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6 November 2017
Pilot – Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF

 

Pilot, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF, later in 462 Squadron.

 

 

 

Pilot, P/O Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF, while based at 1652 H.C.U., Marston Moor, Yorkshire, late 1944. He was promoted to Flying Officer on 14 February 1945.

Alf's Service History
Alf's Casualty History
Alf's Headstone inscription and CWGC record
Alf's Badges and Medals
Alf's Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour record
Ball Family Genealogy
Connections with Air Gunner M.J.Hibberd

 

Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF, at enlistment, later in 462 Squadron (NAA photo).
Photo from the National Archives of Australia: A9300, 427182

 

 

 

 

Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF, at enlistment and still in civilian clothes, height about 5 feet 9½ inches.

(Photo – NAA Service File).

 

Pilot, Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182, RAAF, with Pilot's Wings before his promotion to Officer, later in 462 Squadron (AWM photo).
Photo from the Australian War Memorial: P05102.001

 

 

Photo P05102.001 used with permission of Australian War Memorial.

Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 – Studio portrait most likely taken soon after he attained his Pilot's wings, but before promotion to rank of Pilot Officer. Sergeant's stripes can be seen on his right sleeve.

The photo was donated to the A.W.M. by D.Laing – could D.Laing (or friend or family) please make contact.

For more photos of this Officer, please use links on the Locations page, or by going direct to the pages for 27 O.T.U. Church Broughton, 1652 H.C.U. Marston Moor, and 462 Squadron Foulsham (Pilots March 1945).

 

AC2 Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron.

 

 

 

 

AC2 Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron. Photo taken somewhere in Adelaide, actual location unknown, but appears to be in or near a walled garden.

Alf is wearing summer uniform. He was promoted from AC2 to LAC on 2 January 1943 while posted at 5 ITS Clontarf WA. He was then posted to 1 EFTS Parafield SA on 7 January 1943, and posted to 7 SFTS Deniliquin NSW on 13 March 1943. From this sequence of events, it was concluded that the photo was probably taken in early 1943.

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson.)

 

AC2 Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron; with Jennifer Constance Little.

AC2 Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron; with Jennifer Constance LITTLE of Adelaide.

This photo was probably taken at the same time and location as the one above of Alf (i.e. Adelaide, SA, early 1943).

Jennifer LITTLE later became Alf's fiancée, and his Service Record was amended on 17 October 1944 to include Jennifer's name as his fiancée.

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson.)

 

AC2 Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron; with Jennifer Constance Little.

 

AC2 Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron; with Jennifer Constance LITTLE (later Alf's fiancée) of Adelaide.

This photo is also assumed to have been taken in early 1943, while Alf was posted to 1 EFTS Parafield SA. The main building in the background is distinctive, and has been identified as the Glenelg Town Hall. The photo was taken in Moseley Square, between the Town Hall and the beach. Moseley Square has been modernized, but the external features of the Town Hall remain virtually unchanged.

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson; location identified by C. Ball.)

 

 

Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, with crew members Rear Gunner M.J.Hibberd, Navigator N.V.Evans, Mid-Upper Gunner J.M.Tait, Wireless Operator R.R.Taylor, probably at 27 OTU, Church Broughton, August 1944. All were later in 462 Squadron.

 

 

 

The location for this photo was probably 27 OTU Church Broughton, near Derby, UK, and most likely at the same time as the crew photo (from the M.J.Hibberd collection) included on the 27 OTU page. A similar photo, with known date of August 1944, is included on the R.R.Taylor page.

P/O Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF, back centre;
Rear Gunner Sgt M.J.Hibberd, back left;
Navigator Sgt N.V.Evans back right;
Mid-Upper Gunner Sgt J.M.Tait, front left;
Wireless Operator F/Sgt R.R.Taylor front right.
Bomb Aimer P/O M.Frank, not included, may have been taking the photo.
(Rank for each as at August 1944)

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson.)

 

Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron, with unidentified officer/airman.

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF, on left.

Location, date and circumstances of photo are unknown, as is the identity of the horse.

The second officer/airman, whose flying badge and rank are not in view, is unidentified. If anyone recognizes him, please make contact.

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson.)

 

F/Sgt Alfred Desmond John Ball,  427182 RAAF, later in 462 Squadron, with unidentified Pilots, at a castle somewhere in the UK, 1944.

Alf Ball and Jim Townley had trained together as Pilots.
Max Hibberd and Bob Wilson had trained together as Gunners. By a strange twist of fate, Hibberd later crewed as Rear Gunner with Pilot Alf Ball (462 Squadron), and Wilson as MU/AG with Pilot Jim Townley, 463 Squadron, flying in Lancasters.

 

From left: 1. Pilot F/Sgt Alfred Desmond John BALL, 427182 RAAF;
2. Pilot F/Sgt name not currently known; 3. Pilot F/Sgt name not currently known; (If anyone recognizes either, please make contact.)
4. F/Sgt Jim Townley, a good friend of Alf's, who visited the Ball family in Perth after the war. He served as a Lancaster pilot. Hubert James Townley, 427271 RAAF, birth date 18 March 1922, enlisted 15 June 1942 (3 weeks after Alf Ball), discharged as Flying Officer on 11 March 1946, from Mosman Park, Perth, WA. (Jim's identification verified by his nephew Christopher.)

Location and circumstances of photo are unknown, but it appears to be on the parapet of a castle, so is most likely somewhere in the UK. Based on Alf's rank, the timeline was between 29 January 1944 and 14 August 1944. Photo was possibly taken during Alf's known leave in early March, or perhaps later (April/May) during his posting to 14 (P) A.F.U., Dallachy, in Moray, Scotland.

(Photo from the Alf Ball Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of D. Dawson.)

 

P/O Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, in the Pilot's seat of a Halifax at 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, Yorkshire, January 1945, later in 462 Squadron.

 

 

Close-up of P/O A.D.J.Ball 427182 RAAF in the cockpit of a Halifax, 1652 HCU  Marston Moor, Yorkshire, January 1945, later in 462 Squadron.

At left – P/O Alfred Desmond John Ball, 427182 RAAF, in the Pilot's seat of a Halifax at 1652 HCU, Marston Moor, Yorkshire, January 1945.
Above – close-up of Alf in the cockpit, enlarged from the original.

From the log book of Rear Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd, eleven training flights were undertaken during January 1945. The eight day flight exercises in sequence were:- circuits (x2); bombing and A/S firing (x2); fighter affiliation (x1); fighter affiliation and A/S firing (x1); cross country (x1); and Radar cross country (x1); total 17 hours 55 minutes. The last three were night flights, all circuits, total 4 hours 30 minutes. All aircraft were Halifax III, with the following numbers H, R, T, W, G, R, N, S, R, W, A.

(Photo from the R.R.Taylor Collection, supplied by and used with the permission of R.J.Montgomery.)
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Information from WW2 Nominal Roll website
Name – Alfred Desmond John BALL
Service – Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number – 427182
Date of Birth – 11 April 1924
Place of Birth – Perth, Western Australia
Date of Enlistment – 25 May 1942
Place of Enlistment – Perth, WA
Next of Kin – Frederick Ball
Date of Death – 10 April 1945
Rank – Flying Officer
Posting at Death – 462 Squadron
Roll of Honour – Perth, WA

From the National Archives of Australia – Service File, Series A9300; Casualty File, Series A705; Loss of Aircraft File, Series A11385; 462 Squadron ORBs “Form 540 Summary of Events” and “Form 541 Detail of Work Carried Out”. Service File records sometimes vary by date – any discrepancies are recorded below. (Comments & corrections are bracketed in italics.) Various documents have been quoted in full because the quality of the original digital copies precludes their reproduction here. Some information has also been taken from M.J.Hibberd’s personal papers held by his Widow.

5 January 1942 – Enrolled in RAAF Air Training Corps. (A.T.C.) 5 Wing H.Q. Perth Western Australia (WA); A.T.C. Service Number 35160; date of birth 11 April 1924; age 17 years (& 9 months); Single; Next of Kin F.A.Ball, Parent, 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, WA.
5 January 1942 – Posting to 75 Squadron, No 5 Wing, A.T.C.
5 January 1942 – Classification Cadet, A.T.C. 5 Wing.
2 May 1942 – Re-classification to Corporal, A.T.C. 5 Wing.
25 May 1942 – Enrolment terminated, Movement to RAAF.

3 February 1942 – Medical Certificate completed and signed by Examining Medical Officer. Age 17 years & 10 months; height 5 feet 10 ¾ inches; chest 34/37½ inches with expansion of 3½ inches; weight 148 lb (10 stone 8 lb or 67.1 kg); vision 6/6 both eyes; Vaccination marks nil; Scars nil; Complexion Medium; Eye colour Hazel; Hair colour Brown; Medical Classification A1B A3B.

11 April 1942 – Enrolment in RAAF Reserve (his 18th birthday) date of birth 11 April 1924; Single; British Subject; Born in Perth WA; Religion Church of England; Currently belonging to Air Training Corps; Current Profession Junior Clerk; No Civil convictions; No dismissal from any part of His Majesty’s Service; Current Residential Address 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, WA.; Current Business Address Chief Secretary’s Office, 57 Murray St., Perth WA. Oath to Serve in Air Force Reserve signed at No. 4 Recruiting Centre Perth, WA on 11 April 1942.

25 May 1942 – Enlistment in RAAF Citizen Air Force, No. 4 Recruiting Centre (4 R.C.) WA, aged 18 years 1 month; details similar to those at enrolment in RAAF Reserve – profession Junior Clerk, no Apprenticeship; single, no Civil convictions; no discharge from any Services for misconduct or felony or disgrace; no rejections from any Services as unfit; willing to serve under conditions in regulations of Air Force. He answered ‘No’ to question asking if he currently belonged to any Service including Air Force, and also ‘No’ to question asking if had ever served in any Service including Air Force. Maybe these 2 answers should have been ‘Yes’ due to his A.T.C. and RAAF Reserve service, but the Attesting Officer either did not notice or did not count this as Service. Enlisted for the duration of the War and twelve months thereafter. Signed on 25 May 1942 at No. 4 Recruiting Centre, Perth, WA by A.D.J.Ball and the Attesting Officer. Appointed to No.4 Recruit Depot, Pearce, WA. On a later document dated 17 October 1944, his Education was noted as being Perth Boys School; then Senior Tech School, University of Western Australia Junior Certificate; and an Accountancy & Secretarial Course.
25 May 1942 – Medical Certificate completed and signed by Senr. Medical Officer at No. 4 Recruiting Centre, Perth. Age 18 years & 1 month; height 5 feet 10 ¾ inches; chest 34/37½ inches with expansion of 3½ inches; weight 148 lb (10 stone 8 lb or 67.1 kg); vision 6/6 both eyes; Complexion Medium; Eye colour Hazel; Hair colour Brown; Scars – Acne Scars (recent) back & chest. Medical Classification A1B A3B. (The details are almost identical to those of the Medical Examination on 3 February 1942.)

25 May 1942 – Posting to No.4 Recruit Depot (4 R.D.), Pearce, WA from No. 4 R.C.
25 May 1942 – Classification Air Craftman 2 (A.C.2 or A.C.II) on enlistment.
25 May 1942 – Mustering Air Crew V (Guard) on enlistment.
25 May 1942 – Recruit Drill Course No. P159 at 4 R.D. until 14 June 1942 – Pass.

13 June 1942 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 4 R.D., Pearce, WA.

14 June 1942 – Posting to No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School (9 E.F.T.S.) Cunderdin, WA (another entry lists date as 15 June 1942)

30 July 1942 – Assessment at Rank A.C.2, Mustering Aircrew V Guard – Character V.G., Under Training.
30 July 1942 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O (Adjutant), RAAF Cunderdin, WA.

31 July 1942 – Posting to No. 5 Embarkation Depot (5 E.D.), Fremantle, WA.

18 August 1942 – Assessment at Rank A.C.2, Mustering Aircrew V Guard – Character V.G., Under Training.
18 August 1942 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by Adjutant, 5 E.D. Perth, WA.

