Laid to rest at Ipswich Old Cemetery.


Born: 1899, Coventry, Warwickshire.

Died: 2nd July 1917; age 18; Bayonet wounds – accident – Foxhall Heath Camp, Ipswich. Served 144 days.

Residence: 31, Spencer Street, Hill Fields, Coventry, Warwickshire.

Enlistment Details: Location: Coventry; Date: 9th February 1917; age: 17 years & 349 days; Occupation: Engineer Turner – Fitter. Next of Kin: father – Thomas Ball, of 31, Spencer Street, Hill Fields, Coventry.


Rank: Driver/Private; Service Number: 331274.

Regiment: Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion.


Grave Reference:


Ipswich Old Cemetery,





1901   20, Albert Street, St. Peter, Coventry, Warwickshire.


Ernest was 2 years old and living with his parents & siblings.

Thomas Bernard Ball, 39, a Watch Finisher, born Coventry, Warwickshire.

Emily Ball (nee Oxley), 39, born Congleton, Cheshire.

Herbert Ball, 13, an Iron Turner – Fitter, born Coventry.

Ethel Ball, 8, born Coventry.


1911   31, Spencer Street, Hill Fields, Coventry, Warwickshire.


Ernest was 12 years old and living with his parents, siblings & widowed, maternal grandmother.

Thomas, 48, a Watch Jewel Maker – worker – at home.

Emily, 49, a Silk Ribbon Weaver.

Herbert, 23, an Engineer Turner.

Ethel, 18, a Watch Jewel Maker.

Elizabeth Oxley, 80, born Coventry.


Soldiers’ Effects to Thomas B. Ball – father.


On the 19th June 1920, Thomas Ball, received the Memorial Plaque & Scroll, at his home, 31, Spencer Street, Hill Fields, Coventry.


Coroners Inquest held on the 4th July 1917.



At the Ranelagh Road Hospital, Ipswich, on Tuesday, the Borough Coroner investigated the tragic death of a young private names Ernest Ball, who was killed while at bayonet practice on July 2nd. The deceased was 181/2 years of age and hailed from Coventry.

The accident was described by Sergt. John Plimmer. On Monday afternoon the sergeant was instructing a class, which included the deceased, in a simple form of bayonet practice. The men had to leave one trench, make a point at some sacks ten paces further on, and then drop into another trench. They had done this once, and after pointing out one or two minor faults, witness told them to do it again, warning them to remain in line and to keep correct distance from each other. Witness stood at the sacks and saw that each man passed to the left of his sack correctly. After that he saw the men go into the trench ten yards further on. They were not quite in line, and the deceased seemed rather late. Just as he descended the sergeant heard someone shout “Oh!” He ran down to the trench immediately, and as he jumped into it Pte. Phipps shouted: “He has jumped on my bayonet.” He found the deceased lying with a wound in the in the right side of his throat, and bleeding profusely from the mouth. He got him out of the trench and sent for medical aid, which arrived almost immediately. Witness had taken every precaution to avert an accident, and if the deceased had alighted in his proper place fatality would not have happened. Witness had had considerable experience in bayonet training, and had never previously known a fatal accident of this kind. Prior to the accident he had complimented the deceased on his good work – he was a smart little chap. He passed the sacks at his proper distance, and he must have deviated to the right in the few yards remaining. He was, no doubt, on top of the bayonet before the man using it could place it in the proper position. He believed Phipps got in his allotted place all right.

Pte. Ernest Charles Phipps, corroborating the sergeant’s evidence said that the first thing he knew after jumping into the trench was that the deceased was on his bayonet. The bayonet went three or four inches into the deceased’s neck, he bled very copiously.

Lieut. Herbert John Thompson, in charge of the parade, which included the bayonet practice, said he was not watching the party under Sergt. Plimmer at the time of the accident, but as soon as he knew of it he hurried to the spot and found the deceased lying unconscious, the doctor arrived two minutes later. In his opinion the accident was the result of an error of judgement on the part of the deceased. He was very intelligent, and would understand exactly what he had to do. Probably he was over-keen, and did not look into the trench before he jumped into it; if he had done so of course he would have been able to avoid the bayonet. There might have been a little hillock in the way, so that he swerved to avoid it; but he certainly ought to have looked into the trench before he jumped.

Capt. Ambrose Cyril Wilson, R.A.M.C., (305 Field Ambulance, Foxhall Heath Camp, Ipswich.) said that when he arrived on the scene shortly after the accident occurred he found the deceased on the ground, and from his blanched appearance and sighing respiration he had lost a lot of blood, the bright colour of which indicated arterial hemorrhage. He had 3 wounds: one to the right of the right nipple, where he thought, the bayonet entered; the second in the right collarbone, where it emerged again; and one on the right side of the neck. The last was the fatal one. Some of the deep arteries of the neck being severed. Death took place while the unfortunate was being conveyed to the Hospital.

P.-c. Matthews stated that the distance from sack to sack was three feet, and the sacks being two feet wide there would be five feet between each man and his neighbour after passing the dummies.

The Coroner, in a clear and pointed summing up, said that it seemed to him the deceased, who had been spoken very highly of, had miscalculated his distance. It was a very sad and distressing case, and they were glad to learn that it was the first any of the military witnesses have known to prove fatal. The Jury had to decide whether there had been any neglect or carelessness on the part of anybody. Every precaution seemed to have been taken, and nothing that could possibly be done after the accident seemed to have been omitted or delayed medical in being speedily forthcoming.

The Jury returned a verdict that death was the result of hemorrhage from a wound in the throat accidentally received, and that no blame attached to anyone.



The remains of Pte. Ernest Ball, the unfortunate young soldier whose death occurred in Ranelagh Road Military Hospital Monday week, the result of injuries received in bayonet practice, were laid to rest in Ipswich Cemetery on Friday afternoon, the deceased being accorded full military honours. Draped with the Union Jack, on which were laid the deceased’s cap and side arms, and some beautiful floral emblems, the coffin was borne from Ranelagh Road Hospital on a six horsed field gun-carried, supplied by the 353rd Artillery Brigade, by kind permission of Col. Lyons, the cortege being headed by the band of the Northumberland Fusiliers, playing the “Dead March” in “Saul.” Immediately behind the gun were the firing party and five buglers, then came the men of the deceased’s company. The funeral service in the church and the committal service at the graveside was conducted by Capt. the Rev. J.W. Giler?? chaplain to the 215th  Brigade. In addition to the father, mother, and two siblings of the deceased, there were present: Capt. Wright representing the officer commanding the Battalion Capt. Thomas and Lieuts. Thompson and Johns, of the deceased’s company. The coffin, of polished elm, with brass fittings, bore the inscription:- “Pte. Ernest Ball, Warwickshire Regiment, died July 2nd, 1917, aged 18 years.” Besides the family wreaths, floral tributes were sent by the officer commanding the battalion, and the officers, N.C.O.’s.,and men of the deceased’s company . The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Hastings and Son.



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