Artefact of the Month Archive

A WALKING STICK FROM THE WESTERN FRONT

June, 2010

When the First World War started, Albert Ball enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment. After training as a pilot, he was posted to the Royal Flying Corps’ No 13 Squadron in France in February 1916, but was transferred to No 11 Squadron on 7 May. He rapidly achieved success gaining his first victory in a Bristol scout (fighter aircraft) and then ten more flying Nieuport scouts. Late in August he was transferred to No 60 Squadron and by the end of September his claims had risen to 31.

By the time he returned to England for a rest in October 1916, he had been awarded a DSO and Bar and a Military Cross. He returned to France as a Flight Commander in No 56 Squadron, equipped with the new SE5 aircraft. By the 6 May 1917 his total had reached 44. The next day he failed to return and was posted missing in action. He was later found to have crashed to his death but the cause has never been adequately explained.

He was recommended for a second Bar to his DSO at the time of his death, aged 20, and was posthumously awarded the VC on 8 June 1917.

Displayed in the Museum is a walking stick made by his fitter W G Noyce from a wing strut of a crashed Nieuport flown by Captain Ball.

THE WALKING SICK MADE FROM A WING STRUT OF A CRASHED NIEUPORT SCOUT AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY CAPTAIN ALBERT BALL CAN BE SEEN WITH HIS FITTER’S WARTIME MEDALS IN THE MUSEUM’S TANGMERE HALL.

Talks by Tangmere

The Museum is able to offer speakers to interested groups or societies on a range of subjects connected with the history of operations at RAF Tangmere and other military aviation subjects.

Further details of the full range of presentations and the availability of speakers can be obtained by calling the museum on 01243 790090, by emailing your interest to director@tangmere-museum.org.uk or by letter marked for the attention of the Director.

Museum Development

The Museum car park has been enlarged and re-laid and audio guides provided with the assistance of LEADER – the European Agricultural Fund for Redevelopment.

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