Frank Orman BALL MID

Badge Number: S19673, Sub Branch: Victor Harbor
S19673

BALL, Frank Orman

Service Number: 19616
Enlisted: 4 August 1915
Last Rank: Bombardier
Last Unit: 8th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Smithfield, SA, 18 March 1896
Home Town: Port Adelaide, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Gladstone High School
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Natural Causes, Victor Harbor, Fleurieu Peninsula - South Australia, Australia, 22 April 1984, aged 88 years
Cemetery: North Road Cemetery, Nailsworth, S.A.
Memorials: Gawler HB1* WW1, GladstoneHB1*
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World War 1 Service

4 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 19616, Field Artillery Brigades
20 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '4' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Medic embarkation_ship_number: A7 public_note: ''
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , Messines
30 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , Third Ypres
24 Sep 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Bombardier, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , Menin Road, Evacuated to the UK for treatment and rehabilitation variously at City of London Military Hospital, Clapton 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, and a convalescent camp at No. 4 Command Depot at Hurdcott, Salisbury Plain, before a posting to the Artillery Signals School at Heytesbury, Wiltshire.
18 Jun 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Bombardier, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"
4 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Bombardier, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , Le Hamel - Blueprint for Victory
8 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Bombardier, SN 19616, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , "The Last Hundred Days"

A peerless collection of letters cards and ephemera compiled by Frank Ball his mother records one soldiers war

Frank Ball's grandson Rob has compiled and transcribed an absolutely remarkable collection of letters, postcards, photographs, records and ephemera that collectively document an era that is hard for most people today to imagine that tell the story of Frank Ball his family and his mates at the Front.

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Father and father-in-law of Pam and Tony, Peter and Val
other_family: Brother of Ida also the late Hilda, George, Charles and Rene

Grandfather of Robert and Anne, Margaret, Craig, Michael, Graham and David

Great-grandfather of Christopher and Eliza

Biography

Corporal Frank Orman BALL, 29th Battery 8th FIeld Artillery Brigade

Corporal, №19616, Left Section, 29th Battery, 8th Field Artillery Brigade. Son of Charles and Eliza ‘Lylie’ Ball (Nee Jenilins) of the Post Office of Port Adelaide. Born 18 March 1896 at Smithfield, South Australia. Frank was a 19-year-old clerk with the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) when he enlisted on 4 August 1915 at Keswick, South Australia. He was 5 ft 10¼ in and 147 lbs with a fair complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. His religious denomination was Church of England. More than four years later, his discharge certificate noted that his eyes were grey, his hair fair and his height was 6ft.

He served in the Senior Cadets and Australian Citizens’ Forces 28th Engineers Signallers before joining the AIF. After enlisting, he trained as a Private in the artillery and signals at
Mitcham, South Australia, and Maribyrnong, Victoria. He was made Gunner on 16 November 1915, posted to the AIF Signals School (Maribyrnong) on 31 January 1916, to the
Field Artillery Reinforcements on 2 March 1916 and then, on 1 April 1916, to the newly formed 29th Battery of the 8th Field Artillery Brigade.

Frank left Port Melbourne aboard the HMAT Medic (A7) on 20 May 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth, England, on 18 July 1916. The Battery underwent training at various camps and
schools on Salisbury Plain at Wyke Regis, Weymouth and Larkhill. Frank was promoted to temporary Bombardier on 24 November 1916.

The 29th Battery proceeded to France on 30 December 1916 as part of the 3rd Division AIF. Frank saw active service along the French-Belgian border at or near Armentières, Houplines,
Bailleul, Ploegsteert Wood, Messines, Warneton, Zonnebeke, Steenwerck, Ypres and Passchendaele. He was mentioned in dispatches after action near Armentières: “Bbdr. Ball
F.O.: on 19 Feby 1917 when acting as telephonist to F.O.O. [Forward Observation Officer] in Front Line Trench, he stuck to his post during a heavy retaliation of shell fire by the enemy,
many of the shells falling within a few yards of him. By so doing, he enabled the fire of his Battery to be kept up.”

His rank of Bombardier was confirmed upon his promotion to temporary Corporal after the death from wounds of Corporal Charles Stanley Robinson at Ploegsteert Wood on 15 June
1917. The promotion to Corporal was confirmed later that day. Frank was among seven Battery staff gassed as they sheltered overnight in a dugout at Hooge Crater on the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium, 24 September 1917, in the Battle of Passchendaele. A gas shell hit the dugout. The 6th Field Ambulance took the seven to a dressing station, which also was shelled, so they were sent on to the next station and then another before reaching the 3rd Canadian Casual Clearing Station by rail in open trucks.

