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Except for certain duties at Base and in hospitals the chaplain was always entitled to the service of a batman-driver. At the beginning of the war the chaplain's batman was an administrative problem. Where was he to come from? Was he subject to the normal rota of fatigues and duties? Did his appointment end as soon as the chaplain left the unit? Eventually it was recognised that the batman had a full-time job in looking after the chaplain, and often it was possible for the chaplain to keep the same batman-driver through several postings.

The batman-driver, as his name suggests, looked after the vehicle as a normal driver, and looked after the chaplain as a normal batman. But the chaplain was not a normal officer and his batman had many special duties, sometimes as a sacristan looking after Church property, sometimes as an altar server. He prepared places for services, handed out hymn books, and packed up afterwards. page 55 He supplied never-ending cups of tea to the many people who called on the chaplain, and often he had to be a Master of Ceremonies in evening activities.

The position of batman carried with it a certain opprobrium, smacking of servility, safety, and privilege. The New Zealand civilian soldier did not at first see why the officer should have a personal servant, and he felt that democracy was in peril if someone else cleaned the officer's boots. And yet the batman gave outstanding service through the war. In combatant units many batmen had to face all the normal dangers of battle and additional ones when they acted as messengers. Time and again the devoted work of a batman helped an officer to give the maximum of service and keep going. In action an officer had little time to think of himself, and it was the batman who supplied the regular meals, insisting that time be taken to eat them; it was the batman who dug the slit-trench and made sure that the officer had a few hours' sleep.

A chaplain usually liked to have a man of his own denomination as batman. It was important, too, that he should be sober, friendly, and interested in the chaplain's work; and once a good man had been found it was desirable, in spite of administrative difficulties, that he should stay with the same chaplain when he was transferred from one unit to another. The New Zealand chaplains received wonderful service from their batmen-drivers, some of whom were killed in action, and it is only fitting that this tribute should be paid.