Private 22766 Bert Bateman

Killed in Action on Monday, 22nd October 1917, age 24.
Commemorated on Panel 54 to 60 and 163A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

18th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 104th Brigade of 35th Division.
Formerly 165149 RFA, and 1102 Shropshire Light Infantry.

Husband of Mrs Sarah Bateman, of 211 High Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Abingdon, Oxfordshire, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials. Also listed on the lost Palethorpe’s Roll of Honour.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/844274/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Albert Bateman registered March quarter 1893 at Abingdon.

1901 Census
Cannot trace.

1911 Census
15 High Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Boarder with Benjamin Warr (42, Pork Butcher, born Tipton) and his family, was :
Bert Bateman (18, Boarder, Labourer at Pork Butchers, born Abingdon, Berkshire).

Marriage of Albert Bateman and Sarah Jevons registered March quarter 1916 at Dudley. Bert and Sarah had a son, Albert, born on 7th October 1916.

Personal Data

The 18th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was initially a Bantam Battalion for men less than the 5 feet 3 inches required for other infantry Battalions. By the end of 1916 the quality of Bantam replacements became sub-standard; in common with the other Bantam Battalions, replacements from then on were average conscripts. As Bert Bateman enlisted in August 1916, it cannot be assumed that he was a Bantam by height.

After Bert's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £3/15/5d (3 pounds, 15 shillings and 5 pence); this was paid to his widow, Sarah, in December 1918. His War Gratuity was £4/10/0d (4 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow in January 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Bert had enlisted in August 1916.

Bert's widow, Sarah, was awarded a Widow's Pension of £1/0/5d (1 pound and 5 pence) per week for herself and her son, effective from 24th June 1918. She also received a Grant of £5/0/0d in September 1918.

Action resulting in his death

The Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) had started on 31st July 1917 and almost immediately had become a slow hard slog through mud as the front line gradually moved forward in a series of advances over the coming weeks. The Fusiliers had been resting in the early part of October and many new replacement troops joined from Britain during this time. On the 16th, they moved back into the front line south of the Houthulst Forest, to the north of the Belgian town of Ypres.

On the 22nd October, the 18th Lancashire Fusiliers (18/LF) was to have its first taste of action in the Ypres Salient. As part of 35th Division, they were to take part in an action intended to drive forward the northern flank of the Allied position to provide a secure flank for subsequent operations against Passchendaele. The 18th and 34th Divisons were in action further south, around the village of Poelcapelle, and the 35th Division was to attack into Houthulst Forest to a line running east-west about 500 yards into the forest.

At 2am on the 22nd, they formed up for an attack with the 17th Battalion on the left, the 18th on the right and the 20th in reserve. They advanced at "zero hour" - 5.35am. As the 18th attacked, the men lost direction and some of them found themselves on the left of the 17th Battalion, leaving gaps in the planned attack line. At the same time, the Division on the right failed to make significant progress and this meant the attack line was broken up even further, allowing the Germans to pour fire onto the attacking Fusiliers from their flanks.

By 6.15am, "X" Company of the 18th had moved back to the right, but this delay meant some huts and pillboxes in the middle of the Forest were not put out of action and the enemy were able to fire from them throughout the day. The men of "X" Company now found they were virtually surrounded and had to withdraw back to the Forest edge. The remainder of the 18th had by now secured its objectives.

The Fusiliers were shelled throughout day and subsequent night. At sometime during this action, Bert was killed and his body was never identified. He has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 8th December 1917
LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS-Bateman, 22766, B., (Tipton).