Jean Gardner Batten Batten was the daughter of a dental surgeon named Frederick Batten and a mother named Ellen Batten who became a strong supporter of her career as a pilot. In 1924 she was enrolled into a girls’ boarding college in Remuera in Auckland where she studied ballet and piano. Though she was a gifted pianist, at the age of 18 she wanted to become a pilot, inspired by the Australian Charles Kingsford Smith, who took her for a flight in his Southern Cross. In 1929 she moved to England with her mother to join the London Aeroplane Club.

She took her first solo flight in 1930 and gained private and commercial licences by 1932, borrowing £500 from Fred Truman, a New Zealand pilot serving in the Royal Air Force who wanted to marry her, to fund the 100 hours flying time required. After completing her “B” license in December 1932, she left Truman and turned to Victor Dorée, who borrowed £400 from his mother to buy Batten a Gipsy Moth biplane. According to NZ History Online, “Raising money by taking advantage of her relationships with men was a theme that continued throughout her flying career.”[1]