James Peter Battle came into this world on the twenty first of March 1929, born in a ‘brown caravan’ in Dragon Lane, Whiston; The first born son of Eleanor Rigby & Thomas Battle.
Peter was the first of six sons closely followed by Thomas, also born in the caravan! The brown caravan was now becoming rather small for a growing, young family and shortly after the birth of young Tommy they moved to their new home at 465 Rainhill Road, Rainhill, it was here that Peter spent his formative years and the place where mother Eleanor had four more sons & brothers to Peter…..William, Jack, Norman and Charles.
Peter lived in a big house close to the corner of Rainhill Road, He would often recall looking out of his bedroom window as a child and watching the ‘trolley buses’ travelling back and forth between Prescot and St Helens.
At the age of 10, Peter and family moved to 7 Cumber Lane, Whiston; it was here that he and his family witnessed the start of World War 2. Peter would recount stories about the watching of ‘dogfight’s’ and German bombers travelling over Whiston on bombing raids to Liverpool docks and beyond…He would talk about the ‘red tracer bullets’ tracking enemy aircrafts over the Stove works in Cumber Lane, collecting shrapnel and the shooting down of German bombers.
At the end of the war the family moved just over a mile away to a larger home at 105 Kemble Street, Prescot.
In 1947, Peter was enlisted for National Service. He spent two years stationed in Stratford upon Avon. This was a time he never forgot and would often recall his pals and service training with great fondness. He was rightly proud of his time in the army.
On leaving the army he returned home to Kemble Street and worked for some time at the BICC in Prescot were he drove ‘a bogie’ (Fork Lift Truck)
He then found work as a gardener and odd job man….he became known in Prescot as ‘Peter the Gardener’ and would often be seen around the town, mowing the lawns and tiding up the gardens of the residents of Prescot.
He loved nature and gardening gave him the chance to be his own boss and enjoy his own company.
In the early 70’s he moved to Greenall Court and continued his love of the outdoor life, he enjoyed travelling and would go for days out with his nephew Philip & Philip’s partner, Catherine. He travelled to Ireland several times to visit the land where his father was born, he travelled back to his army station in Stratford and down to his namesake….the quaint little town of Battle, near Hastings; he travelled all over the UK in search of adventure. Age was of no barrier to him and at 72 he became one of the oldest senior citizens to ride on the Big Max roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach!
He was proud of his family history, the history of Prescot and in particular of Prescot Parish Church and would always talk to people about this on his travels.
Peter had a love for life, he was a kind and GENTLE man who would give you everything he had….even if he had nothing. He had no care for material goods or wealth and the simple pleasures of sitting in front of his fire, with a cigarette and newspaper was enough for Peter.
He was happy within himself and enjoyed his own company. He was a private man who chose his friends very carefully.
Although having a hard life, he never spoke badly of anybody and had a great love of animals and wildlife……..
Peter Battle was a beautiful person, if any man on this earth can be considered to be pure of heart, kind and gentle then this was Peter.
If Life is like a butterfly……then butterflies are free to fly away, fly away my friend…..fly away.
In loving memory of our friend and Uncle: James Peter Battle– 1929-2011
Peter was buried today (21st April 2011) with a service at Prescot Parish Church