Reginald Lawrie BATTEN MID


BATTEN, Reginald Lawrie

Service Number: SX8894
Enlisted: 17 July 1940, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 5 June 1904
Home Town: Prospect, Prospect, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Assistant manager
Died: Died of Wounds, New Guinea, 23 November 1943, aged 39 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
(CWGC) Official Commemoration - Grave Location: BB. A. 8.
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

17 Jul 1940: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Major, SN SX8894, 2nd/43rd Infantry Battalion, Adelaide, South Australia
23 Nov 1943: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Major, SN SX8894, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

Larrikin to Leader

Reginald Lawrie Batten
Reg’s parents, Lily and George lived in Olive Street, Prospect, a house that is now lived in by the third generation of the family. He was the second of four children; after his brother George arrived, Reg was the second born son, being born in June 1904. Two girls, Daphne, (nicknamed Cherry) and Phyllis arrived in subsequent years.
Life in the early 1900’s was a big adventure where children were usually free to roam. At times they got up to harmless mischief, but if caught, faced quite a dressing down, both by local constables and then again from supportive parents at home! As a 10-year-old Reg was one of 10 youths charged with ‘riotous behaviour’ for taking the bike pump of a labourer, Mr Guthrie, working on a building site at Bowden. A fit Sargent Radford, pursued and caught one of the lads who admitted throwing the stolen pump into a nearby yard. With the threat of being taken to the police station the whole group of boys tried to unsuccessfully free their friend. Much chastened, they were later dealt with by the Magistrates Court. The Advertiser in their November 1914 issue reported the result was that:
“Four of the boys, Albert Britten, Stanley James Brown, Reginald Batten, and Joshua Walter Eldridge, who were recognised by Mr. Guthrie, pleaded guilty, and were each fined 10/- ($1.00) without cost, in default three days' in detainment. Twenty-one days were allowed for payment. The charge against the other were dismissed.”
Another inadvertent brush with the law in 1930 occurred when “Reginald L. Batten, of Prospect, was fined £1 with £1 costs for having had no lights on stationary motor cars.”
After compulsory schooling, Reg enrolled at the School of Mines and Industry, gaining passes in Chemistry in 1922. He and older brother, George were close and regularly frequented dances in the heady post WWI days. Their parents also enjoyed hosting themed parties at their home which they generously opened to friends and extended family. One notable red and black themed evening dance was replete with colour coordinated hats, streamers and confetti. Even the playing of the moonlight waltz was accompanied by a lighting display of a full moon and shower of stars! The very sociable Lily and George their niece, Molly Samwell’s 21st Birthday celebrations. Again, rainbow streamers featured with games, dancing, music and competitions. The two brothers, George and Reg also attended dances for the District Trained Nursing Society in 1926 to raise fund to buy a motor car to enable the nurses to travel to patients’ homes. Crimson decorations appropriately decorated the Glenelg Town Hall that night. The Avalon Club and the Naval and Military Ball at the Palais Royal were another venue where dancing was enjoyed by the brothers. Reg’s parents’ generosity saw them host another (surprise) 21st birthday party for Ray White in 1930 with both George and Reg contributed to the celebrations. Ray was very much part of the family as he married Cherry (Daphne), Reg’s younger sister, in November of that same year, choosing Reg to be his groomsman. Reg also enjoyed playing music, as well as being groomsman for his friend Jack Sandow in 1928 he also contributed several musical items at the reception.
Aside from his regular work Reg was also involved with the Army, initially as a Private in 1923, then rose to be a Corporal. In 1926 he and Haynes Leader were both gazetted lieutenants in the 48th Battalion. Then in 1940 is appointed as second in command of the 2/48th Battalion, Transferring from the 2/43rd.
Reg married Gertrude Mary in 1931 (just before his mother’s death in 1934). “Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), Saturday 12 December 1931, page 14 JENNINGS—BATTEN.—The marriage of Gertrude Mary, daughter of Mrs. and the late Mr. S. Jennings, of Mount Barker, to Reginald L., second son of Mr. and Mrs. G J. Batten, of Prospect, will be solemnised at the Mount Barker Methodist Church on 19th December, at 8 pm.”
Sadly, Reg’s mother, Lily died the following year in 1932 and did not get to enjoy her granddaughter, Reg and Gertrude’s only daughter Jane, born in 1934.
By the time Reg enlisted for WWII aged 36, he held the responsible position of an Assistant Manager, in a wholesale Chemist. He moved rapidly up the ranks of command, becoming a Sargeant in July 1923, Lieutenant in January 1926, Captain in September of 1932, then Acting Major in 1939 and finally Major in July 1940. His was a distinguished leadership, including being mentioned in Despatches for gallantry and distinguished service in PNG. His service and the high regard in which he was held is documented in ‘Tobruk to Tarakan’, written by John G. Glenn, where Reg is described as being ‘a man who was sincere in his appreciation of others and who at all times gave unstinting loyalty to his commanding officer.’ In another publication, The New Guinea Offensives, Reg’s leadership and practical planning “ensured that water, ammunition and rations were rapidly carried forward” in the offensive on Steeple Tree Hill against the Japanese in PNG. Despite being officially condemned, the troop initiated “Ho, Ho” call saved the 2/48th and 2/23rd battalions in the area from firing on each other in the close confines of the jungle. As his military records show, Reg’s life and that of Captain Treloar and Lieutenant Butler were cut all too short in a Japanese bombardment of the 2/48th Battalion on the 23rd November 1943. This was well before Reg was able to enjoy watching his little 9-year-old daughter grow up.
His family and friends continued to remember him in subsequent years.

