Author Topic: Novelist Peter Batten  (Read 4076 times)

liverpool annie

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Novelist Peter Batten
« on: August 18, 2009, 11:00:10 PM »

Peter was way before my time ..... but his name is so familiar to me ..... and I don't know why !!  :-\ I found him when I was looking for soldiers who served in Gallipoli !

Peter Woodruff Batten was born in Tranmere, Cheshire, on 26 June 1893 and educated at a private school in Yorkshire and Baldock College, Herts. Batten was the fourth child (and second son) of John Thomas Batten, who worked for the Inland Revenue as a supervisor of an excise department, and his wife Mara Mira Swannell Batten (née Woodruff).

During the Great War Batten served in Gallipoli with the 5th Bn. The Manchester Regiment and in France at the first Battle of the Somme with the Cinq Ports Bn. of the Royal Sussex Regiment. He was attached to the Tank Corps as a Section Commander at the Battle of Cambrai where his tank was destroyed and he had to lead his troops to safety on foot. In 1918 he was awarded the Military Cross.

After demobilisation in 1920, he turned to writing and wrote some 40 novels between 1923-31 for Aldine Publications (Richard Worth being another of his pen-names). Aside from these, he also contributed to John Bull, the Sunday Express, Star and Daily Express. After working on the staff of the Daily Express, Batten joined the Sunday Dispatch as News Editor in 1926; he was the Chief Sub-Editor of the Sunday Express, 1929, before becoming Editor of the Sunderland Echo, 1930-32.

At the same time, Batten had a third career: as well as being a journalist and novelist, he was also acting on stage and radio and made uncredited appearances in the movies The Arcadians (1927, which also featured Phyllis Calvert in an uncredited role) and The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1928), He was most proud of his appearance in Dawn (1928), the story of Nurse Edith Cavell, portrayed by Dame Sybil Thorndike.

Despite these multiple careers Batten went into bankruptcy in January 1932.

Batten had married Sarah Eva Pritchard in 1911 with whom he had three sons and a daughter. The couple divorced in 1925 and Batten married Gladys Maud Daniels in 1926 with whom he had a further eight children. In the 1920s and early 1930s, the family was living at 12 Claverton Street, Pimlico, London. Batten left the UK for Australia in around 1934/35 to work as a sub-editor on The Truth, the Sydney Sunday newspaper. Batten did not get on with the paper's editor, the notoriously abusive Ezra Norton, and returned to the UK after a year.

In 1936, the family moved to Colombo where Batten took a job as chief sub on The Times of Ceylon, leaving in 1940 to emigrate to Melbourne, Australia, to work as a sub-editor for The Age. During this time he joined the Volunteer Defence Corps and, in 1941, talked his way into the Royal Australian Air Force. As an Intelligence Officer, he was sent to Perth, Western Australia, where he served until late 1942 when it was decided to send him to the tropics. This meant taking a medical and, with blood pressure of 200+, Batten found himself a civilian once again.

In Perth, he joined the Mirror as chief sub and was also an accredited War Correspondent. Post-war, he was made editor of the Mirror's sister paper, the Sunday Times. In 1947 he moved back to Sydney to become chief sub on the ABC Weekly where he remained for some years, although he continued his association as a regular contributor. In later years he was also a feature writer for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Whilst in Ceylon, Batten and his wife had started a children's radio programme and this experience led to him becoming the news editor of Radio 2GB in Sydney in about 1950, a position he held until shortly before his death. His work varied, from announcing to acting in radio plays, reading the news to reading 15-minute extracts from novels, broadcast at 8.45 am for people to listen to just before work. He also performed on stage (usually in farces).

"In later life he was, sadly, a heavy drinker and a gambler," recalls Tony, "though he never missed a day's worked and performed in his various roles without a hitch. He was a great cook and Sunday lunches were expected to be attended by his children well after we were married.

"He was a wonderful raconteur and had the ability, on occasion, to predict the future. Recently, my brother Michael and I recalled his saying to us of a neighbour 'He'll be dead in six months' when no one even knew the man was ill."

Working two jobs constantly would eventually take its toll and Batten, who had only recently retired from 2GB, having reached the age of 65, died at Bellvue Hill, New South Wales, on 28 September 1958.

liverpool annie

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Re: Novelist Peter Batten
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 11:01:35 PM »

Heres his pictures .....