Sergeant John Howard BALL

Service No: 408949
Born: Caulfield VIC, 2 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 21 June 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Breighton, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4785), Germany, 8 April 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Cyril Howard Ball and Lily May Ball, of Canterbury, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Leongatha VIC
Remembered: Panel 106, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 8-9 April 1943
Target: Duisburg
Total Force: Dispatched – 392, Attacking – 304
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 9, Attacking – 9; No. 466 Dispatched – 8, Attacking – 5; No. 467 Dispatched – 9, Attacking – 9
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 846
Total Aircraft Lost: 19
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 466 – 1

Of scarcely less importance was Duisburg, a city at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr Rivers, and the largest inland port in Europe. Besides acting as the transport centre for all the western Ruhr, Duisburg contained numerous highly-important industrial plants, most of which were subsidiary companies of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke . Accordingly five raids were made during the spring of 1943. The first two of these raids (March 26-27 and April 8-9) had disappointing results, both being launched above cloud with the aid of scattered sky markers.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 483, 484

Lancaster W4785 took off from RAF Breighton at 2111 hours on 8 April 1943 to attack Duisberg, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) bomb, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 540 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. Following post war enquiries it was established that the aircraft crashed at Meiderich on the North west bank of the River Ruhr, a few kms north north east of the target area. All the crew members had been killed.

The crew members of W4785 were:

Sergeant John Howard Ball (408949) (Pilot)
Sergeant George Granville Dobson (1090929) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Charles Edward James Frampton (658374) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Arthur Anderson Garven (403806) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Derek Milner Gray (1330750) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant William Corner Langley (1261372) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant David Gwynne Mordecai (1025415) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)

No. 466 Squadron lost Wellington HE155 (Pilot Officer Sidney Midgley Wood (143087) (RAFVR) (Pilot)) on 8 April 1943.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/5/115


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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