Batemans – One Last Time
So another wonderful Bateman’s event comes to a close and this was our last one at a wonderful National Trust house.
The weekend was fraught with dangers especially the heat and constant sun, not only did it enable us to all get red faces and necks also meant that our battlefield display was minus the shell explosions. This did not affect anything and it made the arena display even more poignant showing the 10th Essex final assault capturing the German lines with the loss of very few men.
I spoke to a wonderful lady who came along with a folder full of documents from her grandfather, she told me he was one of the soldiers who took part in the Christmas 1914 football match, what an honour it was to meet her. Then she went on to say that her Mother was one of the Air Transport Auxiliary Corp who flew Spitfires and Bombers to the Front Line. What a privilege it was to hear her story. It just shows you that you never know who turns up as long as you are willing to listen to their stories, thank you whoever you are.
We had a slightly different encampment this year with a mess tent set aside for the public who wanted to find out if a relative had died during the Great War. Staffed by some of our land girls, their names were looked up on a database and if found the names were written on our role of honour by campaign. Out of the hundreds of people who asked we found only about 50 names which just shows you the randomness of the conflict. You can read the roll of honour here.
The center piece of our encampment was our own war memorial which throughout both days a guard of honour was performed by the members of the 10th Essex. Restricted to 15 minutes at a time due to the heat, each member who took part stood in silence, head bowed in respect to those who did not return.
At our final lowering of the flag, the troops marched in full uniform and once the Union and Essex flags were lowered, they took off their webbing, laid down their arms, doffed a flat cap and walked away symbolising the de-mobbing of the troops at the end of the war. A very moving moment for all concerned.
All I can say is a big thank you to all of you, the public, for supporting this event over the years as I know some of you are return visitors. Also we would like to thank the National Trust to allow us to camp in the grounds every year and their excellent hostelry.
As for us, we always enjoy this event and it is sad to not to return but pastures new await and if you want to find out where we will be then sign up to our newsletter.