Lieutenant Alfred William Batson

Alfred Batson ©
Alfred Batson
Photograph courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Alfred Batson Birth Registration Transcription ©
Alfred Batson Birth Registration Transcription ©
Alfred Batson Baptism Registration ©

Alfred William Batson was born on the 25th of February 1887 in Dorking, Surrey to William Lascelles and Barbara Edwina (nee Blakeney). He was baptised the 5th April 1887 at St Martin’s Church in Dorking.

Alfred’s father William was born in the 3rd quarter of 1852 in Devon to gentleman Thomas and Harriet. He was baptised on 29th August 1852 in Tedburne St Mary, Devon. During the 1871 Census, William was a boarder of Vice Principal of Bath Proprietary College John E. Symms at Edward Street, Bathwick, Bath. He became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1878 and Licentie of the Royal College of Physicians of London in 1879. At the time of the 1881 Census, William visited his uncle, ship broker Frederic Sewell at Elmhurst, West Ham in Essex. He was working as a medical practitioner. Alfred´s mother Barbara was born in the 3rd quarter of 1861 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire to Deputy Inspector General of Army Hospitals Edward  (born about 1810 in the City of London) and Charlotte Maria (born about 1824 in Waterford, Ireland). Barbara was baptised on the 24th September 1861 at St Peter’s, Leckhampton in Gloucestershire. At the time of the 1881 Census, the family lived at 2 Hamilton Villas in Rochester, Kent. Charlotte’s father was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. William and Barbara married on 28th April 1886 at St Mary the Boltons, West Brompton. William was a surgeon living in Dorking and Barbara lived at West Brompton.

Alfred had three sisters: Barbara born about 1890, Majorie born about 1892 and Beatrice Dorothy born about 1895, all in Dorking.

Alfred Batson 1891 Census ©

At the time of the 1891 Census, William, his wife Barbara and their children Alfred and Barbara were living at 73 High Street in Dorking. William was working as a registered general medical practitioner. The family also employed a nurse, cook, parlourmaid and under nurse.

At the time of the 1901 Census, William, Barbara and their children Barbara, Majorie and Beatrice Dorothea were still at 73 High Street. William was still working as a general medical practitioner. The household also consisted of a nurse, parlourmaid and housemaid and visitors Herbert M. Batson, William’s nephew, and William’s brother, surgeon Robert S. Batson.

Alfred attended Mr Radcliffe’s School, Fonthill, East Grinstead.

Alfred Batson 1901 Census ©

At the time of the 1901 Census, Alfred was a boarder and pupil of Wellington College, Masters House, Crowthorne in Berkshire. The head of the House was Phillip H. Kempthorne, a clergyman of Church of England. At Wellington College Alfred William was in the cricket and football teams. He was in the Cricket Eleven, and winning the Prince Christian´s Annual prize for the best bowling average of that year, and also represented the Rugby Football Fifteen, winning two prizes for the best kick of the season.

Later, Alfred William studied at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

He was an enthusiastic sportsman. Apart from playing football, cricket and polo, he was good at tennis, golf and hockey. He was also a keen shooter and a Member of the Junior United Service Club.

He was appointed the 2nd Lieutenant to the 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall´s Light Infantry on the 9th of October 1907. He subsequently served in Bermuda, South Africa (where he was attached to the Mounted Infantry), and Hong Kong, where he was in charge of the machine gun section of his battalion.

Alfred Batson Passenger List ©

On 16th February 1908, 2nd Lieutenant Alfred Batson departed from Avonmouth Docks on the board of RMS Port Kingston to Bermuda. Alfred occupied the 1st class cabin.

On 17th March 1910, Alfred  was gazetted a Lieutenant to the Duke of Cornwall´s Light Infantry.

Alfred Batson 1911 Census ©

At the time of the 1911 Census, Alfred was in the military in South Africa. He was Lieutenant of the Mounted Infantry. While in South Africa he was a very keen polo player.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Alfred’s family still lived at 73 High Street in Dorking. William was still working as a general medical practitioner, Barbara was at home with their daughter Beatrice. The family also employed three domestic servants. Barbara stated that she had four children. The house had thirteen rooms.

Soon after the outbreak of war, Alfred’s regiment was ordered home from Hong Kong.

Lieutenant Alfred William disembarked on 19th December 1914 to France. He was in charge of the machine gun section of the 2nd Battalion, the Duke of Cornwall´s Light Infantry.

On 24th February 1915, Alfred was commended by the Major General Commanding the 27th Division for distinquished service in the field. The Major General wrote the following words: “Your Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander have informed me that you have distinquished yourself by your conduct in the field. I have read their reports with much pleasure.“

Lieutenant Alfred Batson was killed in action on 14th March 1915 on the Mount at St Eloi, near Ypres. He was shot in the head in an attack,  just after a mine explosion from the enemy. In his regiment five officers were killed and two wounded. According to the 1915 Dorking and Leatherhead Advertisement: “The death of so great a proportion of officers shows, that the Cornwalls were in the thick of the fight, or the explanation may happen to be that the trench which they had captured and occupied was exploded by the enemy’s mines.“

He is buried at the Wytschaete Military Cemetery in Belgium. His grave reference is: VI.E.3. He was re-buried there after his body was exhumed from a communal grave. He was identified by his disc.

Alfred Batson Probate Notice ©

Alfred’s father received £535, 0s and 5d in the Probate on 4th June 1915 in London. At the time of his death Alfred was living at 73 High Street, Dorking. William died on 5th July 1921 in Dorking. He was buried at the Dorking Municipal Cemetery on 9th July 1921.

Born Dorking, Surrey
Lived Dorking, Surrey
Son of William and Barbara Lascelles Batson of 173 High Street, Dorking
Regiment 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry
Date of Death 14th March 1915
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 28
Cemetery Wytschaete Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, Belgium

Additional Family Information

William Lascelles Batson Court Records
Surrey Mirror ©
William Lascelles Batson Court Records
Surrey Mirror ©

In 1894 Alfred´s father William and his partner Hugh Theophilus Weare Blakeney of Batson and Blakeney, surgeons at Dorking, brought a court case against defendant Horace Blackburne of High Trees, Newdigate over payment of the £10, 18s for the treatment and care of Mr Blakeney´s servant, suffering from scarlet fever.

William Lascelles Batson General Medical Practioners
Dorking Advertiser ©

On 28th February 1901, the partnership between William Lascelles Batson and Hugh Theophilus Weare Blakeney, general practitioners at Dorking, under the firm of Batson & Blakeney was terminated by mutual agreement.

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