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), Friday 10 December 1943, page 10 DIED ON ACTIVE SERVICE "At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them." BATTEN. Major R. L— Beloved son of Mr. G. Batten and the late Mrs Batten, of Prospect, and brother of George 'Hardy' R.A.A.F. Died of wounds. November 23,1943. New Guinea. BATTEN Major R L.—A tribute of love to our dear brother and brother in-law. Reg, who died of wounds in New Guinea, on Nov. 13. 1943 —Inserted by Daphne (Cherry), Ray and children. Prospect. BATTEN. —In loving memory of our dear brother and brother-in-law. Major R. L Batten, who died of wounds in New Guinea on November 23, 1943. —Inserted by Phyllis, Perce and family
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), Thursday 23 November 1944, page 8 BATTEN. —In loving memory of my dear son, Major Reg L. Batten, who died of wounds In N.G. Nov. 23. 1943. Gone from us his smiling face, his loving, cheerful ways; the heart that won so many friends, in happy, bygone days. — Always remembered by his father. BATTEN. —Fondest memories of dear Reg. who died of wounds. N.G. on Nov. 23. 1943. So dearly loved, so sadly missed by his loving sister Cherry, brother-in-law Ray and children. BATTEN. —In loving memory of my dear brother Reg, who died of wounds. N.G. on Nov. 23. 1943. A thought to day, a memory for ever. —lnserted by his brother George IEAXF.I. BATTEN. Major R. L.—ln loving memory of brother Reg. died of wounds at New Guinea. Nov. 23. 1943. Your memory will live for ever. —Remembered by Phyllis, Perce. Mary and Ellen. BATTEN. —A tribute to Reg, died of wounds N.G, Nov. 23. 1943. —From Betty. Lil and Bert. BATTEN. —in honored memory of Major R. L. Batten, 2/48 BUL, A.I. F-, died of wounds. N.G. Nov. 23, 1943. — Always remembered by Eric Teague. late 2/48 Btn. BATTEN. Reg. late 43/48 Btn. — A tribute of honor to a brave soldier and staunch friend, died of wounds. N.G. Nov. 23. 1943. Resting where no shadows fall. —Always remembered by 43/48 Sgts. Social Club.
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), Saturday 23 November 1946, page 20 BATTEN. —Loving memories of our dear son and brother Reg. who died of wounds in New Guinea on Nov. 23. 1943. —Sadly missed by his father, sisters Cherry and Phyllis brothers-in-law Ray and Perc.
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), Wednesday 23 November 1949, page 20 BATTEN. —In loving memory of our dear son, brother and uncle Reg. who died of wounds in N.G November 23. 1943.—Always remembered by his loving father and family.
Reg continues to be remembered, respected and held in high regard by his descendants and extended family.
Lest We Forget.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133 of the 2/48th with information provided by Reg’s niece Ros Rogers.

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