Sunday, October 05, 2008

Diana M. Garbutt

One of the curiosities we discovered when compiling the information that went into The War Libraries was that one of the contributors to War, Battle, Air Ace and War at Sea was a Miss D. M. Garbutt. Further research has revealed that she also wrote 'Battler Britton' and 'Dick Daring' stories for Thriller Picture Library and, in the early 1980s, contributed a handful of stories to D. C. Thomson's Commando.

Sadly, I know little about her. Diana Muriel Garbutt was born in 1932 and the earliest story by her so far traced is "Battler Britton & the Convoy of Peril", published in Thriller Picture Library in 1958, when she was in her mid-twenties. She was not the only woman to write for Thriller, as Joan Whitford was already a regular. She was, however, the only female, as far as I know, to then become an irregular contributor to the war libraries.

As Diana M. Garbutt she wrote a single novel, Black Warrior (London, Abelard-Schuman, 1969), about a young boy and a buffalo calf, set in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Miss Garbutt lived in Scarborough, Yorkshire, where she died in 1993, at the early age of 60.

(* The cover shown at the top illustrated one of Miss Garbutt's stories, 'Those in Peril', War Picture Library 73 (1960). The illustration, taken from the original artwork, is by Allessandro Biffignandi and is © IPC Media.)


  1. I always enjoyed Battler Britton - was Diana Garbutt his creator?

    I wonder as I'm pretty sure that Battler Britton began life in either Adventure, Wizard, Hotspur or Rover - same as Rockfist Rogan.

  2. Hi Ray,

    Battler's adventures began in January 1956 in Sun and appeared concurrently with longer adventures in Thriller Picture Library from February 1957. The character was created by Mike Butterworth from a suggestion by Leonard Matthews, who came up with the name. Rockfist was the boxing air-ace of Champion created by Frank S. Pepper under the pen-name Hal Wilton.

  3. Steve

    Though I never met her, I understand M. Feldwick (Micron, Fleetway and Thomson) was also female. She always submitted her scripts to me in prettily coloured manila folders -- pastel pink, yellow, green!

    I probably still have one or two downstairs in the boxes in the basement, since rather than throw them out I purloined them for other uses once the scripts had been forwarded to the artists' agents.

    I believe M. Feldwick lived in Eastbourne.




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