Harold Knowles Battye (1917-1944)

An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.


Harold Knowles Battye was born on 10 May 1917, the son of farm labourer Alfred Battye and his wife Emily.

At the time of the 1939 Register, he was working as an audit clerk and living with his parents at Wall Nooks, Holmfirth.


Harold K. Battye graduated from Bomber Command as a Navigator in 1943 and was then promoted to Flying Officer with 630 Squadron.

On the night of 20 February 1944, 26-year-old he was to have taken part in a bombing raid on Stuttgart. Assigned to Lancaster III ND563, the pilot lost control during the take off at 23:40 from RAF East Kirkby and the plane crashed through the airfield's boundary fence onto Stickney Road. Moments later, the undercarriage collapsed and one of bombs onboard detonated, killing all but one of the crew. The other fatalities were:

  • Pilot Officer Edgar John Murray (170229) — pilot
  • Sergeant Kenneth James Wallbey (1577234) — wireless operator
  • Sergeant Francis Westhead (1588698) — flight engineer
  • Sergeant Philip Gascoyne Mottram (1101314) — bomber
  • Sergeant Douglas William Remole (R/194658) — gunner

Sergeant William Alfred Cyril Davies (179238) was the sole survive. He died a few months later on 22 June 1944.[1]

Harold Knowles Battye was buried at St. Paul's Church, Shepley.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission



Notes and References

  1. Returning from a mission, Davies' plane had been badly damaged by a night fighter. The pilot ordered to crew to bail out over Cambridgeshire. Davies' parachute had been damaged, so he jumped tied to another crew member but accidentally fell to his death.