Private 19327 Harry Ball

 Ball Harry 96 424x600

Killed in Action on Sunday, 23rd July 1916, age 28.
Buried in Grave I. H. 5. at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France.

1st Bn., Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. 95th Brigade of 5th Division.

Son of Jacob and Jane Ball, of 267, Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley Port, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/548760/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Harry Ball registered December quarter 1886 in Dudley.

1901 Census
70 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Ball (51, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Jane (52, born Yorkshire), and their 9 children: Mary A. (25, Stamper at Brickworks, born Tipton), William (23, Labourer at Brickworks, born Derbyshire), Annie (23, born Derbyshire), John (20, Labourer at Brickworks, born Tipton), Alfred (18, Labourer at Brickworks, born Tipton), Henry (15, Labourer at Brickworks, born Tipton), Sarah (13, born Tipton), Eli (11, born Tipton), and Arthur (8, born Tipton).

1911 Census
70 Dudley Port Terrace, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Ball (61, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Jane (61, born Leeds), and 6 of their 11 children: William (33, Labourer, born Derbyshire), John (30, Brickworker, born Tipton), Harry (24, Brickworker, born Tipton), Mrs Sarah Randall (23, born Tipton), Eli (19, Labourer, born Tipton), and Arthur (18, Moulder, born Tipton). Also Sarah Randall's husband Thomas Alfred Randall (24, Iron Worker, born West Bromwich), and their daughter Evelyn Gladys Randall (1, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Harry's brother Eli was killed on 3rd October 1917 whilst serving with the 7th South Staffs at Poelcapelle during the Third Battle of Ypres.

After Harry's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/3/1d (1 pound, 3 shillings and 1 penny); this was paid to his father, Jacob, in May 1917. His War Gratuity was £4/10/0d (4 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his mother, Jane, in October 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Harry had enlisted in approximately May 1915.

Harry's mother, Mrs Jane Ball, was awarded a Dependant's Pension of 12/6d (12 shillings and 6 pence) per week, effective from 22nd May 1917. Her address at this time was 77 Dudley Port, Tipton.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (1/DCLI), was one of 12 Battalions comprising the 5th Division. When the Battle of the Somme began on 1st July 1916, 1/DCLI was in Reserve to the west of Arras, moving towards the Somme battlefield during the middle part of the month.

On 19th July 1916, 1/DCLI moved into the front line near Delville Wood. They had a brutal introduction to the Somme with 1 Officer and 23 Other Ranks killed by shell-fire on the next day. 'A', 'B' and 'D' Companies moved into the Sunken Road leading from Longueval to High Wood (Pont Street), but facing eastwards towards the west edge of Delville Wood.

On 23rd July, 1/DCLI attacked Delville Wood and initially made good headway and captured a strong point. The Germans, however, made fierce counter attacks and forced the battalion to retire to their start point in Pont Street.

Casualties on the day amounted to 3 Officers and 149 Other Ranks killed. This included Harry Ball, like most of his comrades killed that day, Harry has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

For a fuller picture, the War Diary records:
23 July 1916 - Firing Line.
'A', 'B' and 'D' Companies assaulted three strong points at 3.40am.
'D' Company was repulsed with heavy loss, Captain Gent, 2nd Lieutenants Ellery and Ellis were wounded and 2nd Lieutenants Liversedge and Willis were missing and believed killed (Editor: both were killed).
'B' Company reached their objective but as the enemy came round their flanks, they were compelled to retire with heavy loss owing to machine gun fire.
'A' Company also reached their objective but was compelled to retire owing to machine gun fire from the rear and the fact that their flanks were also in the air.
The battalion was relieved at night by the 1st Devons and returned to the trenches in Happy Valley.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 15th January 1918
Previously reported missing, now reported killed.
Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, Ball, 19327, H., (Tipton)