correct those articles if they are wrong). Carcharoth (talk) 02:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Family details

There are some elements of the Ball family that if presented might help provide more context. Not too much, but I think some of the following is relevant:

  • Various sources say her younger son's death greatly affected his mother (saying she didn't attend the memorial service and didn't speak about his death). She also died in 1931 and her husband later remarried. In passing, she is often referred to in source as Mary Page, though the memorial at the church refers to her as Harriett (with a double t).
  • His sister, Lois, married a year later (and became Anderson), the details were given in an aviation magazine.

    "Miss Lois Ball, daughter of Alderman and Mrs. A. Ball. The Park, Nottingham, sister of the late Captain Albert Ball, VC, and of Lieutenant Cyril Ball, also the RFC, now a prisoner of war in Germany, was married in Nottingham on March 2nd [1918] to Lieutenant G. Stafford Anderson, Leicestershire Regiment." - Flight International, Volume 10 (1919), Issue 1, page 264

    The thing that relates this back to Ball is that the bridesmaids were his fiancee (Flora Young) and his brother Cyril's fiancee (Miss Marie Price).
  • Ball's elder brother Cyril (as described above) was also an aviator (did he become one before Albert?), and was shot down in February 1918 and ended up a prisoner-of-war and returned after the war. Not sure whether he was initially reported missing or not, but that must have been terrible for the family and a great relief to learn he was alive (though mention of when Albert was reported missing and when the family were told of the death is not currently present in the article). Cyril is shown in uniform in pictures of the memorial service procession. There is more on him at the bottom of this page. I also came across a reference in a NYT article about Cyril being put on display in a cage in Germany, see here and here. There are also references in recent news stories (June 2011) to a daughter Cyril had, who has memories of visiting her grandfather (Sir Albert) in the 1930s.
  • Ball's father was very wealthy (and became more so). I'm not sure the article makes that clear enough. He was a director of Austin, and had money to buy lots of land at various points (including the land he built a large house on in around 1926). His obituary was published in The Times and the amount left in his will is also mentioned in The Times and was over £110,000 which was a vast sum in 1946.

Clearly not all the above is needed for context, but I think some of it would help, even if only in a short couple of sentences or two at the bottom of the article in a set of notes. Carcharoth (talk) 12:58, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Tks, was already planning to add the bit about his mother not attending the funeral service, etc. Her full name was Harriett (yes, a double "t", thank you!) Mary Page so will tweak in the article to cover all bases. The bit about his brother is also of interest, will see about that. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:03, 9 October 2011 (UTC)
    • FWIW, a stained glass memorial window was erected to Lady Ball when she died (that church contains memorial windows to both Sir Albert's mother and his wife). I came across this detail in an updated version of the 1930 work on that Lenton parish church: here. That may or may not be a better source than the 1930 source currently in the article. It does use the 'Harriett' double-t spelling. Carcharoth (talk) 23:11, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Summarising here the results of some searches I did for books specifically on this topic (as opposed to a few pages or sections or sentences within a larger book). I'm giving the number of pages as well, to help in assessing these:

  • Briscoe, Walter Alwyn (1918). Captain Ball VC. 300 pages.
  • Briscoe, Walter Alwyn (1921). The Boy Hero of the Air. 108 pages.
  • Kiernan, Reginald Hugh (1933). Captain Albert Ball. 198 pages.
  • Bowyer, Chaz (1977). Albert Ball VC. 280 pages.
  • Collar, Mark (2009). Albert and Flora. 203 pages.
  • Pengelly, Colin (2010). Albert Ball VC: The Fighter Pilot Hero of World War I. 224 pages.

The work from 1921 by Briscoe appears to have been written for children, and the adverts at the time said "Every copy sold means a contribution to the 'Captain Ball Memorial Fund'." I had hoped there would be more on this, but that was all I found.

I think that the above is a reasonably comprehensive list of the book-length accounts of Ball's life, though the Collar work from 2009 is something slightly different. Currently only the Bowyer work is used as a source for this article. Both the Collar work and the Pengelly work post-date Bowyer's work. It is not clear whether they provide anything new, but someone does need to look at them (or confirm that they've already looked at them) before this article goes to further review stages.

