Medals from the Collection of Peter Duckers

Image 1

  • Image 2

Click Image to Zoom

Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £1,000

Estimate: £800 - £1,200

A fascinating M.V.O., O.B.E., group of six awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel A. D. G. S. Batty, Indian Army, who served as Aide-de-Camp to Governor-General Sir Harcourt Butler at Lucknow and Rangoon, and subsequently became a prominent Hollywood and Theatre actor, his most notable role being in Alexander Korda’s ‘The Four Feathers’

The Royal Victorian Order, M.V.O., Member’s 4th Class breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, reverse officially numbered ‘1089’; The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Civil) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt (hallmarks for London 1919); British War and Victory Medals (Lt. A. D. G. S. Batty.); Defence and War Medals 1939-45, staining to obverse of VM, otherwise nearly extremely fine (6) £800-£1,200


M.V.O. 4th Class London Gazette 23 June 1922.

O.B.E. London Gazette 3 July 1926.

Archibald Douglas George Staunton Batty was born in 1887, the son of the Rev. George Staunton Batty, vicar of North Mimms, and was educated at Trent College and Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1911, while in the employ of a Calcutta merchant house, he joined the local Volunteer unit, the Calcutta Port Defence Volunteers. After the outbreak of the Great War he was commissioned into the Indian Army Reserve of Officers and attached 30th (Jacobabad) Mountain Battery seeing service with the Waziristan Field Force during the Mahsud Campaign of 1917 and further service on the North-West Frontier in 1918. He was advanced Lieutenant, November 1918 and Captain, 1st (Calcutta Port Defence) Group Garrison Artillery in February 1919 before being seconded as Aide-de-Camp to Sir Harcourt Butler, Governor of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh 1919-22.

Appointed Captain, attached 26th Cavalry, October 1919 while remaining as Aide-de-Camp to Sir Harcourt Butler, Batty was Officer on Special Duty in charge of arrangements for the Prince of Wales visit to the United Provinces in 1921-22, for which services he was appointed M.V.O. at the conclusion of the Prince’s tour. Suited to ceremonial duties he served on the Staff of the Viceroy when he visited Burma in 1923 and was Military Secretary to the Duke of Connaught on his grand Indian tour in 1924-25. He again served as A.D.C. under Sir Harcourt Butler during his time as Governor of Burma, 1925-26 and for this service was appointed O.B.E.

Attached 8th Light Cavalry in 1923, Batty is then listed as Captain, Artillery during the period 1924-27, and Captain, R.A., Army in India Reserve of Officers 1927-30. He served again during the Second World War in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as Assistant Military Secretary to the Secretary of State for War, The Right Honourable Sir James Grigg.

Batty first appeared, while on leave, on the West End Stage in ‘The Snare’ as early as July 1924 and had a major part in ‘The Transit of Venus’ in 1927. Thereafter Batty became well known to London theatre, regularly appearing in the Savoy, the Wyndham, the Shaftesbury and especially the Aldwych, where he stayed for over four years. From 1930 onwards, Batty began to appear in British films, the first being ‘Two White Arms’ and he became a familiar on-screen face in British cinema in the 1930s.
In 1932, Batty made the move to the USA and appeared in theatre in New York before moving to Hollywood where he became a successful actor, screen-writer and adapter for MGM. He had a successful film career, with some fairly central roles, appearing, amongst others, in ‘I See Ice’, ‘Discord’ (1933), ‘Over She Goes’ (1937), Alexander Korda’s ‘The Drum’ in 1938, ‘The Lion has Wings’ in 1939 and in ‘The Winslow Boy’ in 1948. On stage and screen he often played the archetypical British officer type, sometimes seedy and usually in comedy.

Undoubtedly his best-known role was as the Adjutant of the hero's regiment in the famous Korda film ‘The Four Feathers’ in 1939; this adventure was set in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian campaign and was magnificently filmed with many elaborate scenes on the Nile which were re-used in later films.

As well as acting in a multiplicity of film and stage roles in the 1930s, Batty was also a prominent interpreter of George Bernard Shaw and often acted under Shaw's own direction, apparently to good effect, most notably as Pliny in ‘The Apple Cart’ in 1953. He also turned his hand to script writing, his most famous and well-received play being ‘The Tontine’ in 1956. He died in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, in November 1961.

Sold with detailed research on his army and acting career and with an original publicity leaflets for ‘The Drum’ and ‘The Four Feathers’ in which Batty is featured.