Bedales 1908-1909, 3rd Worcesters

Edward Battle was the eldest son of a surgeon, William Henry Battle and his wife Anna Marguerite née Vulliamy.  According to The Roll he started at the Junior School in 1906, came up to Bedales in 1908 and left in 1909.  His slightly older cousin Feray Vulliamy Devonshire had entered Bedales in 1902 and left in the summer of 1908.  Edward was one of 99 boys in the School in the Summer Term of 1909: 28 of them would be dead by the time of the Armistice.

During his short time in the school Edward Battle played in the 3rd Cricket  XI and was a member of the Scouts Owl Patrol; those are the only references to his school career in the Record for 1908 – 1909.  At Malvern he became a Lance-Corporal in the College’s Officers’ Training Corps, leaving at the age of 18 to spend three months in Germany and then, in April he appears to have joined some sort of tutorial college to prepare for the entrance exams for Sandhurst and Woolwich.

On 7th August 1914 Edward Battle wrote "My original intention was to be on the unattached list Indian Army, but I would sooner serve in a line regiment during the present war & if possible change to the unattached List Indian Army after the war.”  He applied to be posted to “any line regiment going on active service”, stating a preference for the Worcestershire Regiment, or the Lincolnshires (a county from which his father’s family originated) or the Somersets.  Failing that he opted for a posting to India rather than staying in England in the reserves.  Edward got his wish and was gazetted a Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment on 15th August 1914 but had probably arrived in barracks at Tidworth by 9th August.

With the 3rd Battalion Edward left Tidworth on 13th September travelling via Southampton to Le Havre where they finally disembarked on 15th September after a wretched crossing.  The CO in the War Diary recorded “very little accomodation (sic) on board and only fit for transporting horses”.  The battalion saw a good deal of action in late August, and were constantly on the move and in retreat then involved in counter attacks in September..

By 11th October the battalion was sustaining casualties virtually every day; on 12th two officers were killed and one wounded with 15 other ranks killed, 20 wounded and eight missing.  The worst day for the battalion came on 21st October at Le Hue near Neuve Chapelle.  “Enemy attacked in foggy morning and broke through lines to our right causing 3 platoon ... to fall back on to Le Hue Farm” records the War Diary.  Three officers including “2nd Lt E C V Battle” were killed and four others wounded with 13 other ranks killed, 63 wounded and 29 missing.  This was the worst encounter recorded in this part of the War diary.

HQ of the 7th Infantry Brigade reported to the War Office “E C V Battle killed in action”, “place unknown; place of burial unknown”.  A telegram was despatched to his father Major W H Battle (Royal Army Medical Corps) on 23rd October saying, “Deeply Regret to Inform you that 2nd Lieut E C V Battle Worcester Regt has been killed in action on 21st October.  No further details received.  Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy.”

In June 1915 The Military Secretary informed Edward’s father that “a report has just been received from Army Headquarters in the Field which states that the late Second Lieutenant E C V Battle was buried at Illies.  However, now Edward Battle has no known grave and is commemorated on Panels 17 & 18 at Le Touret Memorial.  

Mr Badley recorded only the dates of his time at Bedales and the fact of his death.