Joseph Wesley BATTAMS

BATTAMS, Joseph Wesley

Service Numbers: 2872, 2872A
Enlisted: 1 May 1916, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: West Marden, South Australia, 6 July 1896
Home Town: Payneham, Norwood Payneham St Peters, South Australia
Schooling: Payneham State school Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Killed in Action, Albert, France, 5 April 1918, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme
Panel number/wall of honour: 150,
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Payneham District Council Roll of Honor, Payneham Road Uniting (Methodist) Church Honor Roll, Payneham Roll of Honour, St Peters Heroes of the Great War Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

1 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 50th Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, SA
6 Nov 1916: Involvement Private, 2872, 50th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
6 Nov 1916: Embarked Private, 2872, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Afric, Adelaide
5 Apr 1918: Involvement Private, 2872A, 50th Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre

Help us honour Joseph Wesley Battams's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Joseph Wesley Battams was born on the 6th July 1896. He was the son of Mr. Wesley Battams and Mrs. Catherine Battams of River street, Payneham, South Australia. Joseph had one sister, Matilda May Addison. Joseph was raised a Methodist and attended the local Payneham state school in Adelaide.


Joseph Wesley Battams was a single, 20 year old carpenter when he enlisted into the army on May 1 1916. When he enlisted Joseph was 5 feet and 9.5 inches tall, weighed 157 pounds, he had a medium complexion, dark brown hair, and brown eyes.


Joseph was assigned to the 7th Reinforcement of the 50th Battalion. The 50th battalion was composed of men predominately from South Australia, it was a part of the 13th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division. His service number was 2872A and he was attached to the base Infantry. He had prior military service by serving in the cadets, which provided him with experience and a better understanding of what was expected from servicemen in the war.


He embarked from Adelaide six months later on the 7th November 1916, at the age of 21, on the HMAT Afric A19. After a few months at sea, he disembarked at Plymouth, England on the 9th of January 1917.


Joseph Wesley Battams arrived in France on the 8th August 1917 and began serving in the field on the 8th of August. As a member of the 50th battalion, he fought against and contributed in the development that followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917. Later in the year, the focus of the Australian Imperial Force moved to the Ypres area in Belgium. Between the 7th and 12th June, Joseph Wesley Battams fought in the battle of Messines and on the 26th September he was also involved in the battle of Polygon wood. Throughout the rest of the year and the bleak winter the battalion alternated between front-line duty, and training.(


On the 8th of February 1918, Joseph Wesley Battams changed his next of kin from his mother, Caroline Battams who had passed away on the 11th of June 1917 to his sister, Mrs Matilda May Addison of Henry Street, Payneham. Not long after, towards the end of March, the German army launched a major attack on the Western Front.


On the 5th of April Joseph Wesley Battams was serving in the back area, waiting to serve at the front as the German Troops sent high explosives towards where he was. 9 casualties were killed from the explosives, and Joseph was one of them. He died at the age of 21 near Albert in France as the 50th battalion assisted in the deterring one of the largest German attacks against Australian troops during the war at Dernancourt.


Joseph Wesley Battams was buried in the Ribemont communal cemetery extension, in France. His panel number on the wall of honour at the Australian war memorial is 150.


The only remains of his service during world war 1 included some letters, photos, cards, his wallet, a black cat and a kangaroo charm, which he carried with him for protection.


The AIF project 2008, Joseph Wesley Battams, UNSW Australia, Canberra, accessed 4 April 2016, <>.

The Australian War Memorial 2007, Joseph Wesley Bantams, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, accessed 1 April 2016, <https:/>.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 2010, Joseph Wesley Battams, Reading Room, Canberra, accessed 1 April 2016, <>.

National Archives of Australia 2008, Joseph Wesley Battams, Australian Government, Canberra, accessed 1 April 2016, <>.

State library of South Australia 2004, Joseph Wesley Battams, Government of South Australia, Adelaide, accessed 1 April 2016, <>.