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75653 Private Horace Harry Batten - New Zealand Medical Corps
 
Horace Harry Batten was born in Stoke, Newington, on the 15th May 1890, the son of Harry and Elizabeth Jane Batten.[i]
 
Horace as a single man immigrated to New Zealand in 1910 and was employed as a medical attendant at the Porirua Mental Hospital.
 
Horace like many other young men from Porirua Hospital played association football for the Mental Hospital team. 
In the Evening Post's report on 25th July 1910[ii] of the game between YMCA and Mental Hospital noted that:
 
‘Cobb, in goal for Hospital, played a fine cool game, his powerful clearing being of great
assistance to his team. Of the rest of the defence the best were Batten, Roots and Skinner.’
 
All four men would serve in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during World War One with Cobb, Roots & Skinner enlisting in October 1914.
 
Horace enlisted in the New Zealand Medical Corp (NZMC) entering Trentham Camp, on 27th November 1915 as
Private Batten. Private Batten was transferred in December 1915 to Tauherenikau (Featherston) as part of the
permanent camp staff. Private Batten was promoted in February 1916 to Corporal Batten.
 
Corporal Batten was released from the army on 12 June 1916 to attend to family issues. When Horace enlisted in November 1915 as a single man he listed, as a friend, Miss G R Benson a nurse at Porirua Mental Hospital as his New Zealand contact, he however had a ‘liaison’ with Edith Meehan and a child was born in December 1915. Following court action, for maintenance, the couple married in March 1916 and when his wife later became sick[iii], Corporal Batten was released. Horace remained in Wellington working for the NZ Railways.
 
With the need for reinforcements married men, with children, were also selected in the conscription ballot in late 1917
and on 3 April 1918 Horace again entered the army, part of the 40th reinforcements, as 75653 Private Batten (NZMC). 
 
Private Batten was only in camp for a month before sailing on 4 May 1918 ‘on duty’ in the hospital ship
HMNZHS Marama. On arrival in England Private Batten was attached to the No2 New Zealand General Hospital at
Walton where he remained until June 1919 when he returned to New Zealand again ‘on duty’ in the hospital ship
HMNZHS Marama.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On 16th August 1919 75653 Private Horace Harry Batten was discharged “on termination of period of engagement” and returned to civilian life.
 
It is presumed that Horace returned to work at the Porirua Hospital as he was playing for the Mental Hospital team
when they played a team from the battleship HMS New Zealand.[iv] Horace played for the Hospital team until 1920,
when he was a Wellington representative[v] but in 1921 while he may have still been working at Porirua he was playing for the Wellington side, Waterside.[vi]
 
Horace, Edith and their daughter Audrey moved to Lyttleton, Christchurch where Horace continued to work as a hospital attendant being employed at Sunnyside and playing association football against his old Porirua team in 1923 when the two hospital teams played.[vii]
 
Horace was a keen supporter of association football as a player and administrator and also as the Secretary of the Lytellton Branch of the Returned Soldiers Association.
 
Sadly Horace and Edith’s only daughter Audrey died in 1932 aged 16. Edith died in 1966 and Horace in 1977.
 
Notes:
11/26 Lieutenant Walter Leonard Cobb MC -  Wellington Mounted Rifles.
3/442 Corporal Phillip Sydney Roots – New Zealand Medical Corps
3/722 Private William Skinner – New Zealand Medical Corp
See also 3/1328 Sergeant William Jacques also from Porirua Hospital who served on the Marama
 
References:
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 75653 Private Horace Henry Batten
Papers Past online
Mental About Wests (2207) Lucas & Moran
Union Steam Ship Company –SS Marama: www.ssmarintime.com/Marama
 
Photos -Painting:
HMNZHS Marama: Wallace Trickett
 
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 75653 Private Horace Harry Batten
[ii] Hot time at Porirua: Evening Post (25 July 1910)
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 75653 Private Horace Harry Batten
[iv] HMS New Zealand sports (22nd September 1919) Evening Post
[v] Mental About Wests (page iv)
[vi] Waterside Football Club (7th October 1921) Evening Post
[vii] Porirua v’s Sunnyside (24th July 1923) Christchurch Press