Nottingham’s World War One flying hero was remembered on the 100th anniversary of his death in France by Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC), Veterans, Civic Dignitaries and the general public at a short service of remembrance in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.
Every year the 7th May is marked by a parade and service around the Memorial statue of Captain Albert Ball VC, the Nottingham born and educated Flying ace who was killed in action at 8 pm on that date.
Albert was warded the Victoria Cross for his heroic actions whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps in war torn France. He was also awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguish Service Order with two bars and was credited with 44 “kills”.
During his time in France, Captain Ball served with 56 Squadron and current members of the Squadron, now based at RAF Waddington, took part in the parade carrying and escorting the Squadron’s Standard.
Organised jointly by the Royal Air Force Association and the RAFAC, this annual event not only serves as a homage to Captain Ball but is a sad reminder to the young cadets that they are around the age that Albert was when he was fighting for his country. A point made by Duncan Weaver, Padre for the 7th Armoured Brigade based at Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, who led the service.
After the service of remembrance, the last post heralded a minutes silence. After the silence had been observed, wreaths were laid and the cadets, led by the band of the Rifles from Ruddington marched around the Castle grounds and past the saluting base where the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace, and the Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Mohammed Saghir, took the salute.
Before being dismissed by the Parade Commander, Squadron Leader Jodi Hudson, the cadets were inspected on the Castle Green by the Lord Mayor and the Lord Lieutenant.
Wing Commander Andy Pass, Officer Commanding South and East Midlands Wing said: “I am immensely proud of the cadets and the way they have conducted themselves. They are a credit to their squadrons and the City of Nottingham and I feel sure the cadets appreciate the occasion and have pride in being able to remember this local hero in this way”
There was a contingent of the Combined Cadet Force (RAF Sections) from Nottingham High School and Trent College, Long Eaton, where Captain Ball received his education.