Charles Frederick Batty (1896-1916)
Darlington man, served as a second lieutenant in the 10th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Charles Frederick Batty was the eldest son of Frederick Batty and his wife Lily. Educated at Mill Hill School in London he obtained a classical scholarship for Oxford University and was in residence there for one term. On 20 November 1914 he applied for a temporary commission in the Regular Army. He stated his desire to serve with the Durham Light Infantry, (DLI).
The application form also stated that Batty was single, British born and of pure European descent. In fact he was British by parentage (not an option given on the form), the 1901 and 1911 census showing him to have been born in the United States of America. He had not served in any government department and his home address at that time was Dentdale, Tower Road, Darlington. On the same day, the medical officer at Oxford described Batty as having a height of 72 inches, chest 37 ½ inches maximum, and weight of 160 pounds. His vision was normal, hearing and teeth were good.
Charles was gazetted as a second lieutenant in the 10th Battalion, DLI, from the Oxford University Officer Training Corps (supplement to the London Gazette, 28 November, 1914) and was in France from 23 October 1915 (Army Medal Rolls), where he was appointed as a bombing officer.
Whilst out on patrol duty in the Ypres area he was killed on the 19 January 1916.
A War Office telegram dated 22 January 1916 informed his father Frederick Batty that he was killed in action on 20 January 1916. However a field service form dated 25 January 1916 reported that on 19 January 1916 Second Lieutenant Batty was killed in action in the field. His place of burial was not known and it was not known if he left a will. The form also stated that any documents, effects, and verbal expressions of his wishes as to the disposal of his effects, should be reported to the War Office.
In a letter dated 5 March 1916, the military secretary informed his father that they had received a report on Second Lieutenant Batty from Army Headquarters in the Field. They were aware he may not have previously received this further information about his son. The letter stated that Charles was buried at Essex Farm, Brielen, against the Yser Canal, Ypres. Reverend W Telfer of the 43rd Infantry Brigade officiated at his burial. A map reference of sheet 28, square C.25. a. 4. 8. was given.
On 25 January 1916 The Standing Committee of Adjustment at General Headquarters listed the effects belonging to Lt Batty as follows:
1 silver identity disc; 1 cigarette case; 1 wrist watch; 1 compass; 1 cigar holder in case; 1 pen knife; 1 razor blade box containing matches; 1 fountain pen; 1 pipe; 1 whistle; 1 pair of scissors; 1 tobacco pouch;
3 letters; 1 cheque book; 1 nail cleaner; £5.00 (to base cashier).
These effects were forwarded to Second Lieutenant Batty’s father as next of kin.
An extract from the letters of administration dated 29 March 1916 to Frederick Batty stated that the gross value of his son’s estate was £276 10s 1d. The War Office wrote to Frederick Batty’s solicitors on the 13 April stating that a net amount of £67 10s 2d was due from the War Office as back pay. A solicitors letter from Batty, Ford and Buckley of Manchester, dated 17 April 1916, informed the War Office that letters of probate and administration had been requested and granted and that the estate of Second Lieutenant Batty which totalled £67 10s 2d net in back pay, should be forwarded to his father.
On the 30 January 1919 a letter to Frederick Batty asked him to confirm his address as 13, Beverhome, Cleveland Avenue, Darlington, so that the commemorative plaque and scroll for his son could be forwarded to him.
His Colonel later wrote of Charles:
“He was an extremely good officer and had done some excellent work since he came out, and everyone thought very highly of him. He was very popular with us all.”
(De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919 volume 3)
The main source of this information was derived from the officers service records, held at The National Archives, Kew, London: WO 339/48485
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Civil Parish: Darlington
Birth date: 28-Apr-1896
Death date: 19- Jan-1916
Armed force/civilian: Army
Residence: Dentdale Darlington, Co Durham
School House, Mill Hill School, London. (1911 census)
University College, Oxford
Education: Mill Hill School, London. (1911 census)
University College Oxford
Religion: Primitive Methodist
Family: Parents: Mr Frederick Batty, mother Eliza Fielding Batty (nee Buckley)
Siblings: James Keith Batty, Edward Rayner Batty, Ida Cynthia Grace Batty, Donald Marcus Fielding Batty.
(1901 and 1911 census)
2920/2, Oxford University Officer Training Corps
Second Lieutenant, 10th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Medal(s): 1915 Star
British War Medal
Memorial(s): Mill Hill at War 1914-1919 Mill Hill School – has a photograph of Second Lieutenant Batty
North East War Memorials Project
Find a Grave
UK De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919 Volume 3 (via Ancestry)
Contributed by U McKellar