Batley and the Great War

Batley Lads: The Story of the 62 men on the Roll of Honour at Batley Grammar School who died in the First World War

Batley is a small town in Yorkshire. Like all communities in Great Britain, Batley sent many of its young men to fight in the First World War.

Although Batley Grammar School was small in its number of pupils, it lost 61 boys and one master in the four year war from 1914 to 1918.

The book Batley Lads, written by Philip Wheeler, Stuart Archer, Peter Wrigley and Ian Fallows, traces all of those men who died fighting for their country, whether they were in the Australian Army or the Canadian Army at the time, or fighting for local Yorkshire Regiments in France and Flanders. It tells the story of their lives before the war and their life in the military, also illustrating where and when they died. A few of those stories have been recreated on the Legacies of War website, emphasising the diverse variety of experiences lived by just a small handful of those who served during the Great War.

Fascinating tales of adventures before the war are told. A Batley Lad who went to Australia and was instrumental in forging the ‘Vegetarian Society‘ in that country with his wife; the story of a lad who emigrated to Canada, only to come back to Europe to fight, whose family were related to a forgotten, but now remembered soprano from Yorkshire who sang at Covent Garden in Edwardian times. She was one of the first to record Elgar’s ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. The story of a boy from Batley who fought in the Spanish American War and then left for Australia, only to be arrested for arson in New Zealand, before being cleared. The story of a Yorkshire County Cricketer, whose life is commemorated now in a plaque at their ground in Yorkshire. All these and many other stories are revealed in the book.

To learn more about Batley Grammar School’s experience of the First World War, told through the pages of the school magazine, and to read profiles of some of the Batley men who fought and died in the war, please select from the menu on the left hand side of the page.