18 August 1942 – Posting to No. 4 Service Flying Training School (4 S.F.T.S.), Geraldton, WA.

8 October 1942 – Assessment at Rank A.C.2, Mustering Aircrew V Guard – Character V.G., Skill – Satisfactory.
8 October 1942 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O (Adjutant), 4 S.F.T.S. Geraldton, WA.

11 October 1942 – Posting to No. 5 Initial Training School (5 I.T.S.), Clontarf, WA.

1 December 1942 – Remustered as Air Crew V (P) at 5 I.T.S. Clontarf, WA.

30 December 1942 – Assessment at Rank A.C.2, Mustering Aircrew V (P) – Character V.G., Under Training.
30 December 1942 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O (Adjutant), No. 5 I.T.S. Clontarf, WA.

2 January 1943 – Remustered as Air Crew II (P).
2 January 1943 – Promoted to Leading Air Craftman (L.A.C.).

7 January 1943 – Posting to No. 1 E.F.T.S., Parafield, South Australia (SA).

9 March 1943 – Assessment at Rank LAC, Mustering Aircrew II (P) – Character V.G., Under Training.
10 March 1943 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 1 E.F.T.S. Parafield SA.

13 March 1943 – Posting to 7 S.F.T.S. Deniliquin, New South Wales (NSW).

13 April 1943 – Pilot Course No. 33 at 7 S.F.T.S. until 2 June 1943 – Pass.

8 June 1943 – Pilot Advanced Course No. 33 at 7 S.F.T.S. until 29 July 1943 – Pass.

28 July 1943 – Awarded Flying Badge at 7 S.F.T.S.
29 July 1943 – Promoted to Sergeant at 7 S.F.T.S.
29 July 1943 – Remustered Airman Pilot I at 7 S.F.T.S.
29 July 1943 – Assessment at Rank Sgt, Mustering Airman Pilot – Character V.G., Under Training.
29 July 1943 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O (Adjutant), No. 7 S.F.T.S. Deniliquin, NSW.

30 July 1943 – Posting to 5 E.D. (possible error in file? See entry for 16 August 1943).

10 August 1943 – Service Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O, for Officer in Charge of Records, RAAF.

16 August 1943 – Posting to 5 E.D., Subiaco, Perth WA (Another entry lists date as 30 July 1943)

31 August 1943 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 5 E.D.

3 September 1943 – Posting to No. 1 E.D. Ascot Vale, Melbourne Victoria (Vic).

7 September 1943 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 1 E.D., Ascot Vale, Vic.

8 September 1943 – Posting to No. 2 E.D., Bradfield Park, Sydney NSW.

10 September 1943 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 2 E.D., Bradfield Park, Sydney NSW.
10 September 1943 – Posting to O.S.H.Q. (UK).

12 September 1943 – Embarked at Brisbane Queensland for the UK.

19 October 1943 – Disembarked UK.
19 October 1943 – Attachment to RAF.

20 October 1943 – Posting to No. 11 Personnel Despatch & Reception Centre (11 P.D.R.C.), Brighton UK (another entry lists date as 19 October 1943).

4 November 1943 – Privilege leave, 7 days to 10 November 1943, 11 P.D.R.C.

18 December 1943 – Privilege leave, 7 days, plus 48 hours, to 26 December 1943, 11 P.D.R.C.

29 December 1943 – Attachment to Air Crew N.C.O. School (Non Commissioned Officer School?) until 25 January 1944.
29 December 1943 – Air Crew N.C.O. Course, 11 P.D.R.C. until 15 January 1944 (Result obliterated by large ink blot but assumed to have ‘Passed’.)
31 December 1943 – Assessment at Rank Sgt, Mustering Airman Pilot – Character V.G., Under Training.

29 January 1944 – Promotion to Flight Sergeant at 11 P.D.R.C.

14 February 1944 – Attachment to HQ No. 50 Group until 3 March 1944.

7 March 1944 – Privilege leave, 5 days to 11 March 1944, 11 P.D.R.C.

21 March 1944 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by P/O (Adjutant), 11 P.D.R.C.

21 March 1944 – Posting to No. 14 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit (14 (P) A.F.U.), Dallachy, east of Elgin in Moray, Scotland, training in Airspeed Oxford aircraft.

5 April 1944 – Attachment to RAF Dallachy, Moray, Scotland, until 25 May 1944.

6 June 1944 – Assessment at Rank F/Sgt, Mustering Pilot – Character V.G., On strength for training only.
6 June 1944 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by Adjutant, 14 (P) A.F.U.

6 June 1944 – Posting to No. 27 Operational Training Unit (27 O.T.U.) Lichfield; 6-man Crew formed, training in Wellington Bombers (please see photos on 27 O.T.U. page).

13 August 1944 – Assessment at Rank F/Sgt, Mustering Pilot – Character V.G., Skill – Superior; Ability – Superior; Recommended for promotion/reclassification.
13 August 1944 – Discharged from the RAAF “On being granted a Commission” to the General Duties (G.D.) Branch of the RAAF.

14 August 1944 – Commissioned to rank of Pilot Officer (Pilot), General Duties Branch, for the duration of the War plus 12 months, 41 Base.

16 August 1944 – Interviewed by A.O.C. 93 Group, Recommended to a Commission G.D. Branch effective on this date. (Entry appears to be incorrectly dated).

25 August 1944 – Assessment at Rank F/Sgt, Mustering Pilot – Character V.G., On strength for training only.
25 August 1944 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by W/O (Adjutant), 27 O.T.U. Lichfield.
25 August 1944 – Attachment to Air Crew Training School.

25 August 1944 – Posting to 41 Base, Acaster Malbis, Yorkshire UK (same date as posting of M.J.Hibberd, and the other members of the newly formed Crew).

15 October 1944 – Movement to 41 Base on Appointment as Officer.

17 October 1944 – Officer’s documentation commenced, with some additional information. Next of kin listed as Father at same address as at enlistment; Fiancée Miss J. Little at same address as at enlistment; An additional person to be informed of Casualty was Mr J. Dixon, 18 Ravenscourt Pk. Mans., Hammersmith, London. The Education & Training section of the document was stamped E.A.T.S. AUSTRALIA (Empire Air Training Scheme). Also included but not in previous documents –  Education at Perth Boys School; Senior Tech School, University of Western Australia Junior Certificate; Accountancy & Secretarial Course. (Family information is that the Dixon family was not related to the Ball family, but had an "open house" to Service personnel, including Alf Ball.)

19 October 1944 – Privilege leave, 5 days to 23 October 1944.

21 October 1944 – Admission to Hospital S.S.Q. (S.S.Q. = Squadron Sick Quarters?).

24 October 1944 – Transferred from S.S.Q. to RAF Hospital at Northallerton, discharged 29 November 1944 to 74 Base 1652 H.C.U. Marston Moor, Yorkshire UK.

24 October 1944 – General Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by F/O (Adjutant), RAF Marston Moor.

7 November 1944 – Posting to 74 Base, No. 1652 Heavy Conversion Unit (1652 H.C.U.), Marston Moor, Yorkshire, UK training in Halifax Bombers (undated in file but assumed to be the same date as posting of M.J.Hibberd and the other members of the Crew – please see photos on 1652 H.C.U. page).

28 November 1944 – “Pneumonia” from 21 October 1944, Medical Board at Northallerton, classification A1B, to proceed on sick leave for 10 days (entry unclear as to total length of this illness but at least 5½ weeks in hospital from 21 October to 29 November.)

29 November 1944 – Discharged from RAF Hospital Northallerton to 74 Base 1652 H.C.U. (Marston Moor).

14 February 1945 – Promotion to Rank of Flying Officer, under authority of O.H.Q.

16 February 1945 – Posting to 462 Squadron, 100 Group, Bomber Command based at Foulsham Norfolk UK for Operations. (Same date as posting of M.J.Hibberd and the other members of the Crew, who were assigned to ‘B’ Flight for this First Tour of Duty. 462 Squadron was a Special Duties Squadron carrying out Radio Counter Measures, flying in Halifax III Bombers modified for carrying special equipment. Special Duties Officers were assigned to each operational flight to form a Crew of 8, and in some instances a crew of 9. The Special Duties Operator for this crew’s last 2 operations was German-speaking Flying Officer John Heggarty.

20 February 1945 – Privilege leave, 9 days to 28 February 1945.

28 February 1945 – Service Conduct Sheet, certified ‘No Entry’ by S/Ldr, for Air Officer in Charge of Records, RAF.

462 Squadron – Air Crew Arrival Form – Information from National Archives of Australia "Loss of Aircraft Halifax III "V" NA240 10/11 April 1945" Series A11385, Digital Copy of item 3552009, page 29 of 52 pages. (Form to be filled out by Aircrew in his own handwritten block letters – transcription of original, Pilot Ball completed his form in cursive handwriting).

Date – 6/3/45 On posting from – 1652 Conversion Unit. (For all other members of this crew, the arrival date on their form was recorded as 16 February 1945 – Pilot Ball was on leave from 20th to 28th February. It is not known why this form was dated after his first flight with the crew on 3 March.)
On the Authority of ……. (blank)
1. Number…. A 427182….. 2. Surname…. BALL
2. Christian Names…… Alfred Desmond John
3. Substantive Rank… P/O …… Date… 14.08.44 (it seems he had not yet been informed of his promotion to F/O on 14 February 1945)
4. Acting Rank…. (blank) … Date…. (blank)
5. Decorations…. (blank) … Date…. (blank)
6. Type of Service ….. Aircrew
7. Aircrew Category (in full) …… Pilot
8. Types of Aircraft Flown ….. Tiger Moth, Wirraway, Oxford, Wellington, Halifax
9. Courses Attended ….. (blank)
10. Date of Birth …. 11th April 1924
11. If Married …. No ….. Date …. (blank)
12. Next of Kin a) Relationship …. Father
b) Full Name …. Frederick Arthur Ball
c) Address …. 43 Bourke St., Leederville, Perth West Australia
13. Additional Person to be Informed a) Relationship …. Fiancée
b) Full Name …. Jennifer Little
c) Address …. 362 Anzac Highway, Mornington, Adelaide, South Australia
15. Religion …. C of E
16 Medical Category …. (blank)

Operations 462 Squadron – A Photo of Pilots in March 1945, including A.D.J.Ball may be viewed on the 462 Squadron page.

March and April 1945 – No logbook is available for A.D.J.Ball however a summary page labelled “Extracts from Log Book” is included in his Service File. This information is detailed later on this web page. It is assumed that as members of a newly formed crew, the crew’s individual logbook details would have been the same. Following are actual entries from Log Book of Rear Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd, and actual Squadron ORB information, extracted from monthly reports using “Form 540 Summary of Events” and “Form 541 Detail of Work Carried Out”. Information has been transcribed as originally recorded with all spelling and other errors. Flying Officer Ball is incorrectly referred to in the March & April ORBs as Pilot Officer (P/O), however in the Rear Gunner’s Log Book for March & April he is correctly titled as F/O Ball, due to his promotion on 14 February 1945. (Comments & corrections in italics.)

3 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Weather was fine but still cold, with excellent flying conditions. During the afternoon ONE training cross country flight was carried out by P/O A.D.Ball. This flight was also the first training flight for the A.B.C. Special Duty Operators, and the first time that A.B.C. aircraft had flown in this Squadron.”

Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball and crew had the honour of being the first crew in 462 Squadron to fly a Squadron Halifax fitted with special Air Borne Cigar (A.B.C.) equipment.

4 March 1945 Log Book “Halifax III Z5-S, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise. Flight time of 4 hours 25 minutes.” (This log book entry may be incorrectly dated, and should perhaps be 03/03/45 if the above ORB entry was correct. However the “Extracts from Log Book” of A.D.J.Ball also note the date 4 March 1945 – see later.)

