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Honoring Service: Fallen Veteran Charles A. Batten, WWI

Our reporting on local veterans is a collaboration with RyeVets.org to highlight those from Rye who have served our country across times of war and peace. There are over 2,100 veterans from the City of Rye. Learn more about how you can help research and write biographies of those that have served.

Honoring Service - 06 - 2023 - Charles A. Batten
Charles A. Batten

Charles A. Batten, born on April 19, 1896, was a native of Rye. His father, William H., was a well-known builder in Rye, while his mother Catherine was a homemaker. Both parents hailed from England. Charles had seven siblings, and their family lived on School Street.

Date of Birth: 19 Apr 1896
Died On: August 28, 1918
Branch of Service: D Company, 14th Platoon Royal Highlanders

Charles had a passion for playing the violin and singing in the choir. He regularly attended Sunday school at Christ’s Church, where he received recognition for four years of perfect attendance in the form of a gold cross. He graduated from Rye High School and spent a year studying at Columbia University.

Described as popular among his friends, Charles frequently participated in parties and events before enlisting with the British Army during World War I. At the time of his enlistment, he worked as a clerk at the Grand Central Terminal.

On September 25, 1917, Charles A. Batten enlisted with the British Army in Canada. He became a member of D Company, 14th Platoon, 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders, the famous Black Watch Regiment, initially rejected by the American Army, Charles found his place with the Canadian forces.

The 42nd Battalion, also known as the Royal Highlanders of Canada, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. It was mobilized and recruited in Montreal and embarked for Great Britain on June 10, 1915. The battalion fought in France and Flanders as part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division until the war’s end. It was disbanded on September 15, 1920.

Charles served as a member of one of the machine gun crews of the regiment. He lost his life in action near Arras on August 26, 1918, shortly after the Germans were forced out of the city. Prior to his death, Charles had experienced being gassed, suffered from shell shock, and had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

He was buried at the Vimy Memorial Cemetery in France, while a memorial stone and plaque honoring him can be found at Greenwood Union Cemetery. More on Batten.

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