B.BATESON Assistant Steward NAP (MN) who served on HMS Voltaire

see Ahoy's Voltaire Pages

Hello there.

My name is Duncan Andrews and I am a volunteer with the British War Memorial Project. I live in Blaye, S.W.France and am currently photographing war graves in the Charente, Charante-Maritime and Gironde areas.

Yesterday I came across the grave of B.BATESON Assistant Steward  NAP (MN) who served on HMS Voltaire and is recorded as died 26 April 1941 aged 26. Curious about this I put in a search for the ship and via your site eventually came to a Roll of Honour for the ship which shows him as a POW.

The grave is in the communal cemetary at Villenave d'Ornon (St Brise) in Bordeaux. and I wondered if you or any of your correspondants could shed any light on this.

Best Regards

Hello Duncan,

Thank you for your mail.

The fight between Thor and Voltaire took place on the 4th. of April 1941, over the 12th. and 13th. of April all the crew captured from Voltaire were transferred to the German Tanker ILL, she took them to Bordeaux where they landed, waiting to be shipped to a Milag for Navy and Merchant Navy personnel near Hamburg in Germany.

I can only assume that B. BATESON Assistant Steward became sick ( he may have been wounded in the fight at sea ) and died whilst at Bordeaux, hence he was buried there in the Villenave d'Ornon ( St Brise ) cemetery, where you came across his grave.

One more piece of the jig saw that gives a picture of what happened to members of Voltaire's crew.

Should you have a photograph of Steward Bateson's grave site, I would love to please have a copy to add to our VOLTAIRE PAGES on AHOY. I am most grateful for all your trouble and interest in contacting me.

Best regards,

Here is the record of Benjamin Bateson from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


I have circled the grave of Assistant Stewards B.Bateson on the attached.

grave of B.BATESON Assistant Steward NAP (MN) who served on HMS Voltaire

The other grave in this plot is of A.H.Freeman, a sailor from the Afric Star, died 14 March 1941 aged 23. The ship was sunk by the KORMORAN on 29/1/41 who picked up her crew and transfered them to the Nordmark. On the way to Bordeaux a fire broke out and the German crew, thinking it was a mutiny shot a pasenger and an AB from the Afric Star. I assume it was him as the ship arrived in Bordeaux on 14 March 1941.

Hope that's of interest


grave of B.BATESON Assistant Steward NAP (MN) who served on HMS Voltaire


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