4 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “A clear sunny day but the weather deteriorated rapidly towards dusk, with night operations cancelled before takeoff.”  (No training flights mentioned for this day which supports the theory that the log book entry for 4 March 1945 may be incorrect, and should perhaps have been 3 March 1945).

5 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-V, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise. Flight time of 25 minutes.”
5 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Fine weather again, but by 1700 hours, there was rain and low cloud.” (No comments in relation to this crew.)

6 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-S, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise. Flight time of 3 hours 5 minutes.”
6 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Fine weather again. Two training cross country flights were carried out by new crews: – those of P/O T.I.Paltridge and P/O A.D.Ball.”

8 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-V, Pilot F/O Ball, Night cross country training exercise. Flight time of 3 hours.”
8 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 (No comments in relation to this crew.)

9 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-M, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise. Flight time of 2 hours 10 minutes.”
9 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “A sunny day with absolutely clear sky until late afternoon.” (No comments in relation to this crew.)

10 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 1 – Halifax III Z5-P, Pilot F/O Ball, Munster (sic), “Spoof” Special Duties. Engine Failure. Returned. Flight time 4 hours and 5 minutes.” (Incomplete Op not counted in Tour of Duty).
10 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Weather was fine but overcast. Four crews were required for operations on the Munster (sic) area, TWO of which were new crews briefed for their first operation. One of the new crews (Captain – P/O A.D.Ball) aircraft MZ.341 “P”/462 returned early with engine trouble. The remainder completed a successful sortie. MZ467 “C”/462 (Captain – Sqn/Ldr L.G.Scharer) was in combat with an enemy fighter aircraft. No claim was made.”
10 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax MZ341; up 1805, down 2212; Returned early, Engine Trouble; SDO F/Sgt G.Fink RAAF 435339.”
A total of 4 Crews from 462 Sqdn flew that night on the same Special Duty Flights to the Munster (sic) area on a Spoof raid. Window was released and Incendiaries dropped in that area by the other 3 crews. Loading for all was 4 x 750lb bombs, & 4 x 250lb Incdy Clusters. (Current spelling of Munster is Münster.)

13 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 1 – Halifax III Z5-N Pilot F/O Ball, Frankfurt, Special Duties. Saw 2 fighters. No Flak. Quiet Trip. Flight time 5 hours 50 minutes.”
13 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Another clear and sunny day. Eleven aircraft were required for Operations. One of these was our first serviceable “Airborne Cigar” and Carpet Jammer aircraft. 11 aircraft were airborne by 1800 hours and with exception of 2 that encountered fighters, and one damaged by flak, all completed a successful sortie, Aircraft RG.384 “M”/462 (Captain – P/0 T.I.Paltridge) was forced to land at Juvencourt (sic) airfield, at 2200 hours owing to Flak damage. The Flight Engineer (Sgt Welsh C.G.) was killed and the Navigator & Wireless Operator were slightly injured due to enemy action and detained in hospital. No further details are to hand.”
13 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax MZ913; up 1755, down 2345; SDO F/Sgt J.F.Wall RAAF 432918. Special Duty Flight to Frankfurt on a Spoof raid. Window was released, T.Is and Incendiaries dropped in that area. Loading: – 2 x 250lb T.Is, 4 x 750lb Incdy Clusters, & 1 x 500lb Incdy Cluster.”
A total of 11 Crews from 462 Squadron were similarly tasked & loaded. During the sortie, 1 crew (Pilot P/O T.I.Paltridge) had their starboard wing and engine damaged by Flak and the Flight Engineer (Sgt C.G.Welsh) killed. The Aircraft crash landed at Juvencourt (sic) air field, & the Navigator (F/Lt K.J.Shanahan) & Wireless Operator (F/Sgt K.J.Dennis) injured. (Juvincourt airfield, Belgium)

14 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 2 – Halifax III Z5-N, Pilot F/O Ball, Weisbaden (sic), Special Duties. Fighter Decoy. No Fighter. Good Trip. Flight time 6 hours and 5 minutes.” (Current spelling is Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt.)
14 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “A clear day and night. Eight aircraft were required for operations and were airborne by 1800 hours. They completed an uneventful sortie to Weisbaden (sic) carrying a maximum Bomb load.”
14 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax MZ913; up at 1731, down at 2335; SDO F/Sgt J.F.Wall RAAF 432918. Special Duty Flight to Weisbaden (sic) on a Spoof raid. Window was released, Bombs and Incendiaries dropped in that area. Loading: – 2 x No. 15 Incdy Clusters, 1 x No. 14 Incdy Cluster, & 4 x 500lb G.P. Bombs Mk. IV.”
A total of 8 Crews from 462 Squadron were similarly tasked & loaded.

16 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 3 – Halifax III Z5-V, Pilot F/O Ball, Hanua (probably Hanau?), Special Duties with Special Operator. Severe Icing. Landed Away. Flight time 7 hours 45 minutes.”
16 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “The serviceability had dropped considerably today, and only four aircraft were available for operations. Four crews were briefed, but MZ308 “S”/462 (Captain – F/O M.R.Marchant) was a non-starter owing to a magneto drop in the inner starboard engine. On the return journey NA240 “V”/462 (Captain – P/O A.D.Ball) landed at Watton aerodrome after having been off course, and PN442 “H”/462 (captain – F/S Sharp, G.C.) was diverted to Woodbridge landing field, as his brakes were unserviceable.”
16 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax NA240; up at 1829, down at 0200 Watton; SDO F/O L.Pugh RAF 165109, & SDO F/Sgt S.E.Tills RAAF 17596. Special Duty Flight to Hanua (sic) on a Spoof raid. Window was released, and Incendiaries dropped in that area. Loading: – 5 x No. 14 Incdy Clusters.”
A total of 3 Crews from 462 Squadron were similarly tasked & loaded, however one of the other aircraft piloted by F/L Ted McGindle carried additional incendiaries.

22 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-B2, Pilot F/O Ball, Fighter Affiliation – night training exercise. Flight time 1 hour 25 minutes.”
22 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “Only four aircraft were required for Operations on this night, and all were airborne by 2000 hours, and completed a successful Window Operation in the Ruhr area. Two aircraft each carried out a double Fighter Affiliation detail during the day, and F/O Bailey and crew were brought back from Manston Airfield.”

24 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 4 – Halifax III Z5-S, Pilot F/O Ball, Köln (= Cologne) Special Duties with Special Operator. Spoof. No Flak. Fighter FW190 Attacked & Followed. Fired 800 Rounds & Claimed Hits. Evasive Action carried out. Flight time 5 hours and 10 minutes.”
24 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “No. 100 Group was the only Group operating on that night, and five of the crews were provided from this Squadron, TWO of these were new crews on their first operational flight, a short trip to the RUHR area providing a valuable experience for new crews. All completed a successful sortie. MZ.308 “S”/462 – (Captain P/O Ball, A.D.) when in the OPLADEN area was attacked by an Enemy fighter aircraft, which was identified by the rear-gunner as a FW.190. The enemy fighter closed in to 400 yards to attack, and the rear-gunner opened fire, hits were observed in the neighbourhood of the engine, and the FW.190 is claimed as damaged.”
24 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax MZ308; up at 1847, down at 2357; SDO F/Sgt R.G.Irminger RAAF 437308, & SDO F/O J.Heggarty RAF (VR) 179888. Special Duty Flight to the Ruhr area on a Spoof raid. Window was released in that area.”
A total of 5 Crews from 462 Squadron were similarly tasked.

26 March 1945 Log Book – “Halifax III Z5-P, Pilot F/O Ball, Day cross country training exercise. Flight time 2 hours and 25 minutes.”
26 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “A maximum fighter affiliation programme was arranged, but owing to rapid deterioration in the weather, the detail was later cancelled. One cross country flight was flown during the afternoon by a crew that had returned a poor navigational effort, during an operational sortie. (Refers to this crew’s Op No 3 on 16/03/45, landing at Watton.)

3 April 1945 – Privilege leave, 7 days to 9 April 1945. (Leave for the same period is recorded in the RAAF Service Files for Bomb Aimer Frank as 7 days Privilege Leave, but for Navigator Evans & Wireless Operator Taylor as 7 days SLSA Privilege Leave. No UK leave information is included in the Service Files for Gunners Hibberd or Tait. I have assumed that all members of a crew would generally be issued leave for the same periods. Anecdotal evidence is that Rear Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd was dancing at the Trocadero in London the night before he was shot down on their final flight on 10 April 1945 – Ref: L.Lazarides.)

10 April 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 5 – Halifax III Z5-V, Pilot F/O Ball, Special Duties Operation Leipzig. Baled Out.”
10 April 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “TEN aircraft were required for operations, THREE for RADAR COUNTER MEASURES, and the remainder for a Feint WINDOW attack. The WINDOW Force proceeded ahead of, and on the same track as the Main Force, branching off just before reaching LEIPZIG which was the Target for the Main Force. The object of this manoeuvre was to make the Enemy believe that BERLIN was the main Target, and raise the Enemy Fighters NORTH of BERLIN where they could be engage by our own Fighters, and to take the Enemy Fighters away from LEIPZIG while it was being attacked by the Main Force. TWO aircraft- NA.240 and PN.426 operated with No. 5 Group in the Main BOMBER Stream on RADAR COUNTER MEASURES. Unfortunately Aircraft NA.240 “V”/462 Captain – P/O A.D.Ball failed to return from this operation. Today’s report was received from the A.O.C. describing last night’s operation as one of the most successful that No. 100 Group had participated in.” (Form 541 clearly lists Plauem (sic) as the location for the Spoof raid by 462 Squadron aircraft, not Berlin. Assuming Plauem is actually meant to be Plauen, the above description of raising enemy fighters in Berlin does not appear to be correct. Plauen is ~ 100km SSW of Leipzig, whereas Berlin is ~ 150km north of Leipzig. However – perhaps aircraft from other Squadrons & Groups flew north.)
10 April 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 541 – “Halifax NA240: up at 1910, missing; SDO F/O J.Heggarty RAF (VR) 179888. This aircraft took off on a Protective Patrol with the Main Force to Leipzig and failed to return from that Operation. There has been no news since taking off, and the crew has been reported Missing.”
Seven Aircraft were similarly tasked with a Special Duty flight to the PLAUEM area on a SPOOF raid. Window was released, BOMBS and INCENDIARIES dropped in that area. Loading: – 2 x 500lb G.P. Bombs, 1 x No.14 500lb Incdy Clusters, 2 x No.15 750lb Incdy Clusters. One Aircraft was tasked as a Protective Patrol to the PLAUEM area with the WINDOW Force. BOMBS were dropped in that area. Loading: – 2 x 500lb G.P. Bombs. TWO aircraft were tasked as a Protective Patrol with the Main Force to Leipzig. Bombs were dropped in the Target area by one aircraft. Loading: – 2 x 500lb G.P. Bombs. (Assume Plauem should be Plauen.)

10 April 1945 Bomber Command – “Departed at 1910 from Foulsham on Bomber Support (BS) Radio Counter Measure (RCM) duties in support of 5 Group Operations. 76 Lancasters and 19 Mosquitos of Bomber Command’s 5 Group and 8 Group attacked the Wahren railway yards, Leipzig. The eastern half of the yards was destroyed. 7 Lancaster Bombers were lost. 1 RCM Halifax was lost, that being Halifax III NA240 Z5-V of Ball and Crew.

10 April 1945 – Information from Z5-V Casualty file “The Halifax had been fitted with ‘H2S’, ‘ABC’, ‘Piperack’, ‘Carpet’, ‘GEE’, and ‘Fishpond’ Radar Counter Measures devices, as well as the usual IFF.”

“Extracts from Log Book” (This information appears on two separate but similarly labelled Service File documents in the A.D.J.Ball Service File, both undated but type-written sometime after the 16th May 1945, and transcribed here in full. Some dates match the date of Posting to that location, however most do not. They may possibly match the first logged air time for each location. The Log Book is not in the Service File, so nothing can be checked or verified.)

