Nottingham City Transport has unveiled a bus named in honour of Albert Ball VC, a fighter pilot who died in action during the First World War.
The bus was unveiled near his home on Lenton Road, by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and members of Albert’s family with representatives from the Armed Forces and the four-legged Mercian Regimental Mascot, Private Derby XXXII also present.
A Nottingham Civic Society plaque was also unveiled in his memory 101 years to the day he died in action, during World War I on May 7, 1917.
At the time of his death, Albert was the UK’s leading flying ace with 44 victories.
Born and raised in Nottingham, Albert joined the Sherwood Foresters at the outbreak of the First World War and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in October 1914.
He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps the following year and flew reconnaissance missions, earning three Distinguished Service Orders, the Military Cross and the Victoria Cross before he was killed in action aged 20.
Anthony Carver-Smith, NCT Marketing Manager said, “In the centenary year since the end of World War I, we are honoured to have been asked to name a bus in memory of Albert Ball VC.
“He was a true Nottingham hero, who played such an important role during the First World War and it is vital we remember and honour Albert and all others who fought for their country”.
The bus is the 24th named by NCT and the third in honour or military personnel after Sean Upton and Kieron Hill, who both died on duty in Afghanistan in 2009.
The bus and plaque are not the first tributes to Albert’s military service – he is also commemorated with a statue in the grounds of the castle and a memorial on the exterior of the Holy Trinity Church in Lenton.
Albert was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously in a period of national mourning for the British national hero.
He also featured on a commemorative stamp commissioned by the Royal Mail in 2006 to mark 150 years of the Victoria Cross award.
Ron Inglis, service manager for Nottingham Museums and Galleries which hold Albert’s medals including his Victoria Cross, said that the fighter pilot’s legacy is testament to the type of combat he was involved in.
Mr Inglis said: “He had about 23 confirmed kills but in those days they would have used pistols to fire at each other so it was real hand to hand combat in the air.
“He was said to be young, popular, dashing, good looking and a staunch defender of his country and so that is why he was so well known not only in his country but also all over the world.”
He added: “Every year now at the exact time he was shot down there is a ceremony that takes place by RAF cadets and where he crashed is now adjacent to a primary school that celebrates Albert Ball as almost a patron saint.”
After his death he was hailed as “by far the best English flying man” by German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, infamously known as the Red Baron.