In addition to this, I also found the following three references, both more booklets than books, but worth noting in this talk page section so other editors are aware of them and can be aware of what they are:

  • Elias, Gillian (1993). Albert Ball, VC. 37 pages.
  • Merryweather, Frank Bertrand (1918). The Defiance of Death. 16 pages.
  • Cobbold, W.N. (1918) Albert Ball VC fighter pilot: In Memoriam. 8 pages.

The Elias work is a booklet from Nottinghamshire County Council. The Merryweather work is subtitled "Being some thoughts on the death of a brave soldier, preached ... by F. B. Merryweather. In memoriam: Capt. Ball". According to this: "Printed card covers, 16 pages, portrait frontispiece, 18 x 12 cm. This is the text of a commemorative sermon preached at Lenton Priory Church on All Saints Day by F.B.M. It is followed by a description of the circumstances of a duel between Ball and Immelman. It was printed by Arthur H. Stockwell." Can't do much with this on its own, but it would be interesting to see if any secondary source commented on this sermon at any point (it is mentioned in a 1999 work by Joanna Bourke). The Cobbold work doesn't seem to be mentioned much elsewhere, but is described here as containing "a poem commemorating Albert Ball and his achievements". The following year, Cobbold produced a volume of poetry titled Rhymes on the War, March 21st to November 11th, 1918, and after the Armistice (1919), though some sources call it Poems on the War. This volume of poetry included one titled 'Captain Albert Ball, VC, DSO'. This poem, and another one by Cobbold called 'The Revival of Knighthood', are both discussed in sources such as this (another work by Joanna Bourke, an article in a collected volume of essays). Carcharoth (talk) 22:03, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Georgejdorner (talk) 02:05, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Hi, taking the books above one by one:
  • Briscoe, Walter Alwyn (1918). Captain Ball VC. 300 pages.
    • As you know I've read through this one and apart from some tributes by various luminaries it didn't appear to add anything to Bowyer and other sources we have. I may still add a quote or two from it to take it out the Further Reading section. I've also found a useful source that partially analyses it as a tribute/memorial, which I'll add at some stage to the Legacy section.
  • Briscoe, Walter Alwyn (1921). The Boy Hero of the Air. 108 pages.
  • I may just mention this one in the main body in conjunction with quoting and discussing the work above.
  • Kiernan, Reginald Hugh (1933). Captain Albert Ball. 198 pages.
  • This we know about, already in Further Reading. I haven't located a copy but it was used as a source in the ODNB entry so given that plus its age I don't think it's vital to pursue it.
  • Bowyer, Chaz (1977). Albert Ball VC. 280 pages.
  • I think we should be satisfied with this for the purposes of the A-Class Review, however I've checked out the later edition on Amazon and will probably get a copy of it to bring the citations up to date before we go for FAC.
  • Collar, Mark (2009). Albert and Flora. 203 pages.
  • This might be interesting if somewhat specialised so not top of my list given the other sources -- we do already dedicate some space to Flora in the article, so she is not ignored.
  • Pengelly, Colin (2010). Albert Ball VC: The Fighter Pilot Hero of World War I.
  • Seen this on the net but haven't found a copy in local bookstores as yet. I don’t know the author’s bona fides as a military biographer (Bowyer has a pedigree as long as your arm). It certainly needs looking at before FAC but, again, not necessarily for the ACR given the comprehensiveness of the Bowyer book and the additional military book sources we've already used. Tks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 10:00, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the point-by-point response here. I'm interested to see what you've found regarding this analysis of the Briscoe work from 1918. I've been reading about Chaz Bowyer (who sadly died in 2008) and he does have a good pedigree as you say. Pengelly has written a few books on military history as well (maybe ask around as well?), but I wouldn't really know how to assess that and as you intend to look at it and you know the Bowyer book well, you are in the best position to judge that one. I did look around for more on Joanna Bourke, and as you can see she has an article. Which doesn't always mean much, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that. The 'Albert and Flora' book is described as 'fiction' in some places, so it might be a semi-fictionalised account based on the letters, and it does also cover other WWI romances as well, so how to use/treat this does depend heavily on what it actually is. Two reviews I found may help: [1], [2]. That latter review (from the Nottingham Evening Post) is particularly helpful (the first one is the blog of a friend puffing the book) - sounds like this book is something for external links or a very brief mention if at all. It is interesting that the niece (Mrs Paddy Armstrong) relates the thoughts of her mother (Cyril's wife) on the relationship. I'd be interested, though, to see if that book mentions that Flora was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Lois in 1918 (as I pointed out above) - this was just under a year after Albert died remember. Would be something that is quite easy to miss, but the source I found is crystal-clear on this. Carcharoth (talk) 04:15, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Contemporary newspaper reports