From there, an ambulance train took them to the United States 9th General Hospital, Rouen. Frank was blinded for several days. Besides Frank, the seven gassed included Reg Mason
and Ern Collett, both of whom died, Norm Martin and A.P. Chauney. On 9 October 1917, Frank was evacuated by the ‘Western Australian’ down the River Seine to Le Havre and then to England and the City of London Military Hospital, Clapton. He also was a patient at the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, and a convalescent camp at No. 4 Command Depot at Hurdcott, Salisbury Plain, before a posting to the Artillery Signals School at Heytesbury, Wiltshire.

Two offences were recorded against Frank in March 1918, when he was based at Hurdcott Camp, Salisbury Plain. The first was on 16 March when he was charged by Military Police in Wilton with neglecting to obey orders for the “dress” award. According to Frank in a letter to his mother, he had failed to have the chinstrap of his slouch hat in place. He was admonished by Lt. Col. D.S. Wanliss [sic]. Then, on 23 March, he was charged with being Absent Without Leave for two days from 10pm 19 March to 8.45pm 21 March. The same Lt. Col. Wanliss dismissed the charge. While the charge was dismissed on 26 March after the Colonel had sought verification from a doctor of Frank’s claim that he was ill and unable to return from leave. While on charge, Frank was under open arrest at the Hurdcott Camp but that didn’t stop him travelling into Salisbury for weekends.

Frank returned to the Battery on the Somme on 18 June 1918. Of those gassed, only Frank returned to action. The Battery was a part of the first deployment of Australian troops as one
force in some of the most decisive battles of the war. The Battery saw active service and was “parked” variously at or near Villers Bretonneux, Vaux-sur-Somme, Cerisy, Hamel, Susan
Wood, Pozieres, Fouilloy, Mericourt, Clery-sur-Somme, Curlu, Vaux Wood, Ceylon Wood, Bray-sur-Somme, Hem, St Quentin, Peronne, Hargicourt, Bony, the Hindenburg Line,
Hamelet Templeau le Guerard, St Quentin Canal, Bellicourt, Wiancourt, Brancourt, Le Cateau, Proqartwood, St Martin Riviere, St Loupplet, Basene and La Vallee Mulatre. They
were out of the line at Brancourt when the Armistice was signed.

Following the Armistice, the 29th Battery stayed in France and Belgium until May 1919 because of the shortage of ships to repatriate the AIF. Frank and the rest of the battery were
billeted with local families in Brancourt, Hautmont, Lille, Thuillies, Cousolre, Lobbes, Anderleus and Charleroi.

Frank returned to England from Le Havre to Southampton on the S.S. Aberdonian on 7 May 1919. He was based at Parkhouse, Codford and Sutton Veny and travelled widely through
Scotland, England and Ireland before returning home. Some of his travelling was in the company of his cousin, Roy McPherson, also in England with the AIF and a younger brother
of Allan McPherson, with whom Frank and another friend, Stan Whiting, had enlisted in 1915.

Frank left England from Avonmouth, near Bristol, on 23 July 1919 aboard the S.S. Suevic, arriving back in Australia on 6 September 1919. He was discharged from the AIF on 23
October 1919 after four years and 81 days of service, three years and 111 days of which was abroad. He was paid ₤587/13/4 for his four years of war service.

After a reunion with his mother and father at Port Lincoln, to where Charles had been appointed Postmaster shortly before the end of the war, Frank returned to work at the Bank of New South Wales. Frank and Eleanor (Ella) Annie Martin, whom he met after the war, married on 9 July 1924 at the Baptist Church, Semaphore. Frank worked in Adelaide, regional Victoria including Boort and Benalla and then in metropolitan Melbourne at the Preston Branch. He and Ella lived in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern. Their first child, Pamela Joy, was born in Malvern on 3 September 1926. Frank and Ella moved back to South Australia in 1928.

They went farming at Maryvale, near Bugle Ranges in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, and a son, Peter Orman, was born on 18 September 1929 in Adelaide. Ella died suddenly on 16 December 1931. One of Frank’s older sisters, Ida, came to Maryvale to help raise the children. Frank, Ida, Pam and Peter moved to Woongarra, near Milang, in 1935, from where Frank and Ida retired to Adare Heights, Victor Harbor, in 1959.

Frank died on 22 April 1984 at Victor Harbor.

Submitted by Rob Ball  - Frank's Grandson

 

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