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Horace Batten

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "Horace Batten, who has died aged 102, was chairman of the eponymous firm of artisan bootmakers based in Northamptonshire, and the fifth generation of a family whose products have graced the hunting fields of England from before the time of R S Surtees.
    His father, also Horace, had been lured to the county from the family bootmaking business in London in the early 1900s to bring West End styling to bootmaking in the Long Buckby area – a stone’s throw from Weedon, where the Army’s cavalry regiments had their main base.
    Horace senior’s only child, Horace Lampard Batten, was born on June 17 1912, and could trace the history of his family back to the Civil War. As well as supplying generations of huntsmen and whippers-in, Batten boots are thought to have performed sterling service in every conflict since.
    In 1920 his father moved to Northampton to set up his own bootmaking business, and the young Horace obtained a scholarship to Northampton School for Boys. As a teenager he developed a strong interest in sport, and for a short period captained both the Northampton Saints rugby and cricket teams. He joined Northampton County Cricket Club as a professional, but had to give up when his mother’s health deteriorated and he was called into the family business. He continued, however, to play as a “bat-for-hire” in the West Midlands Cricket League; in such outings he was paid by results, and he liked to recall that 40 runs and two wickets would earn him the equivalent of a week’s bootmaking pay.
    Horace took over control of the business in his mid-twenties and steered it successfully up until the outbreak of the Second World War, when production was switched from the manufacture of hunting and cavalry boots to deck boots for submariners – products he developed with the war ministry based on Norwegian fishermen’s boots.
    He also provided footwear for members of the Women’s Land Army who were otherwise at the bottom of the priority list. He managed this by using, for the soles, heavy-duty industrial leather belting which no one else wanted. For his wartime work he received a letter of thanks from the king."

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