While I have the database open, I might as well list all the articles from The Times that were found between the beginning of 1917 (there will, of course, be articles before this date as well) and the end of 1930, for the search term "albert ball". I'm only listing those articles where Ball appears in the title (i.e. mentions in 'news in brief' and other columns are not picked up).

  • Captain A. Ball's Fate. Fight With Three Enemy Airmen., A Striking Series Of Victories (The Times Friday, May 18, 1917; pg. 5; Issue 41481; col C)
  • Captain Ball's Death Announced. Famous Airman Buried Near Lille. (The Times Monday, Jun 04, 1917; pg. 8; Issue 41495; col F)
  • The Victoria Cross. 29 Officers And Men Decorated., Captain Ball, V.C., D.S.O., M.C. (The Times Saturday, Jun 09, 1917; pg. 4; Issue 41500; col A)
  • Hostel For The Maimed. A Memorial To Captain Ball. (The Times Thursday, Jul 05, 1917; pg. 8; Issue 41522; col E)
  • Letters to the Editor (Albert Ball). (The Times Tuesday, Sep 07, 1920; pg. 13; Issue 42509; col D )
  • The Memorial To Captain Ball, V.C. (Picture Gallery) (The Times Wednesday, Sep 07, 1921; pg. 5; Issue 42819; col C )
  • Captain Ball. V.C. Memorial Unveiled At Nottingham. (The Times Friday, Sep 09, 1921; pg. 11; Issue 42821; col C )
  • A Memorial To Captain Albert Ball, V.C. The King's Message. (The Times Friday, Sep 08, 1922; pg. 7; Issue 43131; col F)

This is only to give a rough idea of what is there. And secondary sources should still be preferred to contemporary newspaper reports, but I think the above will still be useful. The Letter to the Editor is Ball's father, writing in his capacity as Mayor of Nottingham (a different post to that of Lord Mayor?) pleading that ex-servicemen be given priority for jobs. Carcharoth (talk) 20:06, 8 October 2011 (UTC)

Just to update this section, the other place for contemporary news reports is the various local papers (though I'm not sure what the major local titles were in Nottingham at the time in the 1910s and 1920s) and also the Flight magazine (see Flight International), with the archives at The search interface for those archives is here, but is pretty useless as it can't seem to cope with exact phrases. So I searched the domain name with Google and got the following results for Albert Ball and Captain Ball. The news covered is pretty much the same as that covered by The Times, the difference being that the pages of issues of Flight magazine can be linked to and are (at least currently) freely available, unlike the archives of The Times which you need some form of subscription or library access for. Anyway, I'm going to list a selection of links from those searches below (there is more, but only listing some here - all these links are to a PDF viewer).
That last entry is reporting the same thing as The Times did in the entry above titled 'Hostel For The Maimed'. This hostel was opened on 5 July 1917, after the memorial service in Nottingham, but before the VC investiture at Buckingham Palace. The hostel (called the 'Captain Ball Hostel' in the report) was for disabled soldiers, located in Mare Street, Hackney, London, and Ball's father attended the opening, with the honours done by Brigadier-General (later Air Commodore) Lionel Charlton. Also in attendance were Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen (junior government minister at the time - at the Pensions Ministry), Sir Charles Wyndham and Sir Frederick Milner (ex-MP who worked with ex-servicemen). The funds of over £10,000 were provided by members of the Eccentric Club (the report in The Times gives the location as '4 King Edward's Road' and states that this hostel "originated with the offer of £1,000 by a member of the club as a memorial to Captain Ball, and in a month £3,000 was collected"). The original building is almost certainly not there any more, but I can easily travel to that location (as opposed to travelling to Nottingham) and might wander up that street to see what is there now (probably completely changed, as I said, but you never know). Anyway, I hadn't seen that mentioned anywhere else (apart from the report in The Times). Do any of the book-length sources mention this hostel in London? Carcharoth (talk) 05:20, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Couple more points

