The son of Joseph and Elizabeth Bateman of Orford Twsp., Kent County, ON. The son of Agnes Bateman of Orford Twsp., Kent County, ON., brother of Charles, Joseph, Mrs. Addeman and Miss Aggie and half brothers William, John, Thomas, half sisters Mily and Mrs. John Heatherington and Mrs. Fennel. RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 502 – 4, Item: 28755. Attestation: 5/01/1916 at St. Thomas, ON. to the 91st Bn.
Robert enlisted at the age of 20 years, even though he felt a responsibility to the family farm. In January of 1916 while attending a recruiting meeting at the opera house he enlisted in the 91st Elgin and Kent Regiment, transferring to the 186th, where he was promoted to Sgt. and sent to Thamesville to conduct a recruitment campaign.
Robert left for overseas the 22/03/1917 aboard the S. S. Lapland, arriving in Liverpool, England 7/04/17. He trained at Bramshot in England before being drafted to the 18th Bn., crossing to France 20/08/17. Robert was promoted to the rank of Corporal 22/11/17. He was wounded 12/08/18 (Head Wound) and DOW 14/08/18 at No. 3 Australian General Hospital at Abberville, France. “Sgt. Bateman died the death of a hero.” CDP 28/08/17.
Mrs. Bateman received the following letter concerning her son’s death:
France, Aug. 18, 1918.
My Dear Mrs. Bateman,
I cannot tell you how sorry I am that Bob is gone. He was really a splendid fellow as well as a magnificent soldier. I feel that I have lost one of my best and most loyal friends and I feel the loss very keenly.
To you, I am sure the loss is almost unbearable. I feel sure that a fellow who has always such a help to his officers, must have been a very devoted son and a great comfort to his mother.
I always had great faith in his ability. I was responsible for his being first a corporal and then a sergeant in Canada, and being in the same company, I recommended him for his promotion here.
You may possibly know that I am Transport Officer of the Battalion now. The night before the show started, I had a convoy up to the lines with rations. Bob was in the party, which came to get them, and I was talking to him for a minute or two. He was cheerful and seemed to be looking forward to the show without fear.
One of the boys who was with him, and who has since gone out, gassed came to me a day or two later, and said this if I was writing to you, he wanted me to tell you of the last words he had with Bob. He said that just before they went over the top, Nob said to him, “Well Gander, I have just sent up a little prayer that if it is God’s will I would like to come through it for the sake of the folks at home.” So you see, his last thoughts were of you and the home folks and a prayer for safety, not for his own sake, but for yours.
Corporal Gander replied, “I have sent up one like that myself.” And over the top they went.
You will probably not hear from many of his comrades, as soldiers are inclined to be poor letter writers; and the facilities for writing are not good. (I am writing this in a little hole scooped out in an open field), but I can assure you that all of the boys of his company are mourning his loss, and telling of his good qualities and his soldierly behavior in the field. I am sure you must be proud to be the mother of such a boy.
I do hope that you can feel resigned to God’s will. Life at the longest is short, and he has only gone a little sooner from haying done, his duty, and done it extremely well.
Will you please convey to the family my deepest sympathy and assure them that I join in their mourning.
I wish I could write a better letter. At present I feel that all I can do is to send Corporal Gander’s message, and to let you know that I am thinking of you today. With best wishes to yourself and the family.
I am, very sincerely yours.
Lieut. 18th Batt. Cdns.
Transcribed from CDP 28/08/17.
Robert Batemen died of wounds, a gunshot wound to the head 10/08/1918.
James N. Mowbray would latter be promoted to the rank of Captain and be wounded in action. James Henry Gander 3130212 may be the Corporal mentioned.