Captain Albert Ball, DSO, MC, Royal Flying Corps, 1917
Photograph, World War One, Air Operations (1914-1918), 1917.
Albert Ball (1896-1917) was one of the Royal Flying Corps' greatest fighter aces of the war. Credited with 44 victories, he was also awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross (VC). According to 'The London Gazette' of 8 June 1917:
'For most conspicuous and consistent bravery from the 25th of April to the 6th of May, 1917, during which period Captain Ball took part in twenty-six combats in the air and destroyed eleven hostile aeroplanes, drove down two out of control, and forced several others to land.
In these combats Captain Ball, flying alone, on one occasion fought six hostile machines, twice he fought five and once four. When leading two other British aeroplanes he attacked an enemy formation of eight. On each of these occasions he brought down at least one enemy.
Several times his aeroplane was badly damaged, once so seriously that but for the most delicate handling his machine would have collapsed, as nearly all the control wires had been shot away. On returning with a damaged machine he had always to be restrained from immediately going out on another.
In all, Captain Ball has destroyed forty-three German aeroplanes and one balloon, and has always displayed most exceptional courage, determination and skill'.
Ball was killed when his SE5 aircraft crashed after he had been engaging Baron von Richthofen's squadron near Lens on 7 May 1917.
From an album of 500 photographs compiled by the Anglo-Russian Press Service Ltd.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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