Joseph Keith Batten.


From a local paper dated 12/10/1918  =  Memorial Service To Captain J. K. Batten    A memorial service to Captain Joseph Keith Batten, Bedfordshire Regiment, eldest son of Alderman J. Batten, who was killed in action on September 27th as chronicled in our last issue was held in All Saints Church, Peterborough on Wednesday afternoon, in the presence of a sorrowful congregation. We are enabled to add the following interesting details to last weeks notice concerning the gallant officer. Captain Batten was born on 20th October 1892 and was educated at Kings School, Peterborough, and then at Gresham School, Holt, Norfolk. He entered the office of Messrs Batten and Whitsed, Solicitors, Peterborough, in 1909 and was articled to his father. In due course he passed his intermediate examination and developed a very considerable love for his profession, particularly the literary and student side. He became a Territorial officer in the old Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire Regiment, and when Huntingdonshire ceased to form part of the old regiment, Captain Batten remained with the Bedfordshire Regiment, at the time of the declaration of war he was within a few months of obtaining his qualification as a practicing solicitor. It will be remembered that the Bedford's, like most of the old Territorial regiments were away at their annual training when the storm of war burst upon Europe, and the War Office immediately ordered the training camps to be broken up. Captain Batten was with a fellow officer, now Major J. E. Hill, at his father's house awaiting orders, and on the 4th August 1914 a telegram came containing one word, ' MOBILISE', and they at once went to Bedford. From that time Captain Batten has with the rare and short intervals for leave, been serving frequently performing special duties in many different parts of the country, and he always did his military duties with the greatest enthusiasm and precision. Early in April of this year he went to France, and was attached to the 4th Battalion of his regiment, by that time he was a senior Captain and Company Commander. In the attack on the 27th September he was killed going over the top, he was struck by a shell and was killed almost instantaneously, happily as it is believed, without much suffering. It was characteristic that since he was always very considerate to those under him, the first soldier servant, who was with him at the time of his death, and was wounded by a piece of the same shell that killed Captain Batten. Directly he reached a general hospital in France, this brave man wrote at once to describe how Captain Batten had been killed whilst directing the company. A later letter has been received from the Roman Catholic Chaplain of the infirmary written at the mans request giving further details, and adding his own kind sympathies to the father of a very gallant son. At Peterborough Town Council on Friday evening, the Mayor, rising before the commencement of business said he was sure they would desire him in their name to refer to the death of Captain Keith Batten, eldest son of their colleague, Alderman Batten, and to express their deep sympathy and condolence in his great loss, and sorrow, his son having fallen in the great conflict now raging. It seemed beyond him to express in adequate words what they all felt, but he was sure it would be a great help and coin fort to Alderman Batten and the family to know in that council they were thinking of them in their sorrow. The members of the council sorrowfully rose to signify their assent.

From a local paper dated 5/10/1918  -  The Late Captain Keith Batten Captain Keith Batten, Bedfordshire Regiment, eldest son of Alderman J. Batten of Peterborough, was, it is feared, killed in action on September 27th whilst taking his men over the top. On leaving school he was articled to his father's firm of Batten and Whitsed, Solicitors, Peterborough. On the formation of the Hunts Cyclists Battalion in 1914, he remained with the Bedfordshire Regiment Territorials, and was mobilised with them at the outbreak of war, and he proceeded to France last June.  

He served in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiments + 5th Bedfordshire Regiments and died on the 27/9/1918.

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. . Martyn Smith