Edward James Ball

Memorial: Marshfield - High Street

Regiment: Canadian Infantry

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Private 418724

Parents: William and Harriett Ball

Marital status: Single

Home address: Ringswell, Marshfield, Glos

Pre-war occupation: Shipping Company in Montreal, Canada

Date of birth: 1894

Place of birth: Marshfield, Glos

Date of death: 16/09/1916

Buried/Commemorated at: Contay British Cemetery (Ref II. B. 25.), Somme, France

Age: 21

Further information:

Edward James Ball was the son of William and Harriett Ball, who lived in one of the cottages at Ringswell, Marshfield. He emigrated to Canada aged 18 in 1912 and found work in Montreal with a shipping company. He volunteered in April 1915 to join the Canadian army and after training he joined one of the crack infantry regiments of Canada, the 42nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry Regiment, also known as the 5th Royal Highlanders of Canada

The Regiment arrived in France but initially saw little action. That changed in March 1916 when the 42nd were transferred to Poperhinge in the Ypres Salient. By now aggressive sniper fire was adding to the discomfiture of the Canadians. After two months the 42nd were given an opportunity at Hooge. Their neighbouring regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry was nearly surrounded and the 42nd launched a successful counter attack although at the cost of heavy casualties.
After five months in the Ypres Salient the Canadians were switched to the Somme where the terrible slaughter which started on 1st July still continued unabated. On 16th September Private Ball and his comrades assembled in low ground on a sunken road as an artillery barrage fired over their heads at the German trenches at Courcelette. At 16.55, just before the barrage lifted the Canadians attacked, leaping out of their assembly areas to charge 450 yards to the enemy. Immediately the 42nd could see that little damage had been inflicted by the artillery barrage and the Germans were standing almost shoulder to shoulder firing at the charging Canadians. They had not gone 100 yards before half the regiment were casualties, including Private Ball who was killed. Only 25% of the regiment returned without injury. Edward James Ball is remembered at the Contay British Cemetery (Ref II. B. 25.), Contay, Somme, France

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC