THE story of Albert Ball VC has been told many times and there are some good biographies, as well as academic papers and at least one PhD thesis on the subject of this young World War One pilot. This is a reprint of the 1994 book by the late Chaz Bowyer, itself a revised edition of the original published in 1977 and is printed on good paper and stitch bound, a great improvement on glued binding.
Anyone who has even vague knowledge of the very short life of this remarkable young man will know him to have secured a special place among his peers. Killed at the age of 20, he was one of the most outstanding pilots in the Royal Flying Corps and probably, in some respects, the most talented pilot flying both Nieuport 16 and S.E.5. Generally credited with more than 40 victories over enemy pilots, Albert Ball was a loner, preferring his violin and a well tended garden round his own small tent to the communal association many of his age sought so eagerly at squadron level. A son of Nottingham, he is remembered with affection by a city that served his memory well, the local museum testifying to that with a diverse display of memorabilia, and his death brought both shock and sadness to a nation already well used to toppled heroes.
Although this book is a reprint it is not reduced one jot by having it back in the publishing lists once more. It makes a rewarding read and for those who have not experienced it before, its author reminds us again that it was not the 'kill' score that distinguished Albert Ball but a stoic fighting spirit unique to the age in which this young man, with disarmingly boyish good looks, lived and fought in the skies over the Western Front. It makes for a good second read and is, if encountered for the first time, undoubtedly the best of the books available on this outstanding young pilot.
Paperback: 224 pages
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