Batchie Griffiths

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Batchie Griffiths
Announcement Date: February 27, 2018

Elizabeth Jane Griffiths known as Batchie

Born in Llandingat, Carmarthenshire, in 1899. Batchie was enrolled with the Red Cross at the age of 18 and served as a VAD for just over a year. She was stationed at Catterick Military Hospital as a clerk.

After her time at Catterick Camp, she returned to North Wales and married Emlyn James. Just before Christmas 1946, the British authorities relaxed the rules on contacts between British people and German prisoners of war. Emlyn and
Batchie James were among the many British families who invited German prisoners to their home on Christmas day. From then on they invited two German prisoners from the camp at Castle Martin to their home in Pembroke every fortnight. Each time a prisoner was moved to a different camp, another would take his place, and so over time they got to know many Germans.

Batchie and Emlyn received a letter from the Secretary of State for War refusing permission for two German prisoners of war, Helmut Grothe and Joachim Becker, to visit before returning to Germany. These two prisoners had been among those whom Emlyn and Batchie James had invited to their home in Pembroke.

This information provided by Alathea Anderssohn (granddaughter of Batchie Griffiths) has been drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ archive.

Return to the ribbon

Explore more memories from the ribbon

  • Wilfred Whitfield

    Wilfred was born in March 1896 in Marske by the Sea near Redcar on the East coast. When he was young his family moved to Middlesbrough where his father worked in the steelworks. Wilfred was training as a draughtsman when war broke out. Wilfred was just 5’ 2’’ tall, an inch shorter that the regulation height. But due to the great manpower losses he eventually got his chance in early 1915 when recruitment standards were somewhat relaxed. He enlisted in the 4th Battalion. It was in November of 1916 in the latter stages of the Somme offensive that the work party that Wilfred had volunteered for came under fire. On his way back to his own lines he was caught by a shell explosion. He was taken to a hospital at Abbeville where his left arm was amputated. Back in England Wilfred had to adjust to life without a limb. He was classed as ‘incurably unemployable’ and found it impossible to get a job. He used his time to study employment law and became a ceaseless campaigner for better conditions of his fellow jobless war wounded. He would continue to do so even when after he eventually gained employment. He was instrumental in establishing one of the first branches of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association) in Teesside. He married Elsie and his daughter Sylvia was born in 1932. However, his fifty cigarettes a day habit for most of his life would take their toll. He died of lung cancer in…

  • L Cpl Thomas M Coates

    Thomas was born around 1883 to George and Margaret Coates. George was a farm worker. By 1901 the family was living at Marsett in Raydaleside where Thomas and his two brothers, George and Albert were born. The children attended Stalling Busk School. On leaving school Thomas worked in the Council Offices in Hawes. Thomas enlisted on the 6th October 1915 joining the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Thomas would gain the rank of Lance Corporal. On the 26th September 1916 during the latter part of the Somme offensive Thomas won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. However, he was severely wounded. On an attack of a German trench a soldier threw a stick bomb which exploded at Thomas’s feet whereby he received serious wounds to his leg and face. Despite this he still managed to dispatch the German soldier with his bayonet and in doing so saved a colleague. Thomas spent 11 weeks at a hospital at Rouen where he underwent four operations. Two more operations followed in England before he was discharged from the Army on the 14th July 1917. Thomas eventually went back to his old job until he married Elizabeth Watson in 1921. They then went to live at The Heugh, a large isolated house above Nappa Scar near Settle in the Yorkshire Dales. They ran it as a guest house, and it was here that their two daughters, Margaret and Mary, were born. On the 21st January 1925, after only three day’s illness, Thomas died…

  • Ernest Pigg

    Ernest Pigg was the son of James and Maria Louise Pigg of 7 Langley Avenue, Thornaby on Tees. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and took over trenches in the area of La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers. Having been in France for only one month 11605 Private Ernest Pigg is reported to have died of wounds on 28th September. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery in the Pas-de-Calais. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects, which were left to his father James, constituted £2-2s and a gratuity of £3-10s.