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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. G E Ball


George Eric Ball was born in 1919 in Tankerton, Kent, a suburb of Whitstable, the son of Frank Frederic Ball and Mary Ball (nee Kenly). They had married in the British-American Church in Petrograd, Russia in January 1915. Apparently Frank Ball was serving with the RNVR there.

GE Ball lived for some time in Broadstairs, then attended Chatham House School, Ramsgate from 1931 to 1934. He was at one time a contemporary of Edward Heath, the future British Prime Minister.

Ball was a candidate for a short service commission when he began his elementary flying training in April 1937. On 17th July he was posted to 7 FTS Peterborough and on completion of the course he joined 19 Squadron at Duxford on 19th February 1938.

Over Dunkirk on 26th May 1940 Ball destroyed a Me109 and was wounded himself. During the night of 18th/19th June he shot down a He111 north of Colchester.

On 24th June 1940 Ball joined 242 Squadron at Coltishall as 'A' Flight Commander. On 30th August he claimed a He111 destroyed, shared another and damaged a Me110, on 7th September he claimed a Me110 destroyed and a Me109 damaged, on the 9th a Me109 destroyed, on the 18th a Ju88 and on the 27th a Me109 damaged.

Ball was awarded the DFC (gazetted 1st October 1940) as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.




Posted from 242 on 29th January 1941, he joined 73 Squadron in the Western Desert as a Flight Commander. On 11th April 1941, very soon after his arrival, Ball flew into a sandstorm and was forced down and taken prisoner in Hurricane V7716 (below).



After his release at the end of the war he married Renee Nina Gardner in April 1945 at Bridge, Kent.

Ball was given command of 222 Squadron at Fairwood Common in October 1945.

He was killed aged 27 in a flying accident on 1st February 1946 when Meteor III EE448 failed to recover from a spiral dive during an aerobatic practice near Fairmile in Devon.

He is buried in Exeter Higher Cemetery.





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