Into the Battle of Messines WW1

Mudgee Guardian Article by Colleen O’Sullivan 5 May 2014

Featured image: Dead Man’s Penny. This memorial plaque was sent to Eddie Batten’s parents after he died. The family attached it to his gravestone. Some years ago a council employee found it lying nearby. 1.355 million plaques were issued to British subjects who died due to World War 1. It was known as a “dead man’s penny” because it was similarly made of bronze, though five inches in diameter.

I have long wanted to discover my great-uncle Private Edward Michael Batten, ‘Uncle Eddie’. Because, though he died so long ago, I was aware that his death caused great sadness for my grandmother, his sister. Even my aunt Meg Hughes who was only a toddler when he died was affected. No doubt my interest was captured too, in history lessons on the war and by such books as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front.  It isn’t just Eddie I seem to be searching for, but all those young men who enlisted, yearning for heroism, and died in a futile field of mud.

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Into the Battle

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