Monday, 17 December 2012

Seeking closure for William Henry Ball

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/

William Henry Ball has been my man of mystery for sometime now. Recently, I've been scouring UK death registrations in the hopes of finding him sometime between 1932 and 1947, when his wife, Matilda Kate Bowcher, remarried. This is, of course, assuming that he did, in fact, die before her 1947 marriage to Bertram Cox.

Based on what I have learned from a family member, William may have met a tragic end involving a jump from a railway bridge, at an early age. However, finding evidence of that tragedy has been difficult. Initially, I had thought that his demise may have tied to some involvement in the Great War or military service, but I could not find any evidence showing his enrollment, discharge or death. After learning that he was married in 1921 and still alive in December 1931 when his father died, I decided to throw the net a bit wider and further. Could William have died tragically outside of Penarth or Cardiff?

Searching several death registration indexes for the UK, I did find one that matched his birth year and age. The certificate was indexed with the name "William H. Ball", so I was not sure if I would find a William Herbert or Horace listed. With some trepidation, I ordered the certificate in late November. It arrived this past Friday.

Much to my delight, the full name on he certificate shows "William Henry Ball". Of great interest, the place of death is listed as Ealing Broadway railway station. Sadly, the cause of death are injuries sustained due to a fall in front of a train - confirmed by a coroner's inquest. Is this my William Henry? What was he doing in Ealing in 1941? Could this have been a suicide? An accident? I cannot say at this point. I've started the process of tracking down an obituary and news stories of the event and will post once I have more information.

Stay tuned...

Cheers, K.

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