Partner John Clough, buried together
179 Landells Rd, East Dulwich, London SE22, UK
Nunhead Cemetery, Linden Grove, London SE15 3LP, UK
Rex was born in rural Dorset in 1928. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, as a contemporary of Joe Orton and Alan Bates. He spent a few years in touring companies and doing bit parts in films before deciding that acting was not for him. After some freelance writing for radio, he spent most of his working life as a teacher.
Batten gathered his memories of the 1940s and 1950s in a fictionalised memoir, Rid England of this Plague (2006). There he describes his rural working-class upbringing and his first love affair with a middle class man called Ashley; his move to London to take up a scholarship at RADA; and his life in a bedsit in Camden, where he and his boyfriend John experienced a frightening brush with the law. He lived in East Dulwich with John until this latter death in 1994. The novel was 90 per cent autobiographical.
Batten his buried at Nunhead cemetery, up West Hill near the willow tree planted in 1995 in memory of Rex's long-time partner John Clough. Rex’s name had been added to Clough's memorial plaque.