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Thread: Geoffrey Francis BALL, 89410

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    Default Geoffrey Francis BALL, 89410

    Hello

    I'm looking for any détails about Geoffrey Francis BALL, who joined in September 1939, commissionned with seniority 3rd December 1940, (officer service number 89410 even if London Gazette shows 89401). He was a LAC (905946) so I'm inclined to think he was commissionned at the same time he got his wings.

    I'm looking for his first posting(s). On 3rd November 1942 he claimed a Fw-190 destroyed while a Flying Officer with No. 257 Squadron.

    On 10th July 1943, he was posted away from 257 to No. 182 Squadron to take over "B" flight. He was shot down by Flak on 19th August 1943 and evaded capture for a few weeks. I have his "liberation report" and PoW questionnaire (WO 344) from Kew.

    I'm interested in any détails about him. He came from Sampford Arundel, near Taunton, Somerset.

    TIA

    Joss

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    Joss,
    A few things don’t quite fit together for this one!
    I have a Geoffrey Francis Ball b. 18 Jul 1923, d. Q4 1990 Reg Truro 1090 21 553 (from FMP) - if this is the guy?
    But I can’t get him to come up in England & Wales on FREEBMD. But FMP has am Overseas Birth of Geoffrey Francis Ball in 1923 Reg All Saints Church, Kirkee, Pune (then Poona). Lots of British/Indian military in Poona at the time. Kirkee is only 5 miles from the airfield.
    You have him Enlisting in Sept 1939 (my experimental date for the number was mid-October 1939 – and at Uxbridge.)
    The Enlistment month fits with his birthday – but he’s added 2 years to his age. He would only have been 16 on Enlistment!!! Many have lied about their ages! “Sorry, Sir, my Birth Certificate got left in India”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Joss,

    F/O Ball arrived to 257 Sqn (RAF Honiley) from the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit (MSFU), Speke, 20.05.1942.

    Regards

    Mojmir

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    ... and he had been with MSFU from May 1941.

    John Engelsted

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    Hello Joss
    I visited Geoff Ball at his home in Devon back in the 80s. He was still flying for an airline. He told me he lied about his age and was flying on ops before he was actually 18! I'll see if I can dig out any info. He features in that superb Charle E Brown colour photo of pilots in front of a 257 Sqn Typhoon.
    CT

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    Geoff Ball's Record of service. He was flying operationally with 247 Sqn when he was only 17 years old.

    Uxbridge 4 June 40
    3 ITW Hastings 8 June 40
    3 ITW Torquay 22 June 40
    9 EFTS Ansty 24 July 40
    8 FTS Montrose 20 Sept 40
    55 OTU Aston Down 28 Dec 40
    247 Sqn Roborough 18 Feb 41
    (also St Eval & Portreath)
    MSFU Farnborough 18 May 41
    MSFU Speke 20 May 41
    MSFU Abbotsinch 26 May 41
    MSFU Sydenham 25 June 41
    MSFU Dartmouth Nova Scotia 19 July 41
    257 Sqn Honiley 20 May 42
    (also High Ercall, Exeter, Bolt Head, Warmwell)
    1 PDC West Kirby 14 Feb 43
    257 Sqn Warmwell 23 Feb 43
    182 Sqn 124 Airfield New Romney 10 July 43

    Also attended the following courses
    1 Blind Approach School Watchfield 1 June 42 - 14 June 42
    Sabre engine course Acton 4 Feb 43 to 9 Feb 43
    Combined Ops course Troon 22 May 43 - 28 May 43

    CT

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    Hello

    Thank Peter, Mojmir, John and Chris for all your invaluable informations.

    I never suspected that he lied on his age when he joined. Peter, exact date quoted in his PoW questionnaire is 17th September 1939.

    He looks older than just Under 20 in the 257 Squadron colour picture, which was taken at Warmwell in May 1943. Famous picture indeed, showing a Burmese pilot in "Burma" Squadron.

    He's definitively a most interesting character !

    From Chris second message, it appears you had access to his log-book. Did he note the individual letter of Typhoon JP400, which was his regular mount during his time with 182 ?

    20 years ago, I corresponded and met Douglas COXHEAD, another 182 Squadron pilot from the same period.

    Thank you all for your help.

    Regards

    Joss

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    Quote Originally Posted by jossleclercq View Post
    Hello


    From Chris second message, it appears you had access to his log-book. Did he note the individual letter of Typhoon JP400, which was his regular mount during his time with 182 ?

    20 years ago, I corresponded and met Douglas COXHEAD, another 182 Squadron pilot from the same period.

    Thank you all for your help.

    Regards

    Joss
    Yes Joss, he did note code letters. JP400 was XM-U; it had arrived on the squadron on 30 June 1943. The ORB has him almost exclusively flying this aircraft (only ops recorded of course). His log, however, shows he flew V on 25 August and N on 13 August, both in the ORB as JP400. The N he flew was damaged by flak on that date and the Form 78 shows JP389 CatB on that date; Coxhead's log compared with the ORB confirms JP389 was indeed N.

    The Form 78 for JP389 shows that it was first allocated to 257 Sqn on 25 June 1943 and a transfer to 182 Sqn is not recorded (although it does appear in 182's ORB flown by other pilots). It would be tempting to suggest that Ball brought the Typhoon with him from 257 Sqn, however, it appears in the 182 Sqn ORB before the date he left 257 Sqn. But then as we have seen above, ORBs can be misleading...
    CT

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    Thanks Chris for the extra détails. Indeed ORBs or form 78s can be misleading.

    Sorry to have troubled you with the individual letter of JP400. I had it from your books, but you added détails about JP389 which are welcome. It was actually Dench's JP552 that eludes me, but it's a minor point as my research is focused on Ball.

    Thanks to you all again

    Joss

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    I'm afraid JP552 has eluded me too, Joss

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