John Ball, known as 'JB', enjoyed a full career rising through the ranks to gain a commission in the Army with Airborne Forces and later, the Army Air Corps.
He initially joined up as Boy Soldier with the Infantry Boys Battalion in November 1956, capbadged to the Essex Regiment. Not long afterwards he completed P Company in 1957, and was posted to Depot PARA at Maida Barracks as a Lance Corporal. He joined The 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in 1959, with whom he served for seven years before he trained as a pilot, taking his flying course in 1966.
In 1967 he joined the Air Platoon of The 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), which flew three Sioux helicopter. During his service with the Air Platoon, it was amalgamated with other Parachute Regiment and Brigade HQ Air Platoons to form 21 (Parachute) Squadron AAC, flying Sioux and Scout Helicopters. This would later become 664 Squadron AAC.
John completed his transfer to the Army Air Corps in 1969, and was commissioned on 22 March 1978. He eventually left the Army in March 1983.