Noting here that extra details on the memorial in the field in France where he crashed are here. It seems the current layout is different to what was there originally (two markers, not just one, and triangular patch and path). If that is considered a reliable source, it might be worth including, or if this detail is excessive, then just finding some way of pointing interested readers in that direction (I would add a footnote or further reading link saying "further details available at...").

The other point about the memorials in France is the succession of grave markers, from the German one, to the RFC one, to the one erected by the family. The German memorial cross inscription is given in the Albert Ball entry in Supreme Courage (Peter de la Billiere), a history of the Victoria Cross. The link is to the 2011 edition. None of the memorial inscriptions have been quoted in this article, but that is one that could be considered (I'm personally torn on memorial inscriptions, because I like the idea of being able to find them on Wikipedia, but the various memorial inscriptions would overwhelm the text of this article unless put in a series of footnotes).

That account by de la Billiere is from page 41 to 52, some 11 pages, and is well worth using as a source, IMO (though I can't assess how much it goes beyond what Bowyer wrote). Certainly if the ODNB account is used as a source, this one probably should be as well, given the length, or it should be put in further reading. If de la Billiere gives a slightly different analysis of the final flight (as he seems to), then NPOV probably requires using this source as well.

Getting back to the memorial crosses, there is mention here of the three different grave markers. The first one and the third one can be sourced. Is there a way to source the fact that the RFC put up a marker after the war to replace the German one? As the German one eventually (according to that website) ended up at Trent College, there must be a published account somewhere of what happened there, and really the RfC cross should have been kept somewhere.

Two final points are: (i) some of the portraits used in this article (and some not included) appear to have been by official war artists. The fact that these are official portraits/depictions of the pilots and the air battles, should be explicitly sourced and mentioned; (ii) There was an article in The Builder in 1922 that features the 'cartouche' on the Captain Ball, VC, Memorial Hostel. Given the date (1922) and location (Nottingham), this is almost certainly the Albert Ball Memorial Homes in Lenton (not the 1917 hostel in London). But several sources refer to the Homes as a Hostel, so there may be some confusion still present there. But the real point I'm making here is that architectural publications also reported on those Memorial Homes. Carcharoth (talk) 07:13, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes I've seen the 2011 Supreme Courage on GoogleBooks but will probably use the 2004 edition as my library has it. I noticed it has the inscription on the cross and will probably add that, however I'm a little unsure of the author because, despite his credentials as a soldier, he does uncritically report what I believe is now generally regarded as myth, that all VC metal is from Russian cannon of the Crimean War, and also suggests Ball downed almost 70 aircraft, without any explanation that I could find for the discrepancy between that and the official total of 44. Of course many of the WWI aces are thought to have accounted for more than their official total, but nowhere else have I seen such a high figure in connection with Ball; at the very least it should have been discussed on first mention. Still, will give the book a go... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 12:01, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
I noticed that high figure as well. And another discrepancy is that some sources say the identification bracelet Albert gave Flora was gold, when silver (as stated by other sources) seems more likely. Were official identification bracelets really made of silver anyway? Would this have been a privately made one? Anyway, I'm sure there are lots of little discrepancies. Hopefully it will all come out in the wash. Carcharoth (talk) 21:43, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Rushing a bit, but putting a few more points here:

