Son of Mr. Arthur Ball and Mrs. Maria Ball, of 10, Kelsall Street, Congleton, Cheshire and 37, Thomas Street, Congleton, Cheshire. In 1911, he was employed as a Shop Assistant by Mr. Tom Davenport, General Outfitters, High Street, Congleton.
Private Arthur Ball enlisted in The Border Regiment (The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) at Carlisle when he was 20 years of age on the 23rd of July 1915 and went through his preliminary training at Shorburyness. So seriously did he attend to the instructions of those whose duty it was to train these soldiers in embryo that he was soon considered fit for service overseas and arrived in France on the 17th of December 1915, where he was posted to the 2nd Battalion.
In May 1916 he was wounded for the first time after recuperating he was again sent up the line and was wounded for a second time on July 14th, being invalided home on the 20th of July 1916 and was treated at the Military Hospital, near Manchester. He was then transferred to the 3rd Battalion and posted to the Base Depot. He was granted leave from the 25th of July to the 3rd of August 1916 when he spent some time in Congleton before embarking for France from Crosby for the second time on April the 24th 1917 when he was posted to the 7th Battalion. The7thBattalion, the Border Regiment who were part of the 51st Infantry Brigade, 17th Division, on the 25th of March 1918, they were situated at Contalmaison overlooking Happy Valley, at 11:00 hours the British artillery put down a shrapnel barrage which was short and caused all the companies to fall back to a ridge overlooking High Wood. During the retirement the companies became scattered and the position was manned by the Brigade and the 22nd Battalion, the Queen's London Regiment. At 17:30 hours the position was changed to the high ground around Fricourt Wood. The Division evacuated this position at 03:45 hours and concentrated at Henencourt as Corps Reserve. The Battalion withdrew and marched to Henencourt via Hebuterne and Millencourt where they received hot food. Owing to a threatened attack by the enemy on Hebuterne, the Battalion marched to Senlis and then to Millencourt where they took up position outside the village. The night passed without incident. The Battalion remained in position all day on the 27th even though they were shelled regularly, at about 10:45 hours, they took over the line from the Suffolk Regiment in the early morning of the 28th. The rest of the day was quite normal except the enemy artillery were quite active. Early in the morning of the 29th the enemy raided, and reoccupied two forward posts held by "C" Company, they were immediately dislodged by a counter-attack in which 1 Officer and about 50 Other Ranks were accounted for as well as 2 prisoners taken. The Battalion was relieved by the Manchester Regiment at about 10:00 hours and they marched to their billets in Henencourt. The 30th of March saw the Battalion in Divisional Reserve followed on the 31st by being relieved in the right front sector by the 6th Battalion the Dorset Regiment. On the 1st of April, the Battalion was holding the line from Bouzincourt to Albert Road until relieved by the 5th Battalion the Royal Berkshire Regiment the same night. They then marched to Warloy via Bouzincourt-Senlis where they spent the following day cleaning up and bathing. At 09:30 hours on the 4th, the Battalion and transport moved by road to Plesselle via Conta, Beaucourt and Molliens-Au-Bois. During these events, Private Arthur Ball received the wounds to his neck from which he later died in the 3rd Canadian Clearing Station at Doullens.
Extract from The Congleton Chronicle 1918
Many were the sights, sights well calculated to stir the feelings of the most unemotional, this brave young man saw on the blood sodden fields that comprised the area designated The Front, many were the fierce encounters he had with the enemy. He saw brave and gallant Sons of Britain maimed and broken, saw others make the Supreme Sacrifice. Now he lies buried in a soldiers grave and his many friends in Congleton will experience a deep feeling of sadness that one who had done so much should be called to his long home, while his comrades in the ranks will experience a yet deeper feeling of sadness that when the war clouds have cleared they will leave behind, one of the best. The thought that he will no more behold the valleys and hills held with the life blood of the noblest and best will make a lasting impression on the minds of his comrades who knew him best and recognised his sterling worth. In common with all brave lads, he was most reticent as to what he had gone through, as the following letter (The last he ever wrote) will testify.
Just a few lines in answer to your ever-welcome letters. I am still well, although we have gone through something of late. Please excuse so short a letter for I have only a few minutes to spare. I will close now with fondest love.
I remain, Your loving son, Arthur.
Private Ball was a cousin of Lance Corporal Walter Ball, who was killed in action on the 24th of March 1918.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Arthur.