For so many women these wartime losses came at an age when they would have expected or at least hoped that life would be entering a more peaceful phase – when the worry of raising a young family was past.
Mary Ann Ball had faced some tough challenges during her lifetime. Born in Bristol in 1857 Mary Ann married George Ball in 1885 and by 1891 the couple were running a Temperance Hotel on Station Road, Swindon.
The census returns of that year record their four young children William 5, Millicent 4, Glendower 3 and Samuel just three months old. What it doesn’t reveal is the tragedy surrounding their eldest son. William had contracted measles at the age of two which had left him mentally handicapped. William never appeared in any family photos.
Mary Ann was 61 when her second son George Glendower Ball died in 1918. Rejected twice for military service Glendower, as he was known within the family, was eventually successful and enlisted with the Norfolk Regiment. He was killed in action on March 7, 1918 and was buried at I F 7 Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension.
He is mentioned on the family grave in Radnor Street Cemetery, Swindon.