  • Albert Ball's Flying Aces - as far as I can tell, a modern band with this name, playing WWI-era music, pretending to be a group of RFC pilots in Paris after the war. Though possibly that backstory is genuine (in the sense that such a group existed), I doubt it. All rather bizarre. The fact that they are listed on the Eccentric Club's website, the same organisation that paid more than 90 years ago for a hostel in London named after Ball, appears to be entirely coincidental.
  • Cyril Ball was Albert's younger (not older) brother (I think I said older brother above), and an interview with him was posted on the Aerodrome forums, along with other stuff such as the newspaper article by Stannard. I've lost the links now, but browsing the Aerodrome forums should bring them up fairly quickly.
  • Another article on the Eccentric Club-funded hostel named after Ball. I found this from a different search, as this would not have come up in either searches for "Albert Ball" or "Captain Ball", but only in searches for "A. Ball".
  • Found on Google Books: Baily's Magazine of Sports & Pastimes, Volume 109 (1918), page 38: "Mr. Cobbold, 'the prince of dribblers,' as he has been called by footballers, has penned, an ode in Latin to the memory of Flight-Commander A. Ball, VCDSO, after whom one of the Eccentric Club hostels has been named" (note again the reference to "A. Ball" an almost impossible term to search by). If I manage to get hold of a copy of that poem Cobbold published, it will be interesting to see if it is in Latin, or whether Cobbold did other odes as well.
  • There were two versions of the Newling painting, one in 1919, and one in 1921. The one in the Wikipedia article is the 1919 one.
  • I went and had another look at the Nottinghamshire Archives link on the National Archives site, and if you follow one of the links there, you get a very detailed description for one of the archives, with quotes from lots of the letters they hold. It isn't all the letters (presumably those are in the other archive), but it gives you lots of reliable online quotes that readers can be pointed towards. The external link currently in this Wikipedia article could be tweaked to point readers in that direction, as it is easy to miss that link at the page to which the readers are currently sent.

I'm also going to try and look at a copy of the 1921 work by Briscoe (the children's version of his 1918 work), and see what is said there. Carcharoth (talk) 07:23, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Computer animation of Ball's last flight

Greetings, all,

A thrilling little film to watch, but with many inaccuracies. I won't enumerate them all here, but showing Ball wearing a helmet is only the first error. I don't recommend linking this to the article.

Georgejdorner (talk) 01:29, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Some notes

Managed to peruse copies of some of the books on a library trip, and I made the following notes:

  • On page 309 of Briscoe and Stannard (Captain Ball VC, 1918) there is a mention of the Eccentric Club hostel "for limbless men from the Army and Navy". The only information here that is not in sources provided elsewhere is that it was "originated by his friend Mr James White".
  • On page 310-11 of Briscoe and Stannard (Captain Ball VC, 1918) is the story of the Sherwoods advancing in battle to the cry of "Remember Captain Ball!". However, the battle is not named, so that ditches the idea of mentioning that. That story is all very Boy's Own anyway.
  • I took another look at the Cobbold poetry book (Rhymes on the War, 1919), and the poem to Ball is on pages 2-5 and is indeed 32 stanzas long, but I still didn't photocopy it, though one of the stanzas (about a funeral pyre) was reproduced elsewhere, I think.
  • Kiernan's book (Captain Albert Ball, 1933) ends with an epitaph on page 181 from the war correspondent Maurice Baring who joined the RFC during WWI and was an assistant to Henderson and Trenchard. That snippet of information led (via Google) to this, a letter from Baring to T. E. Lawrence asking for him to review Kiernan's book! (Note that Lawrence is addressed by Baring as 'Shaw', the name Lawrence adopted in the RAF).
  • Kiernan's book (Captain Albert Ball, 1933) acknowledges H. A. Jones, the "British Official Air Historian". I've tried without much success to find out more details about H. A. Jones, but seeing that reminded me that the DNB entry for Ball, written in 1927, was by the same H. A. Jones.
  • Kiernan's book (Captain Albert Ball, 1933) has a forward by Air-Marshal Sir J. F. A. Higgins.
    • The Briscoe/Stannard book (Captain Ball VC, 1918) also has an appreciation by Higgins and I did consider using some of it since he's notable but I felt that Lloyd George, Haig and Trenchard were enough, and were also an order of magnitude better known to the general reader. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:07, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Briscoe second book on Ball (The Boy Hero of the Air, 1921) was indeed written for children, as the title suggests.
    • As I think I suggested ealrier, might be worth just mentioning this one, but probably no more. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:07, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Those are all the notes I had time to make. The 'article' in The Times from 1999 is all of 54 words. I'm not sure where the rest of the text on the Victoriacross website came from. I did find a local Nottingham newspaper article that mentioned the French school, so can e-mail that if anyone is interested (no scan, just had it e-mailed to me). Carcharoth (talk) 00:35, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Tks mate. I'd like to see the Times and Nottingham paper articles if you can email them, as I agree it'd be good to cite the French school tidbit to an RS in the main body, rather than have the ELs. Naming a house in a local school is one thing, naming an entire school in another country is definitely worth mentioning. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:07, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

