Photograph discovered in the archives of the Green Howards Museum by Stuart Hodgson, with information from Nottinghamshire County Council’s website.
Second Lieutenant Oliver Ball was born in 1891 in Daybrook, Nottinghamshire. Both he and his brother, Walter were to die serving with the 10th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, which must have been a huge blow to his parents Alfred and Emma.
After attending school in Nottingham where he joined the OTC, Oliver was employed at the Nottingham head office of the Union of London and Smith’s Bank. On 28th September 1916 the 10th Battalion were in the trenches near Fricourt consolidating the ground they had recently gained. German shells fell on the positions on a continuous basis. At about 8pm the shelling became much heavier ont the front line positions and as a result 2nd Lieut Oliver Ball was killed by shrapnel. He is buried at Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs.
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Joseph (third from left) was born around 1884 in Ainderby Steeple near Northallerton in North Yorkshire. He was the eldest of five children to Thomas and Amelia. He would eventually end up living at East Witton where he worked on the Jervaulx estate. He married Agnes Kendray and they would have three children. Joseph was a fine athlete as witnessed on Coronation Day June 22nd 1911. In the fell race to the top of Witton Fell and back Joseph came first. His exploits were published in the parish magazine. Joseph enlisted at Middleham joining the 7th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion embarked for France on the 13th July 1915. It was during operations in February 1917 in an area of the Somme that heavy German artillery would take a heavy toll. A shell destroyed a cellar being used to house stretcher cases killing most of the men. One of those reported missing was Private Joseph Allen. His body was never found. Joseph’s name is commemorating on the Thiepval Memorial. A service was held at East Witton Church on the 3rd March. Tragically, one month after the service, Joseph’s widow Agnes died, aged 33, leaving three young orphans.
Mrs Drury of Richmond visited the museum to tell us about Jack Morley, her great uncle. Jack Morley was one of nine children of a hill farmer in Weardale, County Durham and a keen athlete. In 1914 he lived in Toronto, Canada whither he had emigrated and worked as a cabinet maker. When war broke out he returned to England, to his mother’s great joy, to join up in the Durham Light Infantry. One of his five brothers was Customs and Exciseman for Swaledale and Wensleydale, based in Richmond, near Catterick Camp where Jack did some training. Jack would ride over to Richmond to visit and would tie up his horse in the garden to the great delight of his nieces! Jack served in the 1915-1917 Salonica Campaign in northern Greece, at the time that city was badly burned. Jack organized the transport of supplies, mainly by mules through the hills up to the Struma Front. His height was 6’3” and together with his high-heeled riding boots and his high officer’s helmet, he made a commanding figure in securing the co-operation of the locals! In his time off he enjoyed shooting in the nearby Vardar Estuary marshes and brought home fine striped woollen socks run through with silver thread. The stamps from the postcards he sent home are still in a family stamp collection.
Judith Farrar visited the museum to tell us about Rifleman John Stoney, the uncle of her husband, Don. John enlisted as R/41447 Private J Stoney, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, and was attached to the 9th battalion, London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles). The final letter from John to his sister, Hilda still survives. The letter of 12th June mentions many things – a royal visit to Leeds, his hopes that his sister is selected for the school cricket team and the fact the locals in France ‘won’t even let us get water from their pumps.’ A key passage states ‘I was sorry to hear about the explosion at the munition works and hope the casualties are not so heavy as you say they are reported to be.’ He died tragically close to the end of the war, aged 18 on 25 August 1918 and is remembered at the Memorial in Vis-en-Artois.