Name: James Herbert Batey
DoB: November 6 1893
Regt: S/8625 Lance Corporal Gordon Highlanders
DoD: May 16 1915
Academic Career: CGS 1907-08
James was one of thirteen children born to James and Elizabeth Batey, a well known Longtown family who had a gamedealer’s business at 37 English Street for many years. The Batey family had farmed in the area for at least eight generations! James’s mother was Elizabeth Newby before she married. His father died in 1931 and his mother in 1945.
After James left school he joined the family business in Longtown. On enlistment he described himself as a fishmonger.
He was a gymnast and played centre forward in the football team. The end of season report described him as “a useful player, unselfish and fast” he scored seven goals during the season. Two of James’s brothers also attended CGS.
James enlisted at Dumfries, joining the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders on January 11 1915. He was 5ft 7” tall, and weighed 11 stone! He embarked at Southampton on March 24 1915, having been made acting corporal on March 9. He was killed in action just 52 days after leaving Southampton. He died in the battle for Festubert and is commemorated on the memorial at LeTouret and is one of the 13,394 men who died in that area who have no known grave. The inscription on the memorial states “To the Glory of God and in Memory of 13,482 British officers and men who fell fighting in this neighbourhood from October 1914 to September 1915 whose names are here recorded but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”
Acting Lance Corporal 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders S/8625
He is also commemorated on Longtown War Memorial and on his parents’ headstone in Arthuret Churchyard, Longtown.
His obituary in the Cumberland News (29/5/1915) says “ He was a strong well built lad and a type of the British soldier keen at all kinds of sport, and held in the greatest esteem by all who knew him”
Two weeks later on the 12th June his parents placed this notice in the Cumberland News
“ Mr & Mrs James Batey and family desire to thank all friends for their kind expressions of sympathy in their recent bereavement.”
James’s brother John survived WW1 but was an invalid for the rest of his life. His son John Keith Batey also attended Carlisle grammar school. He was a gifted mathematician and he won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. In WW2 he was recruited to work at Bletchley Park, and he was one of the team who cracked the codes on the enigma machines. After the war he had a distinguished career in the foreign office and civil service.
www.ancestry.co.uk Soldiers Died in the Great War
Batey family grave (C150), Arthuret Churchyard
Cumberland News 29/5/1915 and 5/6/1915 and 12/6/1915
1841: RGHO107 /167/7/12 & RGHO107/167/1/5
1851: RGHO107/2428/81/5 & RGHO107/2428/270/30
1861: RG09/3911/85/14 & RG09/3911/6/7
1871: RG10/5213/67/13 & RG10/5213/67/13
CGS Memorial Register
“The Carliol” Magazine 1908
The Daily Telegraph Obituaries 2010