WWI Resource Center links redux


Would the Nottingham Evening Post be considered a reliable source? If so, we have some valuable info in their articles. First, there is the insights into his personality, and his interplay with his family in his letters. Second, there are useful facts about his connections, such as his and his father's stock ownership in Austin Motors, which led to the Austin Ball fighter, and his return to combat.

If you deem the NEP reliable, I should be glad to mine these sources. After all, it's scarcely fair to leave so much of this work to Ian and Carcharoth.

Georgejdorner (talk) 01:14, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

I can't see how it'd be considered less reliable than say the Lenton Listener -- more so if anything. My suggestion, George, is to make a few notes for us all here on the interesting tidbits, and we look at adding them after the A-Class Review has run its course (i.e. pre-FAC). Albert Sr's connection to Austin is definitely worth pursuing as it better explains the background of the Austin-Ball fighter -- I've seen that connection mentioned elsewhere but I don't think it was a reliable source so didn't add it at the time. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:27, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

A-Class achieved, next stop FAC

Tally-ho chaps! Congrats George and thanks for your recent input and support Carcharoth, which helped get this article to its most recent milestone. As I mentioned earlier, one tends to get more reviews at FAC from the MilHist crowd the quicker one nominates there after ACR, so I think we should prepare the article as soon as we can. So that we don't edit conflict, suggest we briefly note the key things we want to do and agree those (and who will action) before going much further; I think best we use headings and short sharp bullet points as well. I also think we can also afford to be fairly prudent in what we add to the article; what comes to mind for me are:

  • Images
    • You'd have noted that I had to ditch the two excellent paintings because the Imperial War Museum has copyright on their photos, though not the paintings themselves. So if someone wanted to view and photograph the paintings at the museum, we could probably use those photos -- however that's a nice-to-have, not essential...!
    • I'm in the process of requesting deletion of the Austin-Ball image from Commons as we're unsure of copyright, and I think it'd be worth recreating it on WP with a fair-use rationale given how unlikely it'd be to be able to obtain a free image -- opinions?
    • I know I said I wasn't that keen on the shot in the car from the National Portrait Gallery, even though it appeared to be out of copyright since the photographer died more than 70 years ago. However, since I've had to move the portrait with the Caudron to the infobox, perhaps we should use the car shot in the early part of the First World War section for want of anything better -- again, opinions?
    • Are there any other images we know of that are definitely out of copyright and could be uploaded to Commons for use in the article?
  • References
    • As discussed earlier, I think one of us needs to locate a copy of Pengelly's Albert Ball VC: The Fighter Pilot Hero of World War as it's the most recent book, in case it provides new insights.
    • If we end up using Pengelly, I think we can afford to not bother with the 1994 edition of Bowyer's Albert Ball VC; I've seen bits of the latest edition on Amazon and the author admits there's not a great deal more in the new one.
    • Carcharoth, I'll leave to you whether you think it's worth including anything from Kiernan's Captain Albert Ball.
    • Carchoroth, you had a couple of sources similar in theme to Robertson's The Dream of Civilised Warfare -- could you remind us of those and is there anything we should still use to augment Robertson's perspective?
    • Carcharoth, you had a newspaper scan or two re. the Franch school I think...
    • George, as previously, if the NEP can be cited for Albert Sr's connection to Austin that's useful as it better explains the background of the Austin-Ball fighter.

