Alice Maud BATT (1889–1969)

VAD, Albert Medal holder

Batt House, 16 Market Square, Witney

Alice Batt

Alice Maud Batt was born to Charles Dorrington Batt, Witney surgeon, and his wife Isabel (née Wake) at Batt House. She was the fifth of six children. The Batt family had served the Witney community as surgeons and doctors for five generations and lived at Batt House from c.1800. Alice was tutored at home before attending Wycombe Abbey School.

She joined the Oxford 22 VAD in 1911, and in November 1914 reported for duty at the Lady Evelyn Mason Hospital for Officers (Mayfair). In March 1916, she arrived at No 9 British Red Cross Hospital, also known as the Millicent Sutherland Ambulance, at Calais. Alice spent the war in different hospitals and casualty clearing stations. In 1918 she was awarded the Albert Medal (equivalent to today’s George Cross) for heroic action in saving life. Here is the Citation:

On the 1st October, 1918, a fire broke out at No. 36, Casualty Clearing Station at Rousbrugge, Belgium, and quickly reached the operating theatre, where the surgeon was performing an abdominal operation. The light went out, and the theatre was quickly filled with-smoke and flames, but the operation was continued by the light of an electric torch, Miss Batt continuing her work of handing instruments and threading needles with steadfast calmness, thereby enabling the surgeon to complete the operation. Miss Batt afterwards did splendid work in helping to carry men from the burning wards to places of safety.

Alice was one of only sixteen women to receive the Albert Medal in WWI. She received it from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 10 April 1919.

Earlier, on 7 September 1915, while on leave, she had saved Patty Hickman, aged 11, from drowning at Brigg, on the Cumbrian coast, for which she was awarded the Bronze Medal of the Royal Humane Society. She also got the Special Service Cross in 1917 from the British Red Cross.

Batt House

On the death of her father Charles Dorrington Batt in 1926, Alice and her siblings gave Batt House (above) and its land to the church and parish of St Mary the Virgin “for the use of the children of Witney and neighbourhood as school and playground”.

The Batt Memorial in St Mary's Church, Witney


They set up a monument in the church (right) to record the names of five generations of Batt surgeons in Witney and this final benefaction in affectionate memory of their father.

The Batt C of E Primary School on the land behind the house is a reminder of the family’s contribution to the town.

Alice never married and died in 1969 aged 79 at Burford, Oxfordshire. Albert medallists were later recognised by the retrospective award of the George Cross in 1971, but Alice had died by then.


Various online websites relating to VADs, the Albert Medal, the George Cross; and Victoria County History, Oxfordshire, Vol. XIV

The plaque was unveiled at Batt House on 1 October 2022 by Cllr Liz Duncan, Mayor of Witney, jointly with Peter Dorward, former mayor of Witney, who gave the main address. Michael Batt, great-nephew. said a few appreciative words on behalf of the family of whom seven members were able to attend the ceremony. Among others present were Cllr Susanna Pressel, Chair of Oxfordshire CC, Cllr Julian Cooper, Chair of West Oxon DC, Cllr David Turner, Chair of South Oxon DC, and members of Witney Town Council. The event concluded with hospitality at the Corn Exchange.

Photographs taken at the unveiling ceremony:


Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board

Volunteer nurse in WWI
Awarded the Albert Medal for
heroic action in saving life
Lived at this house, home to
generations of Batt surgeons
and benefactors / c.1800–1926

Witney Town Council

© Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board


Email: oxfordshireblueplaques@gmail.com