Private James Peter Batham


James Peter Batham was born on 11 June 1894 at 6 Selhurst Place, Croydon, London, the third of seven children of engineer John Henry Batham and his wife Harriet Grace (née Treloar).

Batham served in the 5th London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery Territorial Reserve, before enlisting at London in the Lancers of the Line (No.3232) on 9 February 1911. He gave his occupation as a printer's labourer and his age as 18 years and 7 months (overstating his true age by two years). On 20 May 1911 he was posted to the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, and on 5 September 1912 to the 12th (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers. He served with that regiment in South Africa from 5 September until 31 December 1912.

On 12 July 1913 Batham was tried by a District Court Martial for misconduct – being absent from 21 to 26 June, when he surrendered himself. He was sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment with hard labour. Released on 19 September, he was discharged (paragraph 392(xi), King's Regulations).

Batham enlisted in the 3rd (King's Own) Hussars around 22 August 1914 (No.14786). On 12 November 1914 he embarked for France, joining his regiment in the field.

On 11 August 1917 Batham married Gladys Emma Sutton at the Holy Trinity Parish Church, Selhurst, Surrey.

In September 1917, as part of a general reduction in the size of the cavalry, a number of men of the 3rd Hussars left the regiment. The war diary of 15 September records that:

56 other ranks of the regiment proceeded by rail from Hesdin to the Rouen Base for transfer to Infantry on the reduction of the 100 dismounted men allowed to Cavalry regiments.

Between twenty-eight and thirty-four of these men, including Batham,  were transferred to the North Irish Horse, joining the 1st (NIH) Regiment in the field on 11 October. Batham was issued regimental number 2713.

On 7 January 1918 Batham was one of thirteen members of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment who transferred to the Tank Corps (No.305514). After training at the Tank Corps depot at Bovington near Wareham, he was posted to the 1st Battalion.

This battalion saw action during the Advance to Victory offensive, at Amiens (8 to 10 August 1918), Albert (22 and 24 August), St Quentin Canal (29 September), 2nd Cambrai (8 October), and Selle (17 October). Batham was wounded during one of these actions, though no further details are known at present.


At the time of the 1939 Register, Batham was living with his wife and children at 6 Selhurst Place, Croydon, and working as a roof tiler. He died in Croydon in January 1955.