That's all I have time for now... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:24, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Ian and Carcharoth,

Good show on the ACR, you two.

I will be out of touch for a few days. I'm helping my daughter move residence, but I will pitch in upon my return.

Georgejdorner (talk) 16:27, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this section, Ian. Like George, I'm a bit busy this week, but will try and get back to this in a few days time. One thing that could be done is to go through some of the stuff I posted above where there are no responses, and say yea or nay on the various suggestions. Ping me on my talk page if more is needed. I'll use the "e-mail this user" link on your user page, Ian, to send you the newspaper articles - George, would you like copies as well? Carcharoth (talk) 20:25, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

I've pulled a MacArthur; I have returned.

My first order of business has been to request such books as I can through my library's reference desk. Theoretically, the following may be available, and I have requested them:

Kiernan's Captain Albert Ball; I requested the 1939 edition.

Pengelly's Albert Ball VC.

Briscoe's Boy Hero of the Air.

My fourth request is an intriguing one that we have not previously noted. Horses Don't Fly is a memoir by America's first ace, Frederick Libby. A preliminary peek via Google book search shows that he claimed to be buddies with Ball, and that Ball saved Libby's life on several occasions.

Given the fact we already have British and French reactions to Ball's exploits, it might be interesting to include American reactions if possible.

Now, if I only don't have to move before the books come in....

Cheero, chaps.

Georgejdorner (talk) 21:48, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Congratulations! I have "been bold" and made a couple of changes to clarify things about particular aircraft. The gunner of a B.E.2c was of course awkwardly placed in the front seat, not in the rear - and the modifications to Ball's S.E.5 seem to have been muddled with the "standard" ones made to ALL 56 squadron's S.E.5s. The C.C. synchronising gear gave a lot of trouble at this time, it worked on a radically different principle to the older mechanical gears and the ground crews took a while to get used to the proper way of adjusting them. Ball's constant Vickers "jams" may have been connected with this. Finally - I'm not at all sure that the young lady pulling his body from the wreckage isn't just another "Albert Ball legend" (there are a lot of them, as I'm sure everybody here is well aware!) - sounds just a bit too romantic to be true, as well as just being inherently unlikely. I nearly cut this myself - but just in case someone has a REALLY unimpeachable source... If there is any doubt I think it should go. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:27, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I have made a few futher tweaks - the bit about the "early S.E.5 engine not being able to run inverted" may be not quite right - by no means sure that ANY Hispano-Suiza engine would run inverted for very long - or even if ANY inline engine of the time could, for that matter... --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:01, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
A final comment for the moment - "tour of duty" strikes me as being anachronistic - anyone have a instance of the term being used in 1916/17??. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:09, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Nearly forgot!! The bit about the Austin-Ball A.F.B.1 fighter needs rewriting - Ball certainly did not design it (although the designers may have consulted him about seating and armament arrangements), and it cannot be identified with the "heaps better than the Hun Fokker" plans he was sent in 1916 either - more likely a much later design, as it was designed around the Hispano.. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 07:26, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi, appreciate any improvements but can I just check that the changes you've made are attributable to the sources already in the article or are they from your particular knowledge? If we've misinterpreted a source, then it's fair to change the article and leave the source in place. However if you're adding/changing info based on another source or your own head, it doesn't help the verifiability aspect, so in that case better to discuss it here first... Thanks/cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 08:42, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
Appreciate the need generally to keep statements cosistent with that in cites. On the other hand our wording will not necessarily be the same as that of the cites (copyright infridgement if it was, in fact!!). If a source says that a B.E.2c had the gunner's seat behind then it is (very) plainly in error, likewise if a source indicates that the removal of the "glasshouse" windscreens from the early S.E.5 was something done to Ball's aircraft but not the rest. By all means double check sources of course - although especially in the B.E.2c case we are perhaps just correcting a minor slip about something fairly peripheral to the main point of the cited text and my correction may well stand. Otherwise a minor rewriting of our text (simply omitting mention of which seat the gunner occupied for instance, or leaving out the bit about the windscreen and concentrating on Ball's experimentation with the S.E.'s armament) may fit the bill. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
In fact - I've bin and gorn and dun it, Mister! I.E. edited my own edits so as to confine myself to omission of what was probably just a slip or confusion in the text cited rather than a careful correction which introduced material of (in this context) doubtful notability.--Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:36, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Ian - I have vetted all my recent edits - endeavouring to supply alternate references when I have added anything positive or explanatory, rather than just deleting "doubtful" or irrelevant information. Hope this is now OK. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:19, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

