Published By John Davies
Harry Batty was born at Crewe on 29 March 1892. He was the fourth eldest of 9 surviving children with siblings William, born in 1885, then Sarah, Annas, Nellie, Bryan, Edith, James and the youngest Millie, born in 1904. Their parents were William, a railway engine driver, and Sarah Batty. The family lived at 88 Gresty Road. Also living with them was Sarah’s mother and a boarder, which meant there were 12 people living in a six room house. Harry worked as an auctioneer’s clerk. Sometime later he moved to Oswestry for a job as an agricultural auctioneer. In Oswestry he lived at 6 Roft Street and later moving to 3 Stewart Road.
Harry was called up and attested at Oswestry on 29 November 1915. He was mobilised about 12 weeks later on 8 February 1916, reporting to Shrewsbury and being posted to 9 Bn KSLI, training and reserve battalion. In September 1916, with a reorganisation of the army, 9 Bn KSLI became 48 Training and Reserve Battalion into which Harry now transferred. They were based at Prees Heath Camp. He progressed through the ranks being promoted to Sergeant in July 1917. The next month he was transferred into 3/4 Bn, Training and Reserves, Welsh Regiment.
Harry, though, was not a well man; he was afflicted by skin disease. In February 1917 he attended a medical examination at Prees Heath. The Medical Officer reported that Harry had suffered from chronic eczema and ulceration for the past seven years. He also suffered from furunsulosis (boils on skin) and had varicose veins. He had been in hospital 3 times for this in past 18 months – the examining MO had also recommended Harry for hospital some months before but he had preferred to stick it out. The MO had attended him on and off for his conditions for the past 5 months, but as soon as it healed up it broke down again. The report also noted that Harry had had an accident in July when a window in the mess fell on his head and that he now also suffers flushes from neuralgia. He could not wear puttees nor do any marching or standing about. He was discharged underon 1 February 1918.
Harry died of illness on 27 October 1918 – his death was registered at Stoke. It is not known where his grave is, possibly at Crewe where his family still lived. Because Harry’s medical problems predated his enlistment they were not deemed to have been caused by war service and his death was not therefore attributable to war service. It is probably because of this that he is not listed as a war casualty on CWGC. Men on the Gates have made application to CWGC in an attempt to change this, enquiries are pending.