THE EXECUTION OF FRANK BATEMAN (1898 – 1918)

The following information in the two tables was obtained from the web-site of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The first table gives the bare details of Frank's military career and his place of burial

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Private

Regiment:

York and Lancaster Regiment

Unit Text:

1st/4th Battalion.

Age:N

28

Date of Death:

10/09/1918

Service No:

203313

Additional information:

Son of Mr. C. Bateman, of 3, Kilton St., Sheffield.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

XII. C. 4.

Cemetery:

VILLERS STATION CEMETERY, VILLERS-AU-BOIS        

Villers-au-Bois is a village in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, 11 kilometres north-west of Arras. The Cemetery is about 2 kilometres north-west of the village along a track from the Villers-au-Bois to Servins road (D65).

The Cemetery where Frank is buried was begun by the French but was used by Commonwealth divisions and field ambulances from the time they took over this part of the front in July 1916 until September 1918. It is associated particularly with the Canadian Corps whose headquarters were nearby and many of the graves in Plots V to X date from April 1917 and the Battle of Vimy Ridge. After the Armistice, a few graves were brought in from isolated positions in the neighbourhood and in June 1923, the French graves were removed, the great majority to Notre Dame-de-Lorette French National Cemetery. Villers Station Cemetery now contains 1,208 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 32 German war graves. 

The 1901 Census shows Frank's family living at 3 Kilton Street, Pitsmoor, Sheffield (PRO Ref RG13/4373 Folio 37 Page25 ent4). The information states that Charles was a widower and so Frank's mother must have died in the period after the birth of his sister Lily. I believe that Charles  married a FANNY MANN in the March quarter of 1888 in Sheffield (PRO Ref Sheffield Vol 9C Page455). The same register also records the death of a FANNY BATEMAN at the age of 32 in the December quarter of 1900 (PRO Ref Sheffield Vol 9C Page32). If this is the case and I believe it to be correct, Frank was only ten years old when he lost his mother. This was confirmed when I located the following entry in the burial register of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.

BATEMAN, Fanny (Wife of C Bateman, age 32).Died at 3 Kilton Street; Buried on December 26, 1900 in Consecrated ground;
Grave Number 47, Section T of Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield. Parent or Next of Kin if Available: . Remarks: Officiating Minister, W T Edginton.

SURNAME Age Rel Occupation Place of Birth
BATEMAN Charles 32 Head Edge Tool Hardener Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Sydney 12 Son Scholar Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Frank 10 Son Scholar Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Charles 8 Son  Scholar Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Lily 5 Daughter   Sheffield, England, Yorkshire

Ten years later the family were still living at 3 Kilton Street but without Frank. To date I have not been able to locate him in the census

Enumerator Information Address 3 Kilton Street Parish Sheffield Type of Building Private House Number of Rooms 3 Inhabited Y Reference RG14PN27928 RG78PN1598 RD510 SD5 ED5 SN104 Administrative County Yorkshire (West Riding) Registration District Sheffield Registration Sub District West Brightside Enumeration District 5

SURNAME Age Rel Occupation Place of Birth
BATEMAN Charles 42 Head Edge Tool Hardener Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Sydney 22 Son Newsboy Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Charles 18 Son Labourer Sheffield, England, Yorkshire
BATEMAN Lily 15 Daughter   Sheffield, England, Yorkshire

The address of Kilton Street no longer exists  but was located in the Pitsmoor district of Sheffield. The road  joined Andover Street to Spital Lane crossing over Brunswick Road. It was Frank's home for most of his life 

Julian Putkowski and Julian Sykes in their book "Shot at Dawn state that Frank was initially posted to 1/4 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (49 West Riding Division) at the end of June 1915. The Battalion served at Ypres in the Autumn of 1915 and then transferred to the Somme in 1916. Frank was wounded in the summer of that year and after recovery was posted to 1/5 Battalion. He first deserted in 1917 and received a sentence of one year’s imprisonment that was suspended. Later that year he was returned to England with this time a self inflicted wound.

Returning to his original Battalion in 1918 (1/4 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) he deserted again and received a fifteen year sentence again suspended. In June 1918 he went missing yet again and received the death sentence at the subsequent court martial. The sentence was carried out on 10th September 1918. Frank was the sixth and final soldier from Sheffield to be executed. It was of cousre just two months from the end of the war. 

In the Sheffield Weekly News of 12th October 1918 the following notice appeared

BATEMAN – In loving memory of Private Frank Bateman, Yorks and Lancs, died on service 10th September 1918, after three-and-half years service. Deeply regretted – From Father ,Brother and Sister 

The inference of the notice is chilling. Frank’s family were deceived into believing that he had died “on service” – the term was copied from the official army notification of his death. They were unaware of the tragedy that was inflicted on Frank by the British Army.

The Burgess Rolls (Register of Electors) for the Spring of 1921 (Lopham PD - Burngeave Ward p17)show that Charles and Sidney Bateman were still living at 3 Kilton Street as was a Frederick Willey (naval\military). The chances are that they were still unaware of Frank's fate 

Sources

Unquiet Graves Guide  Execution sites of the First World War in Flanders - Piet Chielens and Julian Putkowski 
Rusteloze graven gids – Executieplaatsen uit de Eerste Wereldoorlog in de Westhoek
The Guide is centred on the countryside around Ieper (Ypres) and Poperinge in the Westhoek of Flanders and visits the places of execution and graves of men 'shot at dawn' by the British Army in the Great War.

Shot at Dawn - Julian Putkowski and Julian Sykes - The standard reference work about soldiers executed under the British Army Act in the First World War (1989).

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1901 UK Census

1911 UK Census

Sheffield Indexers

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This page was last updated on 19/04/11 11:35