Charles Batchelor

12593 Private Charles Batchelor, 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

Born 1890 in Gaddesden Row
Killed in Action 21st December 1915 at Bienvillers, France

Family and Home 1, 2, 3

Charles Batchelor was born in Gaddesden Row, the 7th of the 9 children of Charles Batchelor and Elizabeth nee Hedges. His father was an Agricultural Labourer. He was baptised at St John the Baptist’s Church, Great Gaddesden on 12th October 1890.

Charles’ siblings, all of whom were baptised at St John the Baptist’s Church, Great Gaddesden, were:

  • Brother: Frederick Charles, born in 1879
  • Sister: Hephzibah, born in 1881
  • Brother: Thomas Sidney, born in 1883
  • Brother: James Percy, born in 1885
  • Brother: Archibald Henry, born in 1886
  • Brother: Arthur Bertram, born in 1888
  • Brother: Hedley George, born in 1893
  • Brother: Edwin, born in 1895

In the 1891 Census, Charles was living with his parents and six older siblings in Gaddesden Row; in 1901 he and Arthur were with their widowed Grandmother in The Row, Gaddesden Row, apparently next door to their parents and five brothers. Sidney, James and Archibald were all Farm Horsemen; George and Edwin were still of school age.

There is no apparent relationship between Charles Batchelor and Vernon Batchelor, who is also remembered in these pages, but there were so many Batchelors in the area that they might well have been cousins of some degree.

Employment 4

In the 1911 Census, Charles was recorded as a 21 year old Farm Labourer, Cowman. He was still living in Gaddesden Row, with his parents and brothers Archibald, Arthur, George and Edwin.

Military Service 5, 6

Charles enlisted into the Bedfordshire Regiment at Hertford, his place of residence listed as Hemel Hempstead, possibly because this was the nearest town to Gaddesden Row. He first served overseas with 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment in France on 30th July 1915.

Death in France 5, 7, 8, 9

Private Charles Batchelor was killed in action aged 25. The transcription of the War Diary for 6th Bn. Bedfordshire Regiment records “20 Dec 1915 Relieved 13 Rifle Bde at Bienvillers. Pte Batchelor killed”, but Charles’ entries in the “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” and “Soldiers died in the Great War” both record 21st December, as does his CWGC Casualty Record.

Burial in France 9

Charles is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. His grave reference is IV. A. 5.

Photo of Charles Batchelor's grave in France
Photo courtesy of David Heard

The inscription on his headstone reads:

12593 Private
C. Batchelor
Bedfordshire Regiment
21st December 1915

The badge of the Bedfordshire Regiment is engraved within the cross.

We will remember them 6

Charles Batchelor is commemorated on the War Memorials on the village green and in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. He is also named on the Roll of Honour in the church. He was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal. Records have yet to be found showing Charles living or working in Little Gaddesden but his older brother Thomas Sidney (Sid) Batchelor lived in the village for many years. Sid’s daughter May married Tim Sears and his daughter Pearl, Harry Smith – names still familiar in the village in the 21st Century.

Charles is also commemorated on the War Memorial in the churchyard of St John the Baptist’s Church, Great Gaddesden and named on the Roll of Honour in that church.

This commemoration in Great Gaddesden fits with his family’s residence in Gaddesden Row, but it begs the question why he is additionally commemorated on Little Gaddesden’s War Memorial. The answer may well be that he worked for the Ashridge Estate locally between 1911 and the start of his military service.

References

1. https://www.findmypast.co.uk England & Wales births 1837-2006 Transcription

2. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1891 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription

3. https://www.findmypast.co.uk 1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census Transcription

4. https://www.findmypast.co.uk  1911 Census for England & Wales

5. https://www.ancestry.co.uk UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919

6. https://www.ancestry.co.uk  British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards 1914-1920

7. http://bedfordregiment.org.uk/6thbn/6thbtn1915diary.html

8. https://www.ancestry.co.uk UK, Register of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901 – 1929

9. https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/265471/batchelor,-/

Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson