John William Bateman
Date of birth: 1922
Date of death: 3.1.1944
Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Family information: Son of William and Elizabeth Ann Bateman of New Crofton
Service number: 1482192
Born in 1922, John was one of seven children, four girls and three boys. John and his brother Raymond, who was known as “Mick”, were close in age and alike in appearance. They were short and stickily built with fair hair and blue eyes. John had the nickname “Nebby”. They were great pals and full of fun and daring. When left to “eye” the potatoes for Grandma Palmer they left the job half done and went off to play. John’s civilian occupation was mining but when the War started, as a member of the Volunteer reserve, he was one of the first to go.
John trained as an aircrew Wireless Operator and Air Gunner and served with 103 Squadron flying Blenheim, Wellington and Lancaster bombers. His log books indicate that he did some training at 30 O.T.U. John’s sense of daring showed itself in that he and two friends hitched lifts on trains and jumped off in Nostell Sidings to get home when they had a weekend pass. John was at home for Christmas in 1943 and on the last day of his leave was having a drink with Uncle John Palmer in the Club. He admitted to feeling unwell and Uncle John suggested that he should get a doctor’s note and not go back on duty. Courage and loyalty to his crew made young John reply, “No, we’ll be flying tonight”.
John and his crew flew 23 Operational Missions, the last of which took them to Berlin on the 3rd January 1944. It is believed that their aircraft collided with another over the target and the whole crew were killed. They are buried together at Zehrendrof Cemetery in the Charlottenburg suburb of Berlin. Evidence from John’s log book indicates that the crew were Flight Sergeant R J Hunter, Sergeant A J Larby, Sergeant C R Greenwell, Sergeant R G Creber and Sergeant J W Bateman. John’s log books and medals were treasured possessions of his brother “Mick”. The medals are the Europe Star, Aircrew Europe Medal and the 1939-45 Medal.