When looking at the service record for Alan Batchler it is not possible but to be impressed by his determination to serve his country enlisting three times and doing home service in between.
Alan Batchler was the youngest of three children born to John Alexander and Esther May Batchler, born at Hobart on 10th August 1899 at Quarry Street. At the age of thirteen he gained an apprenticeship with Charles Davis as a tinsmith, in an era when the business made its own tin ware. He had also been caught up in the compulsory cadet scheme and in 1916 stated that he had served four uears with the cadets and was still serving,
With his parents’ permission, Alan Batchler presented himself for enlistment on 23rd June 1916. His hopes would soon be dashed – the best that was being offered him was home service. No reason appears on his service record, but a later document states ‘chest trouble’. In February 1917 he was discharged due to a reduction in the number of men required for home service.
On 16 October 1917 he tried again. Trying to hide the fact that he had enlisted before he changed some of the details that he gave – he was now a tram conductor and had not served an apprenticeship. He did state that he had served 8 months in the Home Service Band at Claremont Camp. Private Batchler was kept at Claremont Camp until June 1918 when he was discharged once more, this time in order to enlist in the AIF, doing so on 26th June 1918.
Given the rank of acting corporal, Alan Batchler shipped out on the troopship Zealandic on 5th October 1918. In early December he disembarked in England and on entering camp was reduced to the rank of private. On 5th December 1918, despite hostilities having ceased, he was allotted to the reinforcements for the 12th Battalion. After a period of training at Sutton Veny, he left for France on 1st March 1919, remaining there until 20th May 1919 when he was marched out to England for return to Australia.
On 23rd July 1919 he boarded the Suevic for the return journey, having to some extent fulfilled what he set out to do in 1916, which was to join the AIF and to serve his country.
In 1921 Alan Batchler married Janet Wilkinson at the Chalmer’s Church Manse. Unfortunately the marriage did not last and he later re-married. Alan worked for the Hobart Municipal Tramways for many years prior to his death. Alan Batchler died on 9th April 1960, aged 60 at the Royal Hobart Hospital after a long illness.