427182 F/O A.D. BALL
462 Sqdn. first trip 4/3/45 6 Ops, Missing Special Duties Op, either 10/4/45 or 16th May 1945 (a very strange error, as the Service File clearly states he was posted as missing on 11 April 1945.)
26 August 1942 – 4 S.F.T.S Geraldton
10 October 1942 – 5 I.T.S.
7 January 1943 – 1 E.F.T.S.
13 March 1943 – 7 S.F.T.S.
14 February 1943 – 29 E.F.T.S. (This date and location is not recorded anywhere else in the Service File and is possibly in error for the entry below of 14 Feb 1944).
16 August 1943 – 5 E.D.
3 September 1943 – 1 E.D.
19 October 1943 – 11 P.D.R.C.
14 February 1944 – 29 E.F.T.S. (This location and date is not recorded anywhere else in the Service File. No. 29 E.F.T.S. was based at RAF Clyffe Pypard, Wiltshire. This may possibly relate to the Attachment to HQ No. 50 Group from 14 February 1944 until 3 March 1944).
21 March 1944 – 14 A.F.U.
6 June 1944 – 27 O.T.U.
12 September 1944 – 1652 C.U.
4 March 1945 – 462 Sqdn – Halifaxes.
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Casualty Details (File Number 166/5/1064, opened 13 April 1945, RAAF HQ, D.P.S. Casualty Section.)

10 April 1945 – Posting to War Cas. N/E Accts (backdated from 26 April 1945, another record lists this date as 11 April 1945).

10 April 1945 – Official Presumption of Death by OHQ (backdated from decision on 15 November 1945).

11 April 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – The crews of TWO of the A.B.C. Aircraft were briefed to accompany 5 Group with the Main Force and the remaining Crews for a Window mission to the PLOUEN (sic) area. When the crews were in the Aircraft ready to take off, the Operation was cancelled. No news has been received of the Aircraft “V”/462 – Captain – P/O A.D.Ball missing from Operations on the night of the 10th. (Assume Plouen should be Plauen.)

11 April 1945 – A.D.J.Ball officially listed as “Missing Air Operations, target Leipzig, Germany.”

11 April 1945 – Flying Officer A.D.J.Ball would have celebrated his 21st Birthday.

11 April 1945 – Cable Signal P51 SECRET for immediate transmission, from 462 (RAAF) Squadron to – Air Ministry Kingsway; No. 100 Group; Records Gloucester; H.Q.B.C.; 43 Group; RAAF Overseas Headquarters Kingsway; and repeated to – Senior Accountant; Officer Station Adjutant; C.T.O.; Committee of Adjustment. The cable advised of the loss of Halifax III NA-240 Z5-V, listing the engine details, Operation details, Crew by service number, rank and full names; bomb load; special equipment; next of kin already informed (those in the UK), and those yet to be informed (in Aus & Canada) – Cable was signed by Flight Lieutenant D.G.Highman, Adjutant of 462 Squadron, for the Squadron Leader.

11 April 1945 – Letter from Squadron Leader L.G.Scharer of 462 Squadron to The Under-Secretary of State, Air Ministry, London confirming signal P.51 of the same date. This letter gave information about the missing Halifax, the Pilot, target, ammunition and bomb load, fuel, and crew by name, rank, service number and crew position.

11 April 1945 – Cable Signal PCX9 AUSCAS 571, from Air Min Kingsway to RAAF HQ INFO & RAAFLO OTTOWA. For IMMEDIATE transmission –

“HALIFAX NA240, 462 RAAF SQUADRON, MISSING FROM OPERATIONS TARGET LEOPZIG (sic) NIGHT 10/11 APRIL” It then listed the Service No., Rank & Names of all of the Crew, and the names & addresses of all of the Next of Kin. In this casualty file the following is underlined “AUS427182 F/O ALFRED DESMOND JOHN BALL (FATHER) FA BALL 43 BOURKE STREET LEEDERVILLE PERTH ALSO (FIANCEE) MISS JENNIFER LITTLE 362 ANZAC HIGHWAY MORNINGTON ADELAIDE AND J DIXON ESQ 18 RAVENSCOURT MANSIONS HAMMERSMITH LONDON”.
(Target was Leipzig.)

12 April 1945 – Postal letter from Squadron Leader L.G.Scharer of 462 Squadron to Mr Frederick A Ball, 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, Perth West Australia. ………… (quote)

Dear Mr Ball
It is with the deepest regret that I am writing to confirm the news you will already have received from Air Board, Melbourne, that on the night of the 10th April, 1945 your son, Pilot Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, was reported missing from an operational flight from this country.
Your Son was a most capable and determined Pilot and he has been most deeply missed both by myself personally and the other members of my Squadron, and we would like to convey to you our deepest sympathy in your great anxiety.
On the night of the 10th April, 1945 the aircraft of which your Son was Captain, took off for operations on enemy territory and nothing more has been heard of the aircraft or its gallant crew.
Enquires made through all possible channels have so far revealed nothing but it will naturally take some time for possible information to reach this country from enemy sources. Meanwhile we can only hope that your Son and the other members of his crew are either in safe hands or prisoners of war.
Your Son’s personal belongings have been carefully gathered together by a committee of Officers known as the “Standing Committee of Adjustment” and they will be forwarded to the Central Depositary of the Royal Air Force. In the near future, you will receive a further letter concerning them from the Australian Air Board.
May I once again, on behalf of myself and the Squadron express my most profound sympathy to you and yours at this unhappy time and I can only hope that news will arrive that your Son is in safe hands or a prisoner of war, in which case I will let you know immediately.
Yours Very Sincerely
L.G.Scharer
Squadron Leader.

12 April 1945 – Postal letter from Squadron Leader L.G.Scharer of 462 Squadron to Miss Jennifer Little, confirming the Air Board telegram of notification of her Fiancé being missing (wording similar to that used in the letter to Mr Ball.)

13 April 1945 – Casualty Notification form with service details raised by D.P.S. (Cas); stamped as recorded on Casualty Index on 17 April 1945 (Finance Serial No. 9449), initialled as being checked for Rank with confirmation of rank of F/O.

13 April 1945 – Telegram from Air Force, Melbourne, lodged Melbourne 5:30pm on 13th, and delivered at 10:00pm on 13th April 1945 to Mr. F.A.BALL 43 BOURKE STREET LEEDERVILLE WA. ……. (quote)

“427182 FLYING OFFICER A.D.J.BALL missing stop regret to inform you that your son FLYING OFFICER ALFRED DESMOND JOHN BALL is missing as result air operations on 11th (sic) April 1945 stop known details are he was member of crew Halifax aircraft detailed to attack enemy target at Leipzig Germany which failed to return to base stop the Minister for Air joins with Air Board in expressing sincere sympathy in your anxiety stop when any further information is received it will be conveyed to you immediately.”

13 April 1945 – Telegram from Air Force, Melbourne, lodged Melbourne 5:30pm on 13th, and delivered at 8:55pm on 13th April 1945 to MISS J.LITTLE 362 ANZAC HIGHWAY MORNINGTON ADELAIDE SA …… (wording almost identical to that used in the telegram to Mr Ball.)

2 May 1945 – Cypher Message from OHQ RAAF Kingsway to RAAF HQ Australia ….. (quote)

AL 107 CAS 985 MAY 2 RESTRICTED
AUS 430788 F/SGT TAIT JM MISSING. COMMANDING OFFICERS LETTER SYMPATHY FORWARDED YOU 23 APRIL STATES CASUALTY OCCURRED NIGHT MARCH 10. REQUEST AMEND READ 10 APRIL.
(Message has handwritten annotation across it –“Ball A.D.J. member same crew” however the letter to Ball’s Next of Kin had the correct casualty date 10 April 1945 – see transcription dated 12 April 1945 above.)

2 May 1945 – Letter from 476012 LACW Brooksbank M., RAF Heslington, York, no addressee on typewritten file copy of the original ……. (quote)

Dear Sir
I was wondering if you could help me regarding my fiancé F/O Ball Aus/427182 who was reported missing on the 10th April, 1945.
I have written to the Red Cross but also I would like his home address as I have a few things belonging to him I would like to send home.
Hoping you will be able to help me.
Yours sincerely
M.Brooksbank.

10 May 1945 – Letter from W/Cdr P.M.Paull, Officer Commanding, No. 462 (RAAF) Squadron, RAF Station, Foulsham, Norfolk to 476012 LACW Brooksbank M.,RAF Heslington, York …… (quote)

Dear Miss Brooksbank
In reply to your letter dated the 2nd May, 1945, I regret to inform you that I am not permitted to divulge any of the information requested by you.
I have, however, forwarded your letter to RAAF Overseas Headquarters and you will, in the near future, receive further advice from them concerning the information you require.
Yours very sincerely
P.M.Paull W/Cdr

10 May 1945 – Memo from F/Lt D.G.Highman for Officer Commanding, No. 462 (RAAF) Squadron, RAF Station, Foulsham, Norfolk, to The Air Officer Commanding, RAAF Overseas Headquarters ……. (quote)

Ref 462S/C.1714/18/P1
Crew of P/O A.D. Ball (Aus/427182) – Missing
Forwarded herewith is a letter received from LACW Brooksbank, who is enquiring re the abovementioned Officer who was reported missing from operations on the night of the 10th of April, 1945.
2. A copy of the letter forwarded to LACW Brooksbank is enclosed herewith and it is requested that any further action deemed necessary may be taken by your Headquarters.
Signed D.G.Highman F/Lt

(RAF Heslington was the Headquarters of No. 4 Group Bomber Command, based at Heslington Hall, York in Yorkshire. Heslington is about 6.5 road miles from Acaster Malbis on the River Ouse, south of York. Heslington is about 13.5 road miles from Marston Moor, west of York. Pilot (then P/O) A.D.J.Ball may have met LACW Brooksbank during his and his Crew’s posting to 41 Base Acaster Malbis, or later during their subsequent posting to 74 Base 1652 HCU at Marston Moor. It was clear in his Service File and well known to the crew that he was engaged to his Fiancée back home in Australia. It is not known why LACW Brooksbank referred to him as her fiancé, unless this was only to obtain information. Working as a LACW at No. 4 Group Headquarters she would have known that an Officer’s personal details would not have been given out by the RAAF, and that casualty information would only be released to the official Next-of-Kin. Nothing further is mentioned in the file after this date.)

12 May 1945 – Cable from RAAF Overseas HQ London to RAAF HQ Melbourne …. (quote)

AL 696 CAS 117 12 MAY UNCLASSIFIED.
MISSING MEMBERS (.) FOLLOWING 27 (sic) MEMBERS REPORTED SAFE THIS COUNTRY NOW AT 11 PDRC BRIGHTON AUS 435342 HIBBERD M.J., ORIGINAL SIGNAL ON FILE 32/6/16 OTHER MEMBERS OF CREW MISSING: TAIT J.M., FRANK M., BALL A.D.J., EVANS N.V., TAYLOR R.R.
(Ball A.D.J. underlined in file)

16 May 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball …………. (quote)

“INFORMATION RECEIVED THAT ONE AUSTRALIAN MEMBER OF YOUR SON’S CREW FLIGHT SERGEANT M.J.HIBBARD (sic) IS NOW SAFE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM STOP CREW CONSISTED OF EIGHT MEMBERS STOP REGRET NO NEWS OF YOUR SON FLYING OFFICER ALFRED DESMOND JOHN BALL OR REMANDER OF CREW”

16 May 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force, Melbourne to Miss J.Little …. (wording similar to lettergram to Mr Ball).

22 May 1945 – Aerogramme letter from Mrs F.A.Ball, to L.G.Scharer, Squadron Leader, No 462 (RAAF Squadron), RAF. Foulsham, Norfolk England. (Stamped as received at 462 Squadron RAAF on 4 June 1945, and quoted as written.)

