Born: 1922, Port-de Grave, Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Died: 11th November 1943; age: 21; killed in an aircraft accident.
Rank: Sergeant/Wireless Operator/Air Gunner; Service Number: 1333486
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 161 Squadron. EB129
Brother to Herbert Gilbert McDonald Batten.
Father: Gilbert Batten, born January 1897, Bareneed, New Foundland – died 1985, Ipswich.
Mother: Jessie Winifred Batten (nee Palmer), born September 1899, Islington, London – died 1997, Ipswich.
Father Gilbert Batten was demobilised from the Royal Naval Reserve Service – H.M.S. ‘Attentive’ in July 1919.
1930 Cristobal, Cristobal District, Panama Canal Zone.
Harold was 8 years old he was living with his parents and brother.
Gilbert, 33, a supervisor – All America Cables.
Arthur Douglas Batten, 5, born Canal Zone.
Their home was rented.
On the 26th September 1925, 3 year old, Harold departed from the Port of Cristobal, Colon, Panama with his mother & brothers. They sailled 2nd Class, on the S.S. ‘Oropesa’ of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. Their destination was the Port of Liverpool. They were to stay at ‘Asiel’ Queens Avenue, Whitehall, Ramsgate, Kent. His mother, Jessie, 25, brother, Herbert Gilbert McDonald Batten, 6, and brother, Arthur Douglas Batten, 1.
On the 8th April 1936, at the Port of Liverpool, 14 year old, Harold embarked the S.S. ‘Oropesa’ with his parents & brothers. They were contracted to land at Colon, Panama and return to their home. His father, Gilbert, 29, a Cable Operator, his mother, Jessie, 26, his brothers, Herbert, 17, and Arthur, 11.
On the 5th July 1939, at the Port of Cristobal, Panama, 17 year old, Harold embarked the S.S. ‘Oropesa’ with his mother & brothers, as 2nd Class passengers. Their permanent residence was at Canal Zone. They were contracted to land at the Port of Liverpool. His mother, Jessie, 29, his brothers Herbert, 20 & Arthur, 15. They were to stay at Queen’s Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent. ‘Asiel’ Queens Avenue, Whitehall, Ramsgate, Kent was the home of Harold’s maternal grandparents.
Harold and Gilbert are also remembered on the war memorial at Rushmere St. Andrew, Suffolk.
11th November 1943
Aircraft: Halifax BV; Serial Number: EB129; Radio Call Sign: MA-W; based at R.A.F. Tempsford, Bedfordshire. Operation: Pennyfathing/Trainer 38 and Malphomeme. The aircraft took off at 19:50hrs on the 10th November on a special mission over enemy territory, the first drop was Pennyfathing an Office of Strategic Services target. Following engine failure, the pilot lost control in cloud at 3,000ft and crashed at 02:00hrs at Brunelles, 45km west of Chartres, France.
Harold’s fellow crew members:
Murray Alfred Line; Captain/Pilot Officer; age 26; R.A.A.F.
Burton W. Gross; 2nd Pilot/Lieutenant; age 27; U.S.A.A.F.
Ernest Reginald Watts; Flight Sergeant/Navigator; age 23; R.A.F.V.R.
Ronald Cotterill; Sergeant/Flight Engineer; age 23; R.A.F.V.R.
Ernest Harrison; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 32; R.A.A.F.
Wilfred Raymond Russ Shore; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 22; R.C.A.F
Jack G. Pilkington; Flight Officer/Air Bomber of the R.A.F. Survived the aircraft crash. He was captured on the 2nd February 1944, while trying to rendezvous with a motor torpedo boat to take him off the beach at Quimper.
Burton Gross was a trainee for The Special Duty Squadrons of the U.S.A.A.F, the “Carpetbaggers.”
Ernest Watts’s brother, Roy O. Watts wrote a book about this flight: “They Flew Low-Alone-in Moonlight.”