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James Ball was born in 1895 in Westby with Plumpton, near Kirkham, Lancashire, he was the son of Richard and Margaret Ball (nee Postlewhite).

Richard Ball and Margaret Postlewhite were married in 1891. James had another 5 siblings, Robert (1891), Mary Elizabeth Ellen (1893), John (1897), Aloysius Thomas (1899) and William (1901).

At the time of the 1911 Census James was living with his parents and 4 of his siblings in a 5 roomed house in Great Plumpton, near Kirkham. James was working as a farm labourer.

At the end of August 1914 a big recruitment rally was held in the Market Square in Kirkham asking for men to go and enlist. The following is a short note from St. Michael`s School Log Book in which it says:-

Sept 1st 1914 – Children taken into Preston Street (Kirkham) this morning at 9.20am to watch the departure of 120 of the young men who were marching to Preston to join Lord Kitchener`s Army

On the following day the 2nd September, 1914 James Ball walked into the recruiting office in Preston and enlisted for 3 years or the duration of the war. James was allocated the service number 13874 and posted to “B” Coy, 8th Battalion Loyal North Lancs.


On the 25th September 1915 James Ball sailed for Boulogne, France with the 8th Battalion.

From the few pages of Pension records that have survived it notes that James was admitted to 13 Stationery Hospital, Boulogne on 13th October 1916 after being slightly wounded on the 10th October.

By the 7th November 1916 James had returned to the 8th Battalion in the field.

The next significant date to appear on James` pension record is 18th June 1917 when he was admitted to 77th Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to his right knee. He was then transferred to No.8 Stationery Hospital, Wimereux.

From hospital in Wimereux James was then sent back to England for further treatment travelling on H.S St. Patrick. The St. Patrick was one of several converted cross channel ferries being used at the time to convey wounded and sick soldiers back to England. There is no record of where James was sent to when he arrived back in England.

hmhs st patrick

His Majesty’s Hospital Ship – St. Patrick

James Ball then spent the next six months recovering from his injury and by early January 1918 he was considered fit enough to return to the front.

On the 11th January, 1918 he embarked at Folkestone bound for France once more, a short while later he was posted back to the 8th Battalion and joined them in the field on 19 January, 1918.

One day later on the 20 January, 1918 James was admitted to 77 Field Ambulance again, this time with an `inflamed right knee`. About two weeks later James was sent back to the General Hospital in Rouen. Finally, on the 7 February, 1918 he was again transferred back to England on board the HS Panama for further treatment in England.

The original gunshot wound to the knee and subsequent problems it caused signaled the end of James` war service. The next date to appear is 11 April, 1919 when he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z reserve.

Prior to discharge James` final medical report concluded that the cause of his current knee problem was due to the gunshot wound he received in June, 1917 when he was in the Messines area.

The Medical Board decided there was less than 20% disablement so James would receive a pension of 6s/6d for one year from 12 April, 1919 and this would end on 13 April, 1920.


Sergeant James Ball received the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals for his services in the war.

On 9 August, 1921 James married Mary Anderton at the Willows Church, Kirkham. James worked on the railways for many years and eventually made a full recovery from the wounds he received in the war.

James died in 1958 aged 62 and his wife Mary died in 1992 aged 91 and they are buried together at the Willows Church, Kirkham.

Information and photographs very kindly supplied by James Ball aged 89 years, son of James and Mary Ball (nee Anderton).

Paul McCormick
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