From the Preston Guardian 22 March 1879
A WALTONIAN KILLED IN THE ISANDULA DISASTER
Mrs. Ball, of Walton-le-Dale, received the following communication from the War Office yesterday morning, apprising her of the fate of her son in the disaster at Isandula on the 22nd Jan.:-
"In reply to your application, I regret to have to inform you, that, from the list of casualties received at this office, it appears that Corporal N. Ball, of the 1-24th Foot, was killed in an engagement which occurred on the 22nd Jan. last. - RALPH THOMPSON."
The unfortunate young man was the only son of the late Mr. James Ball, of Walton village, who was for many years the local agent of the Prudential Assurance Company, and was highly respected. He enlisted at Liverpool, in the 24th Regiment, which was very soon afterwards ordered to the Cape. He had been in the regiment nearly five years, and was on the point of being further promoted. His mother received a letter from him in February, in which he graphically stated their position, and what they expected from the 40,000 Zulus they had to face. The following is an extract from the letter, which is dated December 30th, 1878, Camp Helpmakaar:-
"The Zulu King has opened hostilities with the Imperial troops, and we have 40,000 men to go against now. I will give you a little insight into the hardships I have gone through, and I suppose I have more to go through but, by the help of God's grace, I will get through all of it. I was eight months lying on the bare floor; of course, I have two gray blankets, and for a pillow [???] trousers and the canteen. We have heavy marching [???] often days without food. We arrive in camp wet through to the skin, with no change of clothing, and often lie in [???] inches of water. I am second on the roll for lance sergeant, and I expect to get a medal when the war is over"