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This article was submitted by Ann, the Gt Niece of Private John H Ball, thank you.

John Henry Ball was born at 42 Skirving Street, Liverpool on 31 August 1893, the son of John Ball (a steamship stoker) and Elizabeth Smith. In his teens, he trained as a butcher. When he joined the Kings Liverpool Regiment in 1913, aged 20, he still lived at home with his parents – along with his six surviving siblings, who’d all moved to a tiny terraced house in Epsom Street, Liverpool.

According to his service record John stayed with the Kings Regt for a while, but transferred to the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire’s as Private 26915 (previously 38538) and was shipped to Etaples in northern France on 21 June 1917. 5 months later, on or around 12th November 1917, he was dead. So far as we know, he died in the Third Battle of Passchendaele after his battalion took mortar shots from the enemy. He’s buried in Passchendaele New British Cemetery, Zonnebekewest-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He was 24 years old.


However, although his date of death is reported to have been 12 November, 1917, his exact place of death isn’t recorded and his name doesn’t appear in the battalion’s war diary; instead, the only reference to deaths in the battalion during that period reads:

“On 30th October (1917) the enemy trench mortared our front line, killing three and wounding nine men – otherwise the tour was quiet and on 1st December we were relieved by the 19th Kings Liverpool Regiment…”

All the family can assume is, as no deaths were recorded on the actual date his record suggests he died, that he was one of the nine injured in the mortar attack, and he died of his wounds some time later. Details of his death appeared in the Liverpool Echo on 8th Dec 1917.


Liverpool Echo on 8th Dec 1917

John was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal and is remembered in the book of Remembrance at the Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool.

His name also appears in the roll of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall.


Liverpool Town Hall

…and on the war memorial at St Anthony’s RC church, Scotland road, Liverpool where he and his family worshiped for several generations and where some of his family still attend.


St Anthony’s RC church, Scotland road, Liverpool

He was my Granddad’s big brother, but he was only 9 when John Henry died and never mentioned him. If there were ever any photographs of him in the family, they no longer survive.

Rank: Private
Service No: 26915
Date of Death: 12/11/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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