The Death of Fred Ball



The Death of Fred Ball


Details of the funeral of Sergeant Frederick Charles Ball (1921 - 1944, 1161312 Royal Air Force) in Leicester, attended by four of the crew, including (Sir) Michael Beetham. The tragedy brought Reg and Ena closer together and they agreed not to get married until he stopped flying.


Temporal Coverage



One handwritten sheet


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[underlined] THE DEATH OF FRED BALL [/underlined]
When Fred Ball our R.Gunner was killed, not baling out of our A/C when the wing was on fire, four members of our crew were made to attend his funeral at Birmingham.

Les Bartlet Bomb Aimer )
Reg Payne W/OP ) We were all ordered to attend
Jock Higgins Mid Upper ) his funeral at B.ham.
Michael Beetham Pilot )
Les & Jock came home with me to Kettering, and arranged to meet Michael Beetham on Leicester Station the next morning and the four of us would travel to B.ham on the train the next morning.

At Kettering we only had one bed for the three of us, and I dont [sic] think we had much sleep before the journey to B.ham.

Michael was waiting for us at the Leicester Rail Station and we all travelled to B.ham together.

We had a taxi to Fred Balls house and arrived before lunch time, just in time to stop Freds [sic] family from taking the lid of[sic] Freds [sic] coffin.

After the crash we were all asked if we could identify the four bodies in the crashed aircraft as they were all crushed, not one of us agreed to do this.

The four of us carried the coffin to the coach and to the cemetery I noticed there was four inch’s [sic] of rain water in the bottom of the grave as the coffin was lowerd [sic] into it.

Back to Lincoln Ena was glad to see me again, and then from the death of Fred, I had to visit her on my bike on my own. I think the death of Fred brought us much closer together.

Ena would have never married me whilst I was flying but after another year or so I was taken off flying and we made the day.



Reg Payne, “The Death of Fred Ball,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed March 3, 2024,

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