Friday, 4 January 2013

On This Day: William Hubert BALL, born 4 Jan 1898

The other day, a cousin of mine asked if I had any biographical information on our grandfather, William Hubert BALL - specifically, his World War One service.  I had a few things, but they were scattered around my many folders, and so had to be drawn together to make a sensible pdf.  (Genealogist's Clue: you may actually have more information than you realise; it's just that when it is separated neatly into several organised-to-within-an-inch-of-their-life folders, you may not have connected the dots).

William Hubert BALL, 4 Jan 1898-19 Apr 1967

William Hubert served in Italy during World War One in the 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1919. "To be awarded the MSM, an individual must have "good, faithful, valuable and meritorious service, with conduct judged to be irreproachable throughout". [Wikipedia]


8th (Service) Battalion, The Devonshire Regiment was raised at Exeter on the 19th of August 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and joined 14th (Light) Division as Divisional Troops.

In May 1915 they left the Division, having completed training, but a lack of ammunition delayed them and it was not until the 26th of July that they proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre.

On the 4th of August 1915 they joined 20th Brigade, 7th Division. They were in action in The Battle of Loos. [One of William Hubert's older brothers, Alfred Eli, was killed on the first day of action]

In 1916 They were in action during the Battles of the Somme, including the capture Mametz, The Battle of Bazentin, the attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont and the Operations on the Ancre.

In 1917 They fought during The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the flanking operations round Bullecourt during The Arras Offensive, before moving to Flanders for the Third Battle of Ypres, seeing action in The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle and The Second Battle of Passchendaele. [Another of William Hubert's brothers, Walter Harold, was killed at the Battle of Arras]

In late 1917 the 7th Division was selected to move to Italy. They took up position in the line along the River Piave,in late January 1918. The Division played a central role in crossing the Piave, in October and the Battle of Vittoria Veneto.
[http://www.wartimememoriesproject.com/greatwar/allied/devonshirergt8-gw.php]

WHB is in the front row, second from the right

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