First World War in Headington and Marston, Oxford

James BATTS (1879–1916)

James Batts
Wrongly captioned: should be J. Batts

James Batts was born in Stanton Harcourt in 1879, the son of Frederick Batts (born in Stanton Harcourt in 1843 and baptised there on 16 July) and Ann Trinder (born in Stanton Harcourt in 1837/8). His parents were married at Stanton Harcourt on 24 December 1867 and had the following children:

  • Mary Ann Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1868 and baptised there on 1 June)
  • William Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1870 and baptised there on 5 June)
  • Emma Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1872 and baptised there on 25 December)
  • Fanny Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1875 and baptised there on 4 April 1875);
    died aged two in 1877
  • Sarah Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1877 and baptised there on 20 May)
  • James Batts (born at Stanton Harcourt in 1879 and baptised there on 1 June).

At the time of the 1881 census, James (1) was living with his parents at Stanton Harcourt. Three of his older siblings were at school: Mary Ann (12), who is recorded as being a cripple with a diseased hip; William (10); and Emma (8).

When James was just nine years old, his mother Ann Batts died at the age of 52 and was buried at Stanton Harcourt on 26 May.

By 1891 James (11), who was already working as an agricultural labourer, was living at 8 Black Ditch, Stanton Harcourt with his father Frederick Batts (47), who was also an agricultural labourer, and his siblings Mary Ann (22), who was a shirt needlewoman, and William (20) and Sarah (13). His sister Emma (18) was staying at West End, Chipping Norton with her maternal grandparents Thomas & Susannah Trinder, who were both 79.

James Batts joined the army before the First World War, and at the time of the 1901 census, when he was 22, he was a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery billeted at Dover Castle.

James had left the army by 1911 and was working as a baker in Old Headington, lodging at 1 Elmbank Cottages in Larkins Lane with the farm labourer Richard Morris (71) and his wife Catherine (73). Meanwhile James’s father  Frederick (67) had retired and was still living in Stanton Harcourt with James's brother William (40), who was a smallholder, and Sarah (33), who was a charwoman.

♥ On 22 October 1911 at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington, James Batts (32) married Elsie May Gammon (22), the daughter of John Thomas Gammon, a Headington gardener. They lived in Old High Street (probably at the British Workman, where his widow was living in 1923). James Batts was described as a baker at the baptism of his first two children. His third child was born nearly three months after his death at the Somme (hence her middle name):

  • James Frederick Batts (born in Old Headington on 11 July 1912 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 1 September)
  • Olive May Batts (born in Old Headington on 26 October 1913 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 15 November)
  • Joyce Nellie Somme Batts (born in Old Headington on 24 November 1916 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 7 January 1917).

Poppy In the First World War James Batts served as a gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery (Service No. 2119). He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme, and was presumably taken to hospital in Rouen, where he died of his wounds on 2 September 1916 at the age of 38. He was buried at the St Sever Cemetery, Rouen (B 24. 12).

James Batts is remembered on the Stanton Harcourt War Memorial and on this roll of honour of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington.


St Andrew's memorial board

James’s father
  • Frederick Batts died at the age of 85 and was buried at Stanton Harcourt on 2 May 1929.
James’s widow
  • Mrs Elsie May Batts (34) married Henry Charles Burden (39), a furnaceman from Coventry, at St Andrew’s Church on 10 February 1923. She was living at the British Workman (then 27, now 67 Old High Street), but after the wedding they moved to Coventry.
James’s children
  • James Frederick Batts (born 1912) married Kathleen Weston in Coventry in the second quarter of 1940. They had two children: Susan E. Batts (reg. Warwick fourth quarter of 1941) and John F. Batts (reg. Coventry third quarter of 1945).
  • Olive May Batts (born 1913) married William Manning in Coventry in the fourth quarter of 1939.
  • Joyce Nellie Somme Batts (born 1916) married Walter L. Waddell in Coventry in the third quarter of 1940.

See also

Back to St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington roll of honour

Back to War Memorials page on Headington Community Website