To Dear Friend
Just a few lines thanking you for your most kind letter I will always keep. You don’t know how please Dad & I was to get that letter. It mean such a lot to us at this time. I am going to asked you if you will be so kind as to thank the rest of the boys for there kind thoughts. Well we had word last week that F/S M.J.Hibbard (sic) in back in England. And I do hope they soon find the rest of the crew. It seem such a long wait. Dad & I wait each night for news of our boy and his crew. Would you be so kind as to let me know if Alf had his Birthday Party in London. As I have wrote to people there but have received no letters. Dad & I would like to know. Well I am sure our boy and the rest of the crew will turn up soon. As he was such a good boy we do miss him very much like all other Mothers. Well I thank you once again for your kindness and if you get any news of our boy let us know please. I have still been writing to him hoping he would soon get back and receive his mail. May God bring them all back safe soon.
Yours very sincerely
Mrs F.A.Ball.
(The person in London to whom Mrs Ball had written, may have been the Mr J. Dixon, 18 Ravenscourt Pk. Mans., Hammersmith, London who was listed on A.D.J.Ball’s Officer’s documents as an additional person to be informed of casualty. It is now known that Mr Dixon and family were not related to the Ball family, but had an "open house" to service personnel including Alf Ball. From information received from Alf's sister, Alf did have a celebration of his 21st Birthday at the Dixon's home during his last leave just prior to his last flight, with his family being informed of this by letter after his death.)

5 June 1945 – Cable from RAAF OHQ London to RAAF Melbourne …….. (quote)

“AL 50 CAS 391 5 JUNE STOP UNCLASSIFIED STOP AUS 430788 F/SGT TAIT J M MISSING STOP REQUEST ADVISE MR G W TAIT WHO HAS CABLED  SQUADRON THAT AUS 435342 F/SGT HIBBERD M J CAN GIVE NO NEWS”
(Message has handwritten annotation across it – “Ball A.D.J.” and is included in his Casualty File.)

6 June 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball advising the detail of the cable received by them on 5 June 1945 ……. (quote)

“ADVICE HAS NOW BEEN RECEIVED THAT FLIGHT SERGEANT HIBBERD CAN GIVE NO NEWS CONCERNING YOUR SON FLYING OFFICER ALFRED DESMOND JOHN BALL OR REMAINDER OF CREW.”

6 June 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force Melbourne to Miss J.Little …. (wording similar to lettergram to Mr Ball).

7 June 1945 – Cable from RAAF Overseas HQ London to RAAF HQRS ………. (quote in part)

AL278 CAS426 JUN 7 UNCLASSIFIED STOP FOLLOWING BULKY ARTICLES HELD STOP BICYCLES BELONGING ……………………… FLYING OFFICERS ………. ADJ BALL 427182 ………… ALL MISSING STOP …………….
(Deleted are items and the names of their deceased or missing owners not relevant to Ball’s file; the words bicycle, his rank and name Ball underlined on the copy in his file.)

11 June 1945 – Details of Will of Casualty recorded, with Category of casualty “Missing on 11 April 1945” The Will was dated 26 November 1942 and the Executor was his Mother Dorothy Louise Ball. The Beneficiary was also his Mother. (No copy of the Will was included, only the details as listed herewith.)

11 June 1945 – Aerogramme letter from Miss Jennifer Little, 362 Anzac H’way, Mornington, South Australia to Squadron Leader Scharer. (Stamped as received at 462 Squadron RAAF on 19 July 1945. The address has been post-marked and overwritten several times in an attempted delivery to S/Ldr Scharer at various RAF bases in the UK, including RAF Gamston, Nottinghamshire; 62 Base RAF; and another illegible RAF base in York. It also looks as if it had been cut open, then resealed with tape. In the final address, the name was obscured and replaced with “Officer Commanding, No. 462 (RAAF) Sqdn, RAF Foulsham Norfolk.) ……. (quote)

Dear Squadron Leader Scharer
Thank you very much for your kind letter of April 12th. – it was very good of you to write when you must have so many demands on your time.
I was pleased and proud to know that Alf and his crew were so highly esteemed.
Since receiving your letter I have heard from the Air Board that Flight Sgt. Hibbard (sic) is safely back in the United Kingdom but can give no news of the rest of the crew. I expect, in due course, I shall hear more details and of course I hope and pray that soon I shall receive word that Alf and the others in his crew are safe.
Thanking you again
Yours sincerely
Jennifer Little

15 June 1945 – Air mail letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball   regarding his Son’s bicycle in the UK ………… (quote)

Dear Sir
RAAF.166/5/1064(18A)
With reference to the Service affairs of your son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, who is reported to be missing as the result if air operations on the 11th April, 1945, I have to advise that a bicycle owned by him is held at his former unit.
In view of the difficulty experienced in storing articles of this nature, and of the fact that it is not practicable to return them to Australia, the procedure adopted is to hold them for approximately three months from the date on which the member became missing. If he is then still posted as missing, such articles are sold and the proceeds are held on his behalf.
However, an opportunity is given to you and Mrs. Ball, should you so wish, to nominate a person in the United Kingdom to take delivery of the bicycle instead of selling same.
It is pointed out that once the bicycle is delivered to a nominated person, this Department is unable to accept responsibility for any subsequent disposal action with regard to it. Should, for example, later sale or delivery to some other person be wished, any such action will be a matter for private arrangement between you and your nominee.
If it is desired to make such a nomination, it is important that this Department receive advice not later than 14th July, 1945, as to the name and address of the person nominated. If a nomination is not received by that date, sale will be effected as abovementioned.
It should be understood that the procedure described above applies only to the specific item mentioned, and that all remaining effects will be retained in safe custody until your son’s fate is determined.
Yours faithfully
Secretary

16 June 1945 – Hand-written letter from Mr F.A.Ball to The Secretary, Department of Air, Casualty Section …... (quote)

Dear Sir
I am the father of F/O A.D.J.Ball 427182.
We received your notification in regard to F/S M.J.Hibberd statement, you did not say where he Bailed out of the aircraft, or weather (sic) he was ordered out for some reason, or got out of his own account.
I thought he should have some idea where he landed and weather (sic) the aircraft was in difficulties in any way when he got out.
It has been a very trying time for us at home, the crew has been missing just over nine weeks and the war has been over about seven weeks.
I should be very pleased if you could tell me some news of weather (sic) the plane has been found yet.
I do not wish to be a nuisance to you but you understand how we feel at home.
I remain yours truly, F.A.Ball.

25 June 1945 – Hand-written letter from Mrs Ball to The Officer in Charge, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne …... (quote)

Dear Sir
As it is now getting on for three months since my son Flying Officer A.D.J.Ball was posted missing after a raid on Leipsig (sic), and no further news has yet been received.
I wish to make enquiries as to his personal effects and uniform. If it is at all possible, I would like to have these sent to me.
I have never seen him in his Officers uniform and I would like to keep it.
I do hope that you will be able to do this for me as it is so very little to ask.
That is if Dad and I said if things should be worst in which we hope not. We would very much like the bicycle to have come back for his Brother who is 14 years he would very much have liked something of his Brothers. But if it is putting you people about well I dare say it would have to be sold. I only wish there was some way of me getting it sent I would be willing pay for it to come, as I treasure all my Son had. I only hope good news will soon come of him & his crew.
Yours faithfully, Mr & Mrs Ball.

28 June 1945 – Cable from RAAF HQ Melbourne to Overseas HQ RAAF Kingsway ……… (quote)

“UNCLASSIFIED AUS 430788 F/SGT. TAIT J.M. MISSING (.) SIGNAL URGENTLY PRECIS AMPLIFIED STATEMENT BY HIBBERD INCLUDING DETAILS HIBBERD’S ESCAPE AND AIR MAIL FULL STATEMENT EARLIEST (.) NEXT OF KIN PRESSING MINISTER”
(Message has handwritten annotation across it “BALL, A.D.J.” and is included in his Casualty File.)

29 June 1945 – Cypher Message from RAAF Overseas HQ, Kodak House, Kingsway, London to RAAF HQ Melbourne ……… (quote)

AL 625 CAS 689 29 JUNE RESTRICTED
AUS 430788 F/SGT JM TAIT MISSING. HIBBARD (sic) STATES “BELIEVE REST OF CREW KILLED WHEN AIRCRAFT CRASHED IN TARGET AREA. REST OF CREW PROBABLY UNABLE TO LEAVE AIRCRAFT OWING SPECIAL EQUIPMENT” NO OTHER INFORMATION IN STATEMENT RE TAIT. HIBBARD (sic) NOW EMBARKED FOR AUSTRALIA SUGGEST HE BE INTERVIEWED ON HIS ARRIVAL. COPY STATEMENT BEING FORWARDED FAST AIR MAIL”.
(Message has handwritten annotation across it – “Ball A.D.J. and is included in his Casualty File.)

29 June 1945 – A copy of the 1st ex-PoW statement made by F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd before his embarkation from the UK is included in the A.D.J.Ball casualty file, but without any accompanying official letter, memo or cable. In other Crew members’ casualty files, this same statement has a covering Letter from RAAF Overseas HQ, Kodak House, Kingsway, London to The Secretary, Dept of Air Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

3 July 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball advising the contents of the Cypher Message of 29 June1945 (please see entry above)
3 July 1945 – Lettergram from Air Force Melbourne to Miss J.Little advising the contents of the Cypher Message of 29 June1945 – (wording similar to lettergram to Mr Ball).

17 July 1945 – Letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball …... (quote)

Dear Sir
RAAF.166/5/1064(25A)
Dear Sir
Reference is made to your letter dated 25th June, 1945, relating to the personal effects of your son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, who is reported missing as a result of air operations on the 11th April, 1945.
I have to inform you that it is the usual practice when a member becomes missing for his personal effects to be collected and placed in safe storage pending determination of his fate or official presumption of his death.
Should it be, unhappily, established or presumed for official purposes, that your son has lost his life, action will then be taken to return his effects to Australia.
It is regretted that it is not practicable to return your son’s bicycle to Australia, and Overseas Headquarters, Royal Australian Air Force, London, has been directed to effect the sale of this item.
Yours faithfully

30 July 1945 – A copy of the Statement by M.J.Hibberd taken on board H.M.T.S. “Andes” on 28th July 1945 prior to his disembarkation, is included in the A.D.J.Ball casualty file, but without any accompanying official letter, memo or cable. In other Crew members’ casualty files, this same statement has a covering Letter from RAAF Casualty & Repository Section, Sydney to RAAF HQ Melbourne.

28 August 1945 – Cable from RAAF HQ to 3 MRU requesting another interrogation of casualty F/SGT M.J.Hibberd, and advising that (quote in part) ….

"NEXT OF KIN TAIT PRESSING FOR DETAILS AND DESIRED PERSONALLY INTERROGATE HIBBERD”…..
(Copy of cable included in Casualty File of A.D.J.Ball.)

30 August 1945 – Letter from Wing Commander, Forward Echelon, Air Force Headquarters, Brisbane to Air Force Headquarters, Casualty Section, Melbourne
Ref: – 688/4/P1 INTERROGATION OF 435342 F/SGT HIBBERD M.J. REPATRIATED PRISONER OF WAR
The letter advised that F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd had made his statement at the RAAF Section of 112 AGH Greenslopes, Brisbane and a copy of the written statement was forwarded. The statement was signed by M.J.Hibberd at Greenslopes on 30/Aug/45 after his 4th official interrogation.