(Addressing s.o.m's concerns)

The trope of the fair French teenager pulling Ball from the wreckage is widespread throughout the sources; I recall a claim that the crash smashed down onto her family's property. I should think that Hailer and his three companions would have claimed to have extricated Ball if they were first on the scene. However, I do recall there was disagreement about the girl's name, although her purported descendants still hold a commemorative ceremony annually. However, the question of whom pulled Ball from the wreckage is trivial. It may, indeed, have to go.

Also, I rather doubt that any carburetted engine will run when inverted; it takes fuel injection for that. Certainly, when I rolled a carburetted car onto its roof, it quit running posthaste!

"Tour of duty" is my stylistic error. Its replacement with the equivalent in the Queen's English would improve the article.

It does sound as though the Austin-Ball fighter needs more research. However, let's not lose sight of the fact that Ball, despite his youth, was quite talented with mechanical items and had founded his own machine shop before his enlistment. At any rate, if you have any sources concerning design of this airplane, please do share them.

Cheers. Georgejdorner (talk) 15:11, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

I realise that the "fair French teenager" occurs in many sources - I fear this may be because one source tends to follow the other, and a good yarn should never get in the way of facts! Many other unlikely "Ball Legends" have been (rightly!) excluded from this article - and I fear this one will have to go too. Incidentally I have read (can't remember where) a contradictory myth that his crashed S.E.5 (and his body) was never positively identified because it was pulverised by artillery fire. Just goes to show. If the "gallant hero" really did "die in the arms of a fair maiden" then it is after all not that notable anyway, at least not in an encyclopedia as opposed to a medieval romance.
I am going to "be bold" and expunge it, anyway! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 01:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry I haven't had the time to respond to all your points, which I wanted to, and thanks for reviewing your sources for the changes. Re. the French girl, when you removed the info from the main body, you left a mention in the lead. I've swapped things round, removing from the lead and restoring to the body. I was admittedly a bit dubious from the start about leaving it in the lead so am happy to de-emphasise a bit by losing the first instance but having gone through so many sources lately, none of which take issue with the story, leads me to believe it needs to stay in some fashion -- I don't believe we can or should arbitrarily remove a tidbit that is so ubiquitous in the sources. I agree it sounds legendary, and that wrong info can be repeated through multiple supposedly reliable sources. However unless a writer in an RS has questioned the story, and/or provided alternate data, it's not really up to us to leave it out. If someone reliable casts doubt, I have no prob including and citing that. Yet even Ball's prime biographer, Bowyer, vouches for the story, going so far as to name the lady, and he claimed in his introduction that he was at pains to print the facts on Ball, not the legend. Of course I'm still open to discussion on this -- it's a team effort -- but I didn't get a chance to discuss this before now. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 14:40, 31 October 2011 (UTC)


I have the Above the Trenches pages for Ball in my files.

Georgejdorner (talk) 15:30, 29 October 2011 (UTC)