Edward James Batten

Personnel header
Private Edward James "Jim" Batten
Life dates
16 Jul 1905 - 1980
Profile Picture
Profile picture
Unit or location Role Posted from until
Cornwood Patrol Patrol member Unknown 16 Apr 1943
National ID
WHVV 3/1

Head gardener

Blachford Garden, Cornwood, Devon
Other information

Jim Batten was a gardener for Major Passey at Blachford House who it is thought may have been involved in the recruitment process but this is yet to be confirmed.

Jim joined the Home Guard but was quickly recruited to the Cornwood Auxiliary Unit as he was a practical, capable man. Shortly afterwards he was called up by the regular army and was sent to Halifax for training. Only a day or two later he was summoned by his Commanding Officer who exclaimed "I don’t know what the hell is going on but I have orders to send you home. I don’t suppose you can tell me why?"
"I can’t sir" said Jim.

The Commanding Officer handed him a letter marked secret, for his eyes only. Jim opened it in front of the Officer who asked to see its contents. Jim had to inform his superior he was not allowed to show him, which understandably irritated the Officer slightly. He was sent home to re-join his Auxiliary Unit having only missed a weekend of training.

Later (April 1943) when the threat of invasion was passing he was called up for a second time and recruited to the Royal Engineers. He was in his thirties and sent to Scotland to train.

Once asked by his family what he did during the war Jim stated calmly, he was taught to kill people with his bare hands and how to break their arms and legs. A tough man who was patient to a point, he is remembered as a strong man with hands like steel but a kind and gentlemanly manner.

Jim Batten's family remember him having a railway warrant entitling him to travel to Coleshill House to train at weekends.


TNA ref WO199/3391

1939 Register

The Batten family