19 September 1945 – Letter from F/Lt D.G.Highman, Officer Commanding, 462(RAAF) Squadron, RAF Foulsham, to the Under Secretary of State, Air Ministry (Archives), Hayes, Middlesex ….…….. (quote)

Sir
I have the honour to refer to the flying accident on the night of the 10th April, 1945 in which Halifax III aircraft serial number NA.240 was reported missing and to enclose flying log books in respect of the undermentioned members of its crew.
F/O A.D.Ball (Aus/427182) – Pilot.
F/O M.Frank (Aus/409523) – A/B. (error in service number – actually 409532)
F/S N.V.Evans (Aus 436113) – Nav.
W/O R.R.Taylor (Aus/432346) – W/Op. (Air).
F/S J.M.Tait (Aus/430788) – A/G.
Sgt F.Brookes (546437) – F/Eng.
P/O J.Heggarty (179888) – A/G. Spec. Operator.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your Obedient Servant
D.G.Highman, Officer Commanding, 462 Squadron, RAF Station, Foulsham
(It is not known if Mr & Mrs Ball claimed their son’s logbook. Survivor and ex-PoW Rear Air Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd (Aus/435342) had reclaimed his log book which is still with his family.)

17 October 1945 – Air Mail letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball
RAAF 166/5/1064(30A)
This quite lengthy letter detailed information obtained from the 4 interrogations of ex-PoW F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd. In the letter Mr Ball was advised that F/Sgt Hibberd did not see any member of the crew after the aircraft was hit and did not see any wreckage of the aircraft. However after he had been taken PoW, and while being questioned in captivity, he had observed the undamaged identity card of A.D.J.Ball on the table in the interrogation room (as well as other items belonging to three other members of the crew). The letter goes on to relate in detail, the various comments made by F/Sgt Hibberd over time at his four ex-PoW interrogations. The letter finishes …….. (quote)

“Enquiries are proceeding in Europe into the fate of all aircrews reported missing in operations, and if any trace of the aircraft or members of the crew is discovered the information will be conveyed to you. It is regretted that more definite information as to your son’s fate is not available.”
Yours faithfully

12 November 1945 – Air Mail letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball
RAAF 166/5/1064(32A) advising that no further news was available regarding his son reported as Missing in air operations. Official presumption of death was being considered, and would be advised at an early date. Mr Ball was to be advised of this date by letter and his son’s name would be published in a casualty list in the Press.

15 November 1945 – Air Mail letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball
RAAF 166/5/1064(33A) advising that for official purposes, the death of his son was presumed to have occurred on 10 April 1945.

16 November 1945 – Letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Miss J.Little RAAF 166/5/1064(34A) advising that for official purposes, the death of her Fiancé was presumed to have occurred on 10 April 1945 (wording similar to letter to Mr Ball).

23 November 1945 – Hand-written letter from Mr F.A.Ball to The Secretary, Department of Air, Casualty Section, Melbourne …… (quoted as written with some words missing, time line errors, several spelling errors and ink blots all no doubt due to the stress that Mr Ball was under.)

Dear Sir
In reference to your notification Nov 21 1945 of my son Alfred Desmond John Ball, presumed killed on April 10 1945. He was reported missing on that date. A week after, the war in Europe was over. Britain and the Allies occupied the whole aerrier ever since.
You have not been able to get any real evidence of what happened to my son, and his crew, or the Aircraft.
The Aircraft a Halifax must certainly come to the ground & it carries identifications marks on it. Even if it blew up in the air, as some or your officers believe it did, it would not stay in the air, and identification marks could be found.
The Airforce bosts about its Rador equiptment and knowing my son had done three trips on that death & glory mission that he was doing, and came home on the third one with only engine out of four. He had to be sent on the forth mission.
You must have had some idear with all the Radio accuptment that the Airforce use, where the Aircraft was when they went off the air.
As Russia has occupied the Aerria in which my son was flying, have you inquired from them as to there where abouts.
I know quite well my son is not the only one that is missing, but the air force has had nothing much to do for the last 7 months.
These long spread notifications that you make only torments people & upsets them.
I should like some concrete evidence if it is possible as to what happened to my son & his crew.
The last letter I wrote you I got no answer. Is that the way we must expect to be treated for the sacrifice we have made. Hoping you will be able to give me something concrete.
I remain, Yours truly F.A.Ball.

26 November 1945 – “Application for the Issue of a Certificate of Death on War Service” (RAAF Form P/P 116) from Mrs D.L.Ball to The Secretary, Department of Air, Melbourne, requesting the issue of three copies of a Death Certificate of 427182 Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball for the purpose of “The Mutual Life Assurance Co.; Barclay’s Bank Ltd, Parliament St., York England; and one to be retained by Mrs Ball”.

29 November 1945 – Casualty File Minute Sheet Entry 10 (Previous Minute Sheet Entries 1-9 relate to internal RAAF actions.)
“Considered an appropriate case for the issue of a Royal message of Condolence, and message 8298 despatched to Mr F.A.Ball, Leederville on 29 November.”

30 November 1945 – Casualty File Minute Sheet  Entry 11
“3 copies of Death Certificate 8043 dated 30/11/45 issued and despatched to Mrs D.L.Ball, Leederville on 30 November 1945.”

6 December 1945 – Casualty File Minute Sheet Entry 12
“Miss Bowling (Herald Library) advises that according to records, the American 1st Army captured Leipzig on 18th April, and that the Russian occupation zone does not take in the Leipzig area, but that it is occupied by British & American troops.”

7 December 1945 – Air Mail letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball

RAAF 166/5/1064(37A)
Dear Sir
I acknowledge your letter dated the 23rd November, 1945, concerning you late son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball.
I desire to advise that your previous letter dated the 16th June, 1945, with reference to the statement of the survivor of the crew, Flight Sergeant M.J.Hibberd, was answered in my communication dated the 19th October, 1945, after he had been again interrogated on his arrival in Australia. As advised, Flight Sergeant Hibberd became unconscious at the time of the casualty and eventually found himself in a field near Delitch (sic). He later stated that the approximate locality of the crash was North-East Leipzig.
The distress occasioned you by the lack of definite news is fully appreciated. However, it is emphasised that this Department has co-operated with the Royal Air Force in organising a Missing Research and Enquiry Service designed to collect all available evidence regarding the fate of all aircrews lost over Europe during the war. The investigations conducted by this Service involve examination of thousands of captured German documents, perusal of civilian and official records, interrogation of German army personnel and all civilians in the various localities in which casualties have occurred. Upon reflection, you will no doubt realise the magnitude of this task and the fact that specially trained personnel, who are in limited numbers, will take a considerable time to complete it.
As it is felt that the next of kin of members who are reported missing are anxious to receive news as it becomes available and not wait until all investigations have been completed, it is the practice of this Department to transmit any evidence obtained as soon as it comes to hand.
With reference to your comments on radio equipment used in the Royal Australian Air Force, I have to advise that the Halifax aircraft, captained and flown by your son, was engaged in a night operation which necessitated radio silence, and I regret that after it took off from its base at 7.10 p.m. on the 10th April, 1945, nothing further was heard of or from it.
I note your remarks concerning Russian occupation of the area in which your son was flying and have to advise that although the Russians occupied Eastern Germany, they did not extend their occupation to the Leipzig area.
According to the information available to this Department, the American 1st Army captured Leipzig on 18th April, 1945, and the area is now occupied by both British and American Troops.
I fully sympathise with you in your desire for definite information concerning your late son, and regret that at present nothing further is known of the casualty. Permit me to assure you that should any information, however meagre, becomes available at a later date, I will write to you again.
May I extend to you and your wife, the understanding sympathy of this Department in the sad loss you have suffered.
Yours faithfully

18 January 1946 – Department of Air Minute Paper from the Deceased Personnel Section, for Area Finance Officer, Melbourne ……….. (quote)

Subject F/O A.D.J.BALL (427182) Deceased
Hereunder are particulars for the assistance of the authorized person in determining, under the provisions of War Service estates Act 1942-1945 and the Regulations thereunder, the person properly entitled to the private effects of the above-named.
Executor – Mother
Date of last Will – 26th November 1942
Relevant information – BALL, Dorothy Louisa (sic, Louise),sole beneficiary, Mother, 43 Bourke St., Leederville WA.

25 January 1946 – Disposal of Casualty Effects, signed by Officer in Charge, Casualty Section.

Zone of Casualty ….. UK
No. …. 427182   Rank ….. F/O    Name ……… BALL, Alfred Desmond John
Deceased: …… Presumed Death with effect from 10/4/45; Single
Casualty effects held at Repository Store at: ……. (blank)
Next of Kin: ….. Mr F.A.Ball     Relationship: ….. Father
Last known address: …… 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, WA.
WILL POSITION AS AT: 27 November 1945
Will: 26th November 1942
Executrix & beneficiary: Mother, Dorothy Louise Ball, 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, WA.
RECOMMEND THAT EFFECTS BE FORWARDED TO: ……. Executrix & Sole Beneficiary, Mother, Mrs Dorothy Louisa (sic, Louise) Ball, 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, WA.
DISPOSAL AUTHORISED: ……… As recommended above
Signed by Adjustments Officer on 23 January 1946, and counter-signed by Officer in Charge, Casualty Section on 25 January 1946.

16 April 1946 – Hand-written letter from Mrs D.L.Ball to The Secretary, Department of Air, RAAF Headquarters Melbourne ……. (quote)

Dear Sir
I am writing once more regarding the personal effects of my son.
F/O A.D.J.Ball 427182. On making further inquiries at Air Force Headquarters Perth, I was told that these were now in Melbourne. They advised me to write requesting them to be forwarded to me.
I would be very grateful indeed if this could be done as soon as possible.
Yours faithfully
Mrs D.L.Ball

29 April 1946 – Deposit Receipt 21187 for 1 steel trunk of effects belonging to F/O A.D.J.Ball 427182, signed by RAAF Central Kit Store. The personal effects list was countersigned as being checked on 30 April 1946.

The list is headed – S.S. ”Waiwera” Case 1182 Tin Trunk. The list is considerable & includes ………….
1 damaged Olympic watch and 1 leather wrist watch strap and cover;
1 cigarette holder, 1 cigarette lighter,1 leather tobacco pouch and 2 pipes;
1 damaged Hawker Box Camera, 3 films, 1 photo folder, bundle of photos, negatives and postcards;
1 cycle pump, 1 damaged  cycle pump connection, 2 cycle cotter pins, 1 cycle repair outfit,1 cycle head lamp, 1 cycle inner tube, 2 padlocks, 2 locking bars 2 leather straps;
1 leather toilet bag containing a range of toiletry items, 3 safety razors and 1 Valuet razor strop, 1 shaving  brush, nail files, scissors, tweezers, combs, hair and clothes and boot brushes, soap container, 4 toothbrushes, a 2nd zip toilet bag;
various personal items including 1 sheath-knife/dagger in case, 1 pocket knife, 1 bakelite paper knife, 1 torch and 1 torch case and 8 spare globes, 1 medallion on a chain, 4 mascots, 2 souvenir coins, 10 keys on chain, 8 keys, 1 money belt, 1 bill fold, 1 leather wallet, 13 clothes pegs, 9 buttons, 1 ‘Housewife’, 2 face washers, 7 towels, 1 coat hanger;
1 pack of playing cards, 1 tennis ball, 5 booklets, 1 map, 1 address book, 1 bundle of views, menus, invitations, religious cards, book of deposit slips;
1 diary (empty), 1 Prayer Book, 1 Bible;
1 inhaler (was he an Asthmatic?);
Clothing items – 2 pr braces, 2 studs, 3 collar pins, 2 pr sandshoes, 1 pr gym shoes, 2 pr shoes, 2 pr black boots, 34 socks, 4 ties, 40 handkerchiefs, 1 pr swim trunks, 1 pr khaki K.D. shorts, 1 pr P.T. shorts, 16 collars, 1 greatcoat, 3 khaki K.D. shirts, 1 raincoat, 4 blue shirts, 7 singlets, 11 prs drawers/trunks, 1 pr pyjama trousers, 4 suits pyjamas, 2 pr S.D. trousers;
Uniform items – including 1 F/S cap and badge, 2 tunics with Pilots brevets, 1 RAF brooch;
1 holdall, 1 cloth bag, 2 bakelite containers.
Additional Note – 1 Cycle, frame No. 2747 retained at Unit pending disposal instructions (see previous correspondence re bicycle).
Post Office Savings Bank Book, Cannon Place, Kings Road 8827, one cheque book 24 cheques Nos. 595681/704 Barclays Bank, York extracted and forwarded by Unit to RAAF Overseas H.Q. London.
Cash amounting to £5.1.1d and stamps to the value of 2/8d found amongst the effects has been credited to his service account.
One Book of cheque book counterfoils and one photo extracted and forwarded RAAF Overseas H.Q. London.

