Who's Who - Albert Ball

Albert Ball Captain Albert Ball (1896-1917) was Britain's highest scoring profile fighter pilot during World War One.

Ball, who was born in Nottingham, enlisted with the British Army upon the outbreak of war in August 1914, receiving a commission into the Sherwood Foresters.  In time he sought and received a transfer to the Royal Flying Corps.

Rapidly proving himself a natural fighter pilot - invariably flying French Nieuports, which he constantly tweaked in seek of improved manoeuvrability - Ball, unlike many of his British colleagues, gained widespread public renown for his achievements in the air war.

In general the British authorities were less active in putting their air aces to useful propaganda use than either their allies or the German government.  Ball was an exception.  His penchant for attacking from below (with machine gun tilted upwards) was dangerous but remarkably successful, giving Ball a dashing reputation.

During the course of his 44 victories - generally achieved while flying alone, his preferred mode of operation - Ball was awarded the MC, DSO and Bar.  Following his death on patrol on 7 May 1917 shortly before his twenty-first birthday (a dogfight in which Arthur Rhys Davids was fortunate to emerge a survivor), he was also the posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross.

"Devil Dogs" was the nickname given to the U.S. Marines by the German Army.

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