Friday, August 6, 2010

Jean Batten's dad's surgery sign

You'll find this at the Birkenhead Historical Society's museum here in Auckland.  My friend and former President of the Society Ray Johanson casually pointed up at this shop sign placed above one of the cottage's exit signs one Sunday, and told me that this was from the Birkenhead dental surgery operated by Jean Batten's father, Frederick Harold Batten. He didn't have that great an impact on her life, so they say. He didn't approve of Jean's flying career, separated from his wife Ellen in 1920 (Jean lived with her mother from that point) and straight from serving in World War I Fred Batten set up practice in Birkenhead.  During the war, according to the Auckland War Memorial Museum's Cenotaph database, Batten served as a Captain with the 28th Reinforcements E Company, embarking 14 July 1917. His wife Ellen was living in Devonport at the time. He appears to have died in 1967, aged 88, going by a quick look at the online BDMs.

There are photos of him online, via the Auckland City Library's website (Heritage Images), but mainly his only claim to any immortality in the infornation banks of history is that he fathered a very famous daughter.


  1. :) great post.... and shows... people can be anything they want to be no matter what their home background was. Certainly so much harder for Jean...a woman tinkering in a mans world anddd from a broken home.

    Love the fact his sign was saved though. Nice little piece of history.


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  3. I see his probate
    is available...that might make for some interesting reading.

  4. Okay, that's something else for me to take a look at when I get into Archives ... Cheers, Sandy.

  5. I am fredricks great nephew.
    Uncle fred had a brother Edgar who was also a dentist and my grandfather. If you are interested I have his surgery sign in my posession,and also a LITTLE of their family history (which I am still trying to compile).If you want to make contact,my cellphone number is 0221201521
    Kerry batten

    1. Good morning from Thames Kerry. I have come across this site when trying to verify which Batten had the dentist's business in Thames. I am a committee member of The Coromandel Heritage Trust ( We would be interested in having some family information for our shelves - we have nothing on the Battens - and a Pioneer Family form can be downloaded from our website to add to that Register. Please contact me at Geraldine

  6. Hi Kerry,

    Thanks for that. I'm trying to keep the cost of calling mobile phone numbers to a minimum, thanks. Could you perhaps email me,