(Note : there are 3 separate effects lists in the Casualty File –
1. an original handwritten list possibly taken when the effects were gathered by the “Standing Committee of Adjustment” soon after Pilot Ball was posted as Missing – The handwritten list also noted that a bundle of correspondence had also been extracted, most likely for checking by the official Censors. There is no record as to whether that correspondence and photo was returned to Mr & Mrs Ball;
2. A typewritten list with the “Additional Notes” as listed in the 29 April 1946 entry above;
3. A re-typed list, with carbon copy which was sent to Mrs D.L.Ball for receipt and return. This list included those items detailed on the 2nd list, but without the “Additional Notes”.)

8 May 1946 – Casualty File Minute Sheet Entry 13 from RAAF Central Repository Kit Store
“Personal effects ref to encl 41A.B sent to Dyn ……. for delivery by Goods ….….. to 5 P.D. Perth onward delivery to Mrs D.L.Ball …..” (partly illegible, assumed that personal effects were sent by Goods Rail from Melbourne to Perth.)

9 May 1946 – Letter from Officer in Charge, Central Repository Kit Store, West Melbourne to Mrs D.L.Ball …….. (quote)

RAAF 166/5/1064(41A)
Dear Madam
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 16th April, 1946, concerning the personal effects of your late son Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, and desire to inform you that these effects have been received by the Royal Australian Air Force, Central Repository, West Melbourne, from the United Kingdom, and are being forwarded to you under separate cover.
I shall be glad if you will kindly acknowledge receipt of the effects referred to by signing the form of receipt endorsed on the duplicate copy of the inventory and returning same to this Headquarters in due course,
Yours faithfully
Officer in Charge, Central Repository.

5 June 1946 – Inventory signed by Mrs D.L.Ball with added comment from her “Many Thanks”.
Inventory titled 1 tin trunk containing 1 suitcase, then included all those items as detailed in the 29 April 1946 entry above, but excluded those listed under the “Additional Notes” category (hence Mrs D.L.Ball’s letter received by the RAAF on 11 June 1946 below.)

June 1946 – Undated letter from Mrs D.L.Ball, stamped as received by RAAF on 11 June 1946 ……….  (quote)

Dear Sir
Would you be so kind as to see, why my Son pay Book and bank Book has not been forward on to me, as Dad & I would like very much to have them.
With many thanks
Yours faithfully
Mrs D.L.Ball
My Son No. 427182
F.O. Ball, A.D.J.
(There is no record of any reply to this letter in the Casualty File, and it is unknown if Mrs Ball ever received her son’s Pay Book and Bank Book.)

21 April 1947 – Hand-written letter from Mrs D.L.Ball to The Officer-in-Charge, Casualty Section, RAAF Melbourne …… (quote)

Dear Sir
Many months have passed since I received the personal belongings of my son F/O Ball A.D.J. (427182) who has been presumed killed over Leipzig, Germany.
Since then I have had no word from you and I would like to know if you have found out anything further. I would be very grateful for any information you could send me.
Thanking you
Yours sincerely
Mrs D.L.Ball

2 May 1947 – Letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section, Department of Air, Melbourne to Mrs D.L.Ball …… (quote)

RAAF 166/5/1064(44A)
Dear Madam
With reference to your letter dated 21st April, 1947, I regret to inform you that no information has yet been received from the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit in Germany as to the ultimate fate of your late son, Flying Officer A.D.J.Ball.
You may be assured, however, that as soon as any information is received it will be conveyed to you without delay.
Yours faithfully

30 September 1947 – Exhumation of bodies of crew from cemetery at Zaasch.

2 October 1947 – Re-burial of bodies in British War Cemetery, Heerstrasse, Berlin, Plot IV, Row Z, Graves 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

14 October 1947 – Investigation Report from Berlin Detachment, No.4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit, RAF Germany – this report details the location, exhumation, identification and reburial of the crew. Body 2 was identified as that of F/O A.Ball by his “Pilot’s brevet” and allocated Grave 9 in Plot IV, Row Z. The other crew members were also individually identified and allocated individual graves.

1 March 1948 – Graves Registration Form 135671 F/O A.D.J.BALL, Aus/427182 462 Squadron RAAF, date of death presumed 10/04/1945, re-interred in the British War Cemetery (Heerstrasse), in the city of Berlin, Germany, Plot IV, Row Z, Grave No. 9 on 2 Oct 1947. The receipt for the Registration Form is signed and dated 25 March 1948 with notation “No previous burial advice received or passed on to N.O.K.”.
(F/O Ball’s grave 4.Z.9 lies between that of his Navigator Flight Sergeant Neil Vernon Evans 436113 RAAF, Grave reference 4.Z.8; and Wireless Operator Warrant Officer Ronald Reginald Taylor, 432346 RAAF, Grave reference 4.Z.10. The seven graves of Pilot Ball and his crew are located side by side in plots 4.Z.7 to 4.Z.13 – please visit the Berlin Graves page.)

17 March 1948 – Casualty File Minute Sheet Entry 14
“Commission Form fwd to Mr F.A.Ball, 43 Bourke St. Leederville, WA.”
(No covering written correspondence on this date to indicate what this Form was about, or if it was the Graves Registration Form of 1 March 1948. CORRECTION – date corrected from 8 May 1946 to 17 March 1948. After collating information from the Service and Casualty Files of Bomb Aimer F/O Murray Frank, it is now apparent that this entry in F/O Ball's file refers to the despatch of the "Commission of Pilot Officer" granted to Alfred Desmond John Ball on 14 August 1944. An almost identical entry dated 12 March 1946 in F/O Murray Frank's file, followed by the receipt dated 26 April 1946, and signed by Murray's wife, clearly refers to the Commission of Pilot Officer granted to Murray Frank on 9 March 1944. There is no receipt for the F/O Ball's Commission signed by his father in F/O Ball's Service or Casualty Files.)

12 April 1948 – Letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section to Mr F.A.Ball …… (quote)

RAAF 166/5/1064(47A)
Dear Sir
I refer to previous communications concerning your late son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, and now advise that a report of his burial has been received from the War Office, London.
The report states that as a result of investigations carried out in the Zaasch Cemetery it was established that the remains of your son and the other members of his crew who had lost their lives were interred there. Zaasch is situated approximately 14 miles north east of Halle, Germany.
The remains of your son and his comrades have now been re-interred in the Berlin (Heerstrasse) British Military Cemetery, Germany. Your son is buried in Plot IV, Row Z, Grave No. 9 which is adjacent to the graves of his comrades. The re-interment was carried out by the British Graves Registration Service in accordance with the policy of concentrating the graves of service personnel into permanent British Military Cemeteries to allow better facilities for their perpetual care and maintenance by the Imperial War Graves Commission.
Your son’s grave has been marked with a temporary cross inscribed with his name and service particulars. At a later date the Imperial War Graves Commission will write to you in order to ascertain your wishes concerning the inscription on the headstone to be erected to your son’s memory.
It is advised that no details have been received concerning the circumstances surrounding the crash of the aircraft and the subsequent recovery and burial of the bodies of your son and the deceased members of the crew. However, should any further information be received it will be conveyed to you without delay.
Permit me to assure you of the constant sympathy of this Department in the great loss which you have suffered.
Yours faithfully

12 April 1948 – Letter from The Secretary, Casualty Section to Miss J.Little ……
RAAF 166/5/1064(46A) ……….. (wording similar to letter of same date to Mr Ball).

5 July 1948 – Letter from RAAF Overseas Headquarters, Canberra House, London to The Secretary, Air Board, Melbourne forwarding a copy of Report No.4 Missing Research and Enquiry Unit dated 14 Oct 1947 relating to the recovery of the remains of the crew and means of identification. The letter also confirmed the receipt of the final graves registration forms as per the report (see 14 Oct 1947 entry, and 1 March 1948 entry above). It also added that Air Ministry had accepted Graves 11 and 12 respectively for Sergeant Brookes & Flying Officer Heggarty.

26 July 1948 – Letter from The Secretary, Air Board Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball ……………… (quote)

RAAF 166/5/1064(49A)
Dear Sir
I refer to this Department’s letter dated 12th April, 1948, concerning your late son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, and now advise that a report has been received from the Missing, Research and Enquiry Service operating in Germany.
The report, which is based on interrogation of local residents and investigations carried out at the Zaasch cemetery, states that your son’s aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire, exploded in the air and crashed at Zaasch. The severity of the explosion was such that wreckage was scattered over a wide area.
The report adds that the bodies of your son and the other six members of the crew who lost their lives were recovered from the wreckage by the Germans, and interred in a communal grave in the Zaasch Cemetery.
Following exhumation it was possible to establish the individual identification of your son and the other six members and their remains were re-interred in adjacent graves in the Berlin (Heerstrasse) British Military Cemetery. It is confirmed that your son is now buried in Plot IV, Row Z, Grave No. 9.
It is sincerely hoped that you will derive some small comfort from this more definite information concerning the sad loss of your son.
Yours faithfully

5 August 1948 – Letter from The Secretary, Air Board, Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball
RAAF 166/5/1064(50A)
The letter refers to previous correspondence dated 12 April 1948 (as above). This letter is almost identical to that of 26 July 1948 (as above) and concludes …………. (quote)

“You are again assured of the constant sympathy of this Department in your great loss.”

2 September 1949 – Letter from The Secretary, Air Board Melbourne to Mr F.A.Ball …… (quote)

RAAF 166/5/1064(51A)
Dear Sir
I refer to previous communications concerning your late son, Flying Officer Alfred Desmond John Ball, who was laid to rest in the Berlin (Heerstrasse) British Military Cemetery, Germany.
A photograph of his grave is enclosed herewith.
The cross depicted in this photograph is of a temporary nature only, and is to be replaced later by a permanent headstone to be erected by the Imperial War Graves Commission which is responsible for the maintenance in perpetuity of the graves of deceased servicemen.
Yours faithfully
(No copy of this original photograph is available, however A.D.J.Ball's younger sister remembers the photo well. The temporary cross would have been similar to that on the grave of the crew’s Flight Engineer, Sergeant Frederick Brookes. A photo supplied by Fred's nephew may be seen on the Brookes page. A similar photo of the temporary cross on the grave of Navigator F/Sgt Neil Vernon Evans may be seen on the Evans page.)

There are no further documents in the Casualty File.
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Headstone Inscription for Flying Officer A.D.J.Ball, 427182 RAAF
Grave reference 4.Z.9 (photo on graves_Berlin)

(RAAF logo)
FLYING OFFICER
A.D.J. Ball
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
10 APRIL 1945 AGE 20

PEACEFULLY HE RESTS
ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS
MUM DAD TOOTS AND MAL

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details
Name: Alfred Desmond John BALL
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment: Royal Australian Air Force
Age: 20
Date of Death: 10/04/1945
Service No: 427182
Additional information: Son of Frederick Arthur and Dorothy Louise Ball, of Leederville, Western Australia
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave reference: 4.Z.9
Cemetery: Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery
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Medals & Badges
28 July 1943 – Awarded Flying Badge at 7 S.F.T.S.
(No mention is made of War Medals in either the Service or Casualty File for A.D.J.Ball, however it is presumed that he would have been eligible for the following medals which were listed in the files of his deceased RAAF crew.)
1939-45 Star
France and Germany Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
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Australian War Memorial
Roll of Honour – Alfred Desmond John Ball
Service number: 427182
Rank: Flying Officer (FO)
Unit: 462 Squadron
Service: RAAF
Conflict: 1939-1945
Date of Death: 10 April 1945
Place of Death: Germany
Cause of Death: Flying Battle
Source: A.W.M.148 Roll of Honour Cards, 1939-1945 War, Air Force
Alfred Desmond John Ball’s name is located at panel 109 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial.
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Genealogy of BALL Family
Genealogists and Ball Families please note that no Certificates have been obtained by this page's author, but the information has been confirmed and/or corrected after contact was established with Alf's younger sister, and also with Alf's second cousins in South Australia. Details of living family members have been kept private.
Genealogy References
Online – Ancestry website for births, deaths and marriages, Electoral Rolls, and Post Office Directories; West Australian Government website www.bdm.dotag.wa.gov.au (Pioneer index – births 1841-1932, deaths 1841-1965; marriages 1841-1936); South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Soc. Inc. website www.saghs.org.au (Newspaper Deaths, Funerals, Lest We Forget & Memorials).
CDs – Marriage Index of West Australia 1915-1933 ISBN 1-876815-16-7 June 2005; South Australian Births Registrations 1907-1928 ISBN 1-920-7457-04x Feb 2005;
Microfiche – West Australia marriages 1841-1896 and individual years from 1905 to 1925. New South Wales marriages 1889-1918; assorted micro fiche of births and deaths in West Australia, South Australia, and New South Wales.
World War I Nominal Roll, Australian War Memorial, and National Archives of Australia.
Emails and phone conversations with members of the Ball family, in Western Australia and South Australia.

Alfred Desmond John BALL.
Birth – 11 April 1924 Perth WA; no birth record located except for one with the same name in 1944;
Death – presumed 10 April 1945 Zaasch Germany;
Son of Frederick Arthur BALL and Dorothy Louise BALL; brother of Malcolm and Dorothy; fiancé of Miss Jennifer LITTLE.

Malcolm Brine BALL, brother of Alfred Desmond John BALL.
Birth – Registration No 1201, Registration District Perth, Registration Year 1931 (age 14 as at 25 June 1945 – refer to letter from Mrs Ball to RAAF on this date); named as Mal on the Headstone on his brother’s grave in the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery;
Listed in 1954 Electoral Roll living at 43 Bourke St Leederville, Perth with his parents, occupation in 1954 was ‘Turner’.
Marriage – 6 February 1954; four daughters.
Death – aged 80, in late December 2011.

Dorothy BALL, younger sister of Alfred Desmond John BALL.
Nick-named 'Toots' by older brother Alf, and listed as Toots on Alf's Berlin Grave Headstone.
Married; 2 daughters.

A.D.J.Ball's Father – Frederick Arthur BALL.
Birth – 22 April 1898, Registration No 4594, Registration District Toodyay, WA, Registration year 1898, father Arthur, mother Emily BYRNE
Marriage – 17 November 1918, after Banns, at the parish church in the parish of Christ Church, Southwark, London, record 271 page 136, aged 20, bachelor, a Soldier in the A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force) stationed at Tidworth, Hants., father Arthur Ball, a farmer. Frederick's WWI Service File includes a Certified Extract of his marriage certificate, A.I.F. Reference No. M.E. 6087.
Death – Registration No 2918, Registration District Perth, WA, Registration Year 1971, age 73; father Arthur, mother Emily; from the death record his year of birth was 1898 ±1 year which matches his birth record.
World War I – served as Private and later 2/Cpl. in the 43rd Battalion, 11th Brigade; also 5th Bttn; also 12th Bttn; and lastly the Aust. Provost Corps; service Number 2544B, enlisted 5 June 1916 aged 18; embarked for overseas service on 9 November 1916 on HMAT "Argyllshire"; served in Belgium and France; wounded; transferred to hospital in England on 14 February 1918; embarked from UK for Australia on 8 August 1919 on H.M.T. "Katoomba" with wife; disembarked 15 September 1919; discharged 30 October 1919; received British War Medal No. 15402, Victory Medal No. 15048, and 19?? Star (stamp partially obscured in original file).

A.D.J.Ball's Mother – Dorothy Louise BALL (née PATIENCE).
Birth – 27 July 1896, in London.
Baptism – 12 August 1896, in the Parish of Christ Church, Southwark, London; parents Ernest Edward and Elizabeth PATIENCE, of 9 Knight's Place, Holland St (page 100 in the parish record).
Marriage – 17 November 1918, as listed above, aged 22, a spinster, of 9 Knight's Place, London; father Ernest Edward PATIENCE, a cocoa presser.
Dorothy and her future husband Frederick met while he was a Soldier with the AIF, stationed in southern England during 1918.
Death – Registration No 1571, Registration District Perth, Registration Year 1962, age 65; father Ernest, mother Elizabeth; from the death record Dorothy's year of birth was 1897 ±1 year, which matches the birth record above.

Frederick Arthur BALL is listed in the 1st 1925 electoral roll living at 178 Colin St., district of West Perth, occupation “Labourer”. He is listed in a 2nd 1925 electoral roll living at 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, Perth with occupation Stone Polisher so the family must have relocated sometime in 1925. He is listed at 43 Bourke Street in the 1931, 1936, 1937, 1943, 1949, and 1954 electoral rolls. His occupation from 1925 until 1954 was “Stone Polisher”.
Dorothy Louise BALL is similarly listed in the 1st 1925 electoral roll living at 178 Colin St., district of West Perth, occupation Married. She is listed in the 2nd 1925 electoral roll living at 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, Perth, and at the same address in the 1931, 1936, 1937, 1943, 1949, and 1954 electoral rolls, On all, her occupation is ‘Married’.
Post Office Records of 1926 list BALL, Fredk A, 43 Bourke St, Ldvlle. This Directory listed 47 addresses for people with the surname Ball, including Frederick’s his father Arthur at Northam.

A.D.J.Ball's Paternal Grandparents – Arthur and Emily BALL (names from birth and death records of Frederick Arthur BALL).
Arthur BALL – death Registration No 22, Registration District Northam, Registration Year 1950, age and parents not recorded.
Emily BALL, née BYRNE – death Registration No 93, Registration District Swan, Registration Year 1959, age 90, giving a birth year of approximately 1869, parents not recorded. Arthur and Emily moved to Perth from the Angaston area of South Australia after their marriage, leaving behind a large family of siblings and step-siblings in South Australia.

Children of Arthur BALL and Emily (née BYRNE).
Kathleen Elizabeth BALL, Registration No 1211, Registration District Northam, Registration year 1896
Frederick Arthur BALL, Registration No 4594, Registration District Toodyay, Registration year 1898
Alfred Charles BALL, Registration No 5321, Registration District Wongamine, Registration year 1901
Dorothy Avis BALL, Registration No 4529/7045, Registration District Northam, Registration year 1905

A.D.J.Ball's Maternal Grandparents – Ernest Edward PATIENCE and Elizabeth PATIENCE, from London UK.

A.D.J.Ball's Paternal Great Grandparents – Alfred BALL and Elizabeth Jane (née DOWDEN/DAWDEN) married 15 June 1861 and produced eleven children, with Arthur being the eldest. Elizabeth Jane died on 9 October 1885 aged 42, and Alfred aged 45 remarried on 1 February 1886 to Amelia BYRNE, with a further six children of this marriage. Alfred had emigrated from Somerset to South Australia in 1858 and settled on a farm near Warooka, SA in 1871.

Fiancée of A.D.J.Ball 1945 – Jennifer LITTLE, 362 Anzac Highway, Mornington, Adelaide, SA. Jennifer visited the Ball family in Perth after the war and stayed for 2 to 3 months over 1946/1947.
Birth – Jennifer Constance LITTLE, 16 March 1926, birth place North Kensington, Registration District NOR, Registration Book 169A, Page 511, father Albert LITTLE, mother Ida Mary Scott BAKER.
Marriage – not known.
Birth of older brother of Jennifer – Albert Scott LITTLE, 26 February 1922, birth place Wayville, Registration District ADE, Registration Book 91A, Page 450, father Albert LITTLE, mother Ida Mary Scott BAKER.

Death – MALONEY née LITTLE, Jennifer Anne (Jenny), Source date: A 1986 (Is this the former Fiancée? – possibly not due to the different middle name). If you are a relative or friend of Alfred Desmond John BALL's former Fiancée Jennifer, please make contact.
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Links with Rear Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd

On a list of crew contact details in M.J.Hibberd's personal papers – P/O Ball (pre-promotion to F/O) Father: Mr F.A.Ball, 43 Bourke Street, Leederville, Perth, West Aust; and Fiancée Miss Jennifer Little, 362 Anzac Highway, Mornington, Adelaide, Sth Aust.

In June 1944, then F/Sgt A.D.J.Ball and Sgt M.J.Hibberd formed a 6-man Bomber crew with Evans, Frank, Tait and Taylor after posting to 27 O.T.U., based at Church Broughton. There they trained together in Wellington Bombers. The crew remained together through further training at 41 Base Acaster Malbis, then to 74 Base Marston Moor 1652 H.C.U., training in Halifaxes. Their final posting together was at 462 Squadron based at Foulsham Norfolk.

One example of the close co-operation between Pilot Ball and Rear Gunner Hibberd was clear from their actions on an Operation on the 24 March 1945, with the Rear Gunner firing his guns and claiming hits, while at the same time probably giving information to his Pilot to allow evasive action.
24 March 1945 Log Book – “Ops No 4 – Halifax III Z5-S, Pilot F/O Ball, Köln (= Cologne) Special Duties with Special Operator. Spoof. No Flak. Fighter FW190 Attacked & Followed. Fired 800 Rounds & Claimed Hits. Evasive Action carried out. Flight time 5 hours and 10 minutes.”
24 March 1945 Sqdn ORB Form 540 – “No. 100 Group was the only Group operating on that night, and five of the crews were provided from this Squadron, TWO of these were new crews on their first operational flight, a short trip to the RUHR area providing a valuable experience for new crews. All completed a successful sortie. MZ.308 “S”/462 – (Captain P/O Ball, A.D.) when in the OPLADEN area was attacked by an Enemy fighter aircraft, which was identified by the rear-gunner as a FW.190. The enemy fighter closed in to 400 yards to attack, and the rear-gunner opened fire, hits were observed in the neighbourhood of the engine, and the FW.190 is claimed as damaged.”

Alf’s death was presumed as being 10 April 1945, the day before his 21st Birthday on 11 April 1945. In her letter of 22 May 1945 to Squadron Leader L.G.Scharer, his mother Mrs F.A.Ball asked “Would you be so kind as to let me know if Alf had his Birthday Party in London.” Alf and the crew were all on 7 days leave from 3 April to 9 April 1945. It is now known that Alf did have a celebration of his 21st Birthday at the Dixon's home during his last leave just prior to his last flight, with his family being informed of this by letter after his death. The Dixon family were not related to the Ball family, but had an "open house" to service personnel, including Alf Ball. It is not known if the rest of the crew also attended Alf's 21st celebrations, however Rear Gunner F/Sgt M.J.Hibberd is known to have been dancing at the Trocadero in London on the 9th April, the night before the crash (ref Luke Lazarides, ex Gatton College student 1946-1947). Maybe the Crew did celebrate Alf’s 21st Birthday in London while they were on leave, perhaps meeting at the Trocadero. I would like to think so.

According to M.J.Hibberd (via his Widow), Alf had taken his duties as Pilot and Captain of the crew very seriously and was mature well beyond his young age. He frequently checked on his crew’s well-being and made sure they were aware of what was right and proper. His ability as an Airman and Pilot also ensured he was recommended for and received a Commission.

After the War, crew survivor and Rear Gunner M.J.Hibberd received an invitation to the Perth wedding of Malcolm Ball (Alf’s younger brother), which was held on 6 February 1954. However because of the distance from his home in south-east Queensland to Perth in Western Australia, as well as having a young wife, a small child and a new-born baby, M.J.Hibberd was unable to attend Malcolm's wedding.
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