"A Deserter.—William Ball was charged with being a deserter from the 15th Regiment of Foot. The Chief Constable stated that it was thought prisoner had been killed in the Zulu War, his name having been returned in the list of killed. Instead of that being the case, the prisoner had deserted. Prisoner was remanded to await a military escort."
Nottingham Evening Post - Monday 21 January 1889
Apparently the 15th travelled to SA in 1888 though after a brief search I can't find any involvement for them in the uSuthu rebellion of that year.
I wonder how many more deserters pulled this stunt to 'disappear' and I wonder if William's name appears on a memorial as kia over there.