John William Bateman

John William Bateman
Born in 1888 in Warboys, John was the second eldest in family of four boys and two girls. In 1891 the family were living at Little End, Warboys. John's father, Tom, an agricultural labourer, died in 1893 when John was 5yrs old.

Emma, John's mother, remarried in 1898. By 1901 John had two step-brothers. The family occupied three rooms in Popes Lane, Warboys. His step-father, Shelton Ruff, was a horsekeeper on a farm.

John married Ada Spencer on Christmas Day 1910. It may seem strange to get married on such a day, but it was common in the 18th and 19th centuries, being one of the few days young working class couples could guaranteed time off work. They lived with Ada's parents, who lodged at the Wheatsheaf pub, in Ramsey Road, Warboys. John worked as a farm labourer. Irene was born in 1911, Oliver in 1913, Thomas in 1914 and Walter in 1916.. Only Oliver and Walter survived, both Irene and Thomas dying when less than a year old.

Enlisting with the Hunts Cyclist Battalion in August 1915, John transferred to the 1st/5th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. During 1916 he was involved in various engagements forming part of the Battle of the Somme. One of the bloodiest battles in human history, British and Commonwealth casualties were almost 420,000 men.

Battle of Pozieres
The scene around the village of Pozières
On 23 July 1916 the Battle of Pozières commenced. The village was an important defensive position for the Germans, being the highest point in the area. Fighting was fierce, at times hand to hand. Whilst defending trenches captured from the Germans, John was killed in action on Tuesday 22 August 1916, aged 28yrs. He has no known grave, and is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial overlooking the Somme River in France. John left behind a widow and two young sons.

John's younger brother Charlie was also killed in action, at the second Battle of the Somme on 2 September 1918. Another family who suffered the loss of two sons. Being born and bred in Warboys, both Charlie and John are commemorated on the Warboys War Memorial. So why is John also commemorated on the St Ives War Memorial? Possibly he became well known in the town through his job as a farm labourer and frequent visits to St Ives livestock market on Mondays.

Do you have a photo of John, or any additional information? If so, please get in touch via the make contact page.

Source materials
Click any of the links below to view original source materials.
1891 Census
1901 Census
1911 Census
Commonwealth War Graves Register
Commemorative Certificate

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