Bromley Local Studies and Archives reveal the story of Mrs Batten’s boys ahead of Remembrance Sunday

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 November 2013

Walter Batten, who never made it home, and his elder brother Albert.

Walter Batten, who never made it home, and his elder brother Albert.


With Remembrance Sunday days away, Bromley Local Studies and Archives looks at four local men who went to war.

Robert Mills and Ernest Batten both made it home from war.Robert Mills and Ernest Batten both made it home from war.

In 1916 the Bromley local paper wrote a series of articles about local families whose young men had joined up to fight for their country with the Royal West Kent Regiment.

In the October edition they chose the Batten boys, the three natural, and one adopted, sons of George and Elizabeth Sarah, of Hayes Village.

The youngest brother Walter Harvey Batten was the first to volunteer in August, 1914. Born in 1896 Walter was working as a domestic gardener in Hayes Village.

Just a month later Albert Edward Batten volunteered to fight. The middle son, born in 1890, Albert worked as a gardener in Woldingham, Surrey.

The son to join up next was the Batten’s adopted son Robert Mills who enlisted in the September. Born in 1896, his full name was Walter Robert Mills but because there was already Walter in the family he was known as Robert.

The last brother to join was the Batten’s eldest son Ernest who joined up in December. He was born about 1877, and although he was working as a labourer in Merton, his military record shows that he gave his parents home as his discharge address.

These four young men joined thousands of other young men who rallied to the call of “your king and country need You”, issued by Lord Kitchener on August 11th 1914.

The goal of this campaign was to raise 100,000 – a figure that was achieved within two weeks. Walter was one of the first to go joining on August 30.

Ernest, Albert and Robert made it home. Walter, the youngest and the first to join up died on the April 9, 1917.

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