This Day in History

British Fighter Pilot Albert Ball was shot down, probably from ground fire
May 7, 1917

The British made little of the exploits and deeds of their fighter pilots and did not recognize the “Ace” designation for fear of diminishing the morale of their pilots in two-seater observation and bomber squadrons, whose missions were not as spectacular as those of the fighter pilots. However; one RAF ace got some of the recognition due him.

Captain Albert Ball, who died in action while still in his teens, had earned the Distinguished Service Order and two bars, the Military Cross, and the highest awards for valor of three nations - the British Victoria Cross, the French Legion d’Honneur, and the Russian Order of St. George. He flew in action from early May 1916 until May 7, 1917, and amassed a victory score of forty-four enemy aircraft.

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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.