86 Thomas Ball
86 Thomas Ball was born in 1887 in Hammersmith London, England, the eldest son of Edward and Mary Ball. He had three brothers , Henry, Alfred and George.
Thomas attended the Flora Gardens Board School in Hammersmith. His father was once a groom (horse keeper) and later a caterer and coffer stall holder. His father had passed away and when Thomas was 24 years old he took over his fathers coffee stall.
At 26 years of age he journeyed to Australia and settled at Peak Hill near Dubbo in New South Wales and found employment as a plate layer with the railways.
When he was 27 he enlisted with the 1st Field Company on the 21st August 1914. His brother Henry also enlisted later in 1916 with the 13th Battalion.
Thomas was at Gallipoli up to the 15th Sept 1915 and then transferred with an injured back to Egypt to convalesce.
At some point Thomas cracked,……unsure what provoked him ………. What happened on the night of the 12th December 1915
A Court Martial, 7 January 1916
(1) when on active service striking his superior officer, in that he at Ghezireh Camp on night of 12 December 1915 about 10.20 pm, struck Lance Corporal J. Lewis in the face, while acting as M.P. Corporal at Overseas Base , who at the time was in command of an escort taking him to guard tent.
(2) using insubordinate language to a superior officer in that he at Ghezireh Camp about 10.20 pm on 12 December 1915 said to Sergeant W. Bonnet acting as Provost Sergeant at Overseas Base:
“Oh Military Police we all know what they are a bunch of cold-footed Bastards. You never find them in the firing line. I’ll be even with you though. I will wait for you in the dark” and to Lance Corporal Lewis he said……“as for you, you Jew faced bastard I will be even with you” or words to that effect.
Tom Ball was found guilty and awarded 62 days detention and was transferred to the Citadel on the 19 January 1916.
On the 14th march 1916 Thomas rejoined the unit at Serapeum. two weeks later the unit joined British Expeditionary Force and disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 March 1916.
Thomas must have had some redeeming qualities as he was given a second chance to get a handle on things. Three months after serving his detention for insubordination and assaulting an officer he was promoted to Lance corporal a few days after disembarking at Marseilles France on the 28th March 1916.
It may have settled Tom down for a while because he managed to stay out of trouble for a year and then while on active service he was found guilty of drunkenness in April 1917 and was reduced back to rank of sapper.
In July 1917 Thomas’s mother Mary had made enquiries about Henry who was missing in action. She would later receive the news that he was a prisoner of war.
On the 17th September 1917 Major Dyer reported that L/Cpl Donald Clark had been killed in action and 86 Thomas Ball had been wounded.
Thomas had a shrapnel wound to his left buttock which penetrated his abdomen, he later died at the second Canadian casualty clearing station on the 18th Sept 1917.
He was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Lijssenthoek, Flanders, the following is a link to the location of his grave in Belgium.