The Professor of English enlisted as a private in the 28th Battalion, Canadian Expedition Force (CEF) in September 1914 and served in France. He was recalled in 1916 to take command of the Saskatchewan Company of the Western Universities Battalion and promoted to major.
He voluntarily reverted to the rank of lieutenant to return to France in 1917, where he was wounded. He returned to France once more, as Captain of the 46th Battalion CEF, where he was killed in action on Sept. 3, 1918.
Bateman had spoken publicly of “the blessings of war.” For him, war was “the climax of human endeavor” and “the only entirely adequate test of a nation's spiritual quality.” He considered failure in war the result of a decay of “national morality” and success an “indication of national virtue.”