VAD Area Commandant Beatrix Batten

Discover more about Beatrix Batten, a VAD Area Commandant

Joanna Friel

Family background

Born in April 1886, younger than her sister Dorothy by 4 years, Beatrix lived at Foxdeane in Lower Camden, a road which connected to Christchurch and Lubbock Road by a footpath up the hill. Her father was a solicitor; he was retired by 1901at the age of 51.

Education

Trixie, as she was known, was an early graduate of Girton College, Cambridge where she played hockey.

She came from a family who strongly believed in educational opportunities for women, she taught maths at Coed Bel School.

But her passion was people and community and she was a most significant figure in Chislehurst life.

Beatrix Batten and the Red Cross

Trixie volunteered with the Red Cross in 1913 and rose to become Area Commandant.

She endeavoured to have her nurses trained by visits to local hospitals and organised everything for the war effort entirely unpaid.

War medal

Trixie was awarded the Red Cross war medal for which over 1000 hours of unpaid work during the course of the war was the criterion.

Honours

She was awarded first an MBE, then an OBE and finally a CBE in 1938 for her devotion to the Red Cross which she continued to support throughout the Second World War.

After the war

She was a tall, formidable woman, described by Tim Green as having the ‘height end stride of a guardsman, though very feminine’. She was a member of the Conservative Association, the amateur orchestra at Glyndebourne and later the Bromley Symphony orchestra. She played the double bass and was well known for motoring around the village in her Morris Minor estate car with the instrument tied to the roof.

Memorial

A memorial bench on Chislehurst Common was erected to her memory after her death in 1968.

This page was added by Ian Grant on 07/07/2014.

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