Walter Ball was born on 18 March 1922 in Hesketh Bank. His father was John Richard Ball (b. 1881 in Hesketh Moss), a farm manager. His mother was Emily Woodfine (b. 1889, not known where). John and Emily were married in 1920 and they had two sons: John (b. 1920) and then Walter. In 1939, John snr was running the family farm in Hesketh Bank, but Emily and the two adult sons were living at 10 King Street, Lostock Hall. Emily was a housewife, John jnr was an engine cleaner at the loco sheds and Walter was a reacher-in working in the cotton mill.
Walter enlisted in the Army, serving in the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire). He was a private, with service number 3865873. He was posted to 1stBattalion. At the outbreak of the Second World War, 1st Battalion, the Loyal Regiment was part of 2nd Infantry Brigade, attached to the 1st Infantry Division. In September 1939 they were sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and remained there alongside the French Army until May 1940. The 1st Loyals participated in the fighting in France and Belgium in 1940, including acting as part of the rearguard for the Dunkirk evacuation. After Dunkirk they spent two years on home defence, but then returned to action as part of the British First Army, fighting in the North Africa Campaign, in the Tunisia Campaign in early 1943.
In November 1942, Allied forces were deployed to Tunisia for Operation Torch. The campaign began on 8 November 1942, when Commonwealth and American troops made a series of landings in Algeria and Morocco. The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. In the south, the Axis forces who had been defeated at El Alamein withdrew into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive.
Medjez-el-Bab was at the limit of the Allied advance in December 1942 and remained on the front line until the decisive Allied advances of April and May 1943. Walter Ball died during this campaign, on 31 March 1943. He was 21 years old.
Service Number: 3865873
Unit/Regiment: The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), 1stBn.
Date of death: 31/03/1943
Commemorated at: MEDJEZ-EL-BAB WAR CEMETERY, Tunisia
Memorial Reference: 15. C. 12.
Additional Information: Son of John Richard and Emily Ball, of Preston, Lancashire.