Private Batten served in the South Essex regiment. He always moaned about everything, which annoyed Sharpe.
Sharpe's GoldEditPrivate Batten first appeared in Sharpe's Gold where he was described as a grumbler, a complainer, and a moaner. A one man destroyer of flintlocks who thought the world was made to annoy him. Even after being warned of provosts in a deserted village, he was caught by them with a stolen chicken. The Provost officer, Lieutenant Ayers, was determined to hang him on the spot, but he was stopped by Sharpe and Harper. Sharpe subsequently dealt with Private Batten with a violent blow to the chest, and for his intervention with the provosts, had to face the wrath of Wellington.
Batten took part in the Siege of Almeida, and survived the encounter of Colonel Joaquin El Catolico Jovellanos.
He returned in Sharpe's Sword and participated in the Battle of Salamanca, after which, when Sharpe was missing, but not yet know to have been gravely wounded, Batten complained about him, only for Rifleman Daniel Hagman to point out it had been Sharpe that had kept his neck from a noose two years previously, "He shouldn't have bothered." Continued complaints roused Sgt. McGovern of the South Essex who had decided to "smash his bloody face in." He was warned to shut up or get beaten.
He was not mentioned in Sharpe's Skirmish, Sharpe's Enemy, Sharpe's Honour, Sharpe's Regiment, Sharpe's Christmas, Sharpe's Siege, Sharpe's Revenge, nor Sharpe's Waterloo.