Sunday, April 14, 2013

Robert Bateman

Robert Bateman today is a name occasionally found on a second-hand book about stamps or making movies. Although he wrote almost thirty novels for boys in the fifteen years from 1958, he did not write school stories, which are often key to an author's collectability. His metier was sports stories, although he also wrote a series of six book featuring a schoolboy detective named Archie McGillicuddy.

Robert Bateman was born in Manchester on 21 June 1922, the son of Commander Gerald Ashworth Bateman, R.N., and his wife Agnes Helen (nee Moyes). After living Kent, the family moved to Australia in July 1928. In April 1930, Agnes died at Charlesmount Private Hospital in New South Wales aged only 32. Commander Bateman and his 7-year-old son returned to Manchester in July 1930.

Commander Bateman married Merville Rat Carruthers in May 1932, and Robert had four step-siblings.

He was educated at Kelly College, Tavistock, Devon, and Melville College, Edinburgh. At the age of 18 he joined the Merchant Navy rising to the position of chief radio officer before becoming a security officer with the War Office Administration, serving in Spain and North Africa in 1942-45.

After the war, Bateman joined the BBC and worked as a recorded programmes assistant (1945-49), news sub-editor (1949-51) and sports editor (1951-55) before joining ITV News as chief sub-editor in 1955, quickly rising to working as a sports editor and news film commentator in 1956, a position from which he retired in 1973.

In the early years after the war he was also the consultant editor of Voice of the World (1945-47) and editor and publisher of Poetry Today (1945-47). He had a number of short stories broadcast on the BBC's Light Programme.

His interest in sport led to the publication of dozens of books on the subject; he was also an avid stamp collector and member of various philatelic societies in Crawley and Heywards Heath. Bateman was a regular columnist for Amateur Movie Maker and Amateur Cine World and his 'Storyboard' feature for the latter was reprinted as Ideas for Amateur Movies (1964). Outside of writing, his interest in politics led him to stand as a prospective parliamentary candidate for East Grinstead.

His stories and features appeared in numerous magazines, including Sporting Record, Radio Times, Reveille and numerous publications for children, including Eagle, Elizabethan, Boys' World and others. Some stories appeared under the pen-names Bob Moyes and Bob Carruthers.

Bateman was married to Anne Bohan in 1944, with whom he had three children (Geoffrey, Jacqueline, Felicity); he then lived with Margot Winifred Wardle, who changed her name by deed in 1957, although they were not married, with whom he had a daughter (Lucy). They lived at Parkholme, Bonnetts Lane, Ifield, Sussex, where he died on 12 April 1973, aged 50.


Young Footballer. London, Constable & Co., 1958.
Young Runner. London, Constable & Co., 1958.
Young Climber. London, Constable & Co., 1959.
Young Cricketer. London, Constable & Co., 1959.
Young Jockey, with Norman Thornett. London, Constable, 1960.
The Hands of Orlac. London, Four Square Books (289), 1961.
Archie, Young Detective. London, Constable, 1961.
Young Sea-Angler, with George Goldsmith Carter. London, Constable, 1961.
Young Skater. London, Constable & Co., 1961.
Jim's First Convoy, illus. James Holland. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1962.
Young Boxer. London, Constablee & Co., 1962.
Young Cyclist. London, Constable & Co., 1962.
Archie Abroad. London, Constable, 1963.
Mystery for Archie. London, Constable, 1963.
Race Against the U-Boats, illus. Geoffrey Whittam. London, Jonathan Cape (Jets 6), 1963.
TV Reporter, illus. James Russell. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1963.
When the Whites Went. London, Dennis Dobson, 1963; New York, Walker & Co., 1964.
A Map for Giants, as told to Robert Bateman by Robin Baker. London, Constable, 1964.
Archie and the Missing Stamps. London, Constable, 1965.
Wet Way to Calais, illus. Peter Kesteven. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1965; as Rough Passage, New York, Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1966.
Archie's Italian Adventure. London, Constable, 1966.
Houseboat Johnnie, illus. Peter Forster. London, Constable, 1966.
Skid Pan, illus. Douglas Bisset. London, Cape (Jets 10), 1966.
Canoe Boy, illus. Colin Wheeler. London, Constable, 1967.
Quest for Nuggets. London, Whiting & Wheaton, 1967.
Strange Case for Archie. London, Constable, 1967.
Archie on the Trail. London, Constable, 1968.
The Printing Works Mystery, illus. Leslie Marshall. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1969.
Old Screamer, illus. James Hunt. London, Hutchinson, 1970.
Mystery in Foundry Lane, illus. Trevor Ridley. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1973.

Novels as Robin Moyes
The Greatest Goal, illus. Peter Forster. London, Constable, 1964.

A Book of Boys' Stories, with Nicholas Marrat, illus. Pat Nevin. London, Golden Pleasure Books, 1964.

Instructions to Young Athletes. London, Museum Press, 1957.
Sportsman's Who's Who, with Raymond Glendenning. London, Museum Press, 1957.
Instructions to Young Stamp Collectors. London, Museum Press, 1958.
The Bumper Book of Sport. London, Spring Books, 1960.
Every Boy's Handbook. London, Spring Books, 1960; revised, 1963; revised again, 1966.
Movie-Making as a Pastime. London, Souvenir Press, 1960.
Stamp Collecting as a Pastime. London, Souvenir Press, 1960.
Stamp Collectors' Who's Who. London, Stanley Gibbons, 1960.
The Horizon Book of Stamps. London, Spring Books, 1961.
Sports World Album. London, Spring Books, 1961.
Tackle Stamp Collecting This Way. London, Stanley Paul, 1961; revised as Tackle Stamp Collecting, 1975.
Ideas for Amateur Movies. London, Fountain Press, 1964.
A New Look at Stamps. London, Stanley Paul, 1964; second imp., 1966.
"Cameraman!". London, Hamlyn, 1967.
Instructions in Filming. London, Museum Press, 1967.
The Book of the Olympic Games. London, Stanley Paul, 1968.
Hints and Tips for the Movie Maker. London, Fountain Press, 1968.
The Postal History of Bussahir. Ifield, The Press at Ifield, 1968.
The Encyclopedia of Sports Stamps. London, Paul, 1969.
Home Movies. London, Corgi, 1970.
The How and Why Wonder Book of Stamps, illus. Charles Pickard. London, Transworld, 1970.
Leisure in the Seventies: A Guide to Hobbies and Handicrafts. London, Paul, 1971.
Specialised Stamp Collecting. London, Barker, 1971.
Victorian Furniture Transformed; or, The Art of Improving the Commonplace. London, Paul, 1971.
100 Great Sportsmen. London, Carousel Books, 1972.
All Thumbs: Home Maintenance for the Unhandy. London, Paul, 1972.
Thematic Stamp Collecting. London, Barker, 1972.
Garden Constructions. London, Paul, 1973.
The How and Why Wonder Book of Photography, illus. Peter Archer. London, Transworld, 1974.

Others (editor)
The Stuck-in-Bed Book. London, Whiting & Wheaton, 1966. (* The Children's Newspaper © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd.)

(* This is an expanded version of a column originally published on 11 August 2008.)


  1. As far as I know; I am one of his children, he was only married once, in the 1940's. He just lived with the other woman; she changed her name by deed poll. His 1940's wife got the widows pension from ITN.

    1. So am I. Unfortunately Jacqueline died in January 2016. We were very close and still grieve for her. Is that you Geoffrey who wrote this? My father and I became estranged before his death which is still a sadness I carry. I was too young to really ever get to know him

  2. Thanks for the information. I've made a small adjustment to the piece to take your comment into account.

  3. Just a quick note to thank you for the effort made in this post. I was looking for some information about Robert Bateman, having read some of his books as a child. This hit the spot.

  4. Born in 1953 i loved his young sportsman series which i used to borrow regularly from Tottington public library. Is he the same 'bob bateman' accredited with reading the football scores on itv?

  5. If anonymous ever reads this I would love her to contact me