Descendants of a Second World War soldier who died in mysterious circumstances are being sought in a bid to remember him.
Second Lieutenant Peter Batchen served with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) during the conflict.
The regiment’s many battalions saw active service in Burma and the Dunkirk evacuation in France, as well as Italy and the north-west Europe campaign during the war.
Second Lieutenant Batchen died in Aberdeen from a gunshot wound.
His death certificate shows he was 45 years old when he died at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) at 2am on October 24 1941.
His occupation is given as a newspaper advertising agent and he is listed as being divorced from Clarice Hoban.
The cause of death appears ambiguous as it is entered as “accidental? gunshot wound of chest; pneumonia” by Dr James McNair.
But nearly a month later, an amended cause of death was submitted to the Northern District registrar for Aberdeen.
Certified by Procurator Fiscal WJ Robertson on November 21 1941, the cause of death was changed to “gunshot wound of chest; pneumonia (suicide)”.
It is unclear whether 2nd Lt Batchen was still serving at the time and if he really took his own life.
Predeceased by his parents Peter and Margaret Batchen, it was a cousin living at 109 Brighton Place, Aberdeen, who registered his death.
He was interred at Springbank Cemetery in Aberdeen but appears to have no formal marked grave, although research shows he may be commemorated on a family grave at Elgin Cathedral.
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Now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) wants to ensure 2nd Lt Batchen is suitably remembered and is appealing for anyone who thinks they might be a relation to get in touch to become involved in the commemoration.
The CWGC has more than 170,000 graves across 13,000 burial grounds in the UK, with team members carrying out regular inspections of sites.
Where a casualty’s grave has fallen into a state of disrepair or doesn’t exist, the organisation will step in.
The CWGC’s September appeal for next of kin says: “Second Lieutenant Batchen is inadequately commemorated at his burial location.
“The Commission is in the process of producing a headstone to mark his grave.”
The new granite grave will be a pedestal marker – also known as a Gallipoli marker – which is a short, square stone carved from granite. Any relatives who do come forward can then be kept informed of the process.
The new headstone will be made in France before being installed at Springbank Cemetery, which has 95 casualties from the First and Second World Wars.
The new appeal comes after the success of a similar plea featured in the Evening Express in August.
A search for family members of Lance Corporal Vincent Dawson proved fruitful after Callum Stuart, chairman of Culter Heritage, did his own digging and managed to track down descendents. Through Callum’s research, the CWGC has now been contacted by Alan Dawson – the great nephew of L/Cpl Dawson – who was unaware of his family’s poignant First World War story.
Anyone who thinks they may be related to 2nd Lt Peter Batchen and could provide documentation is urged to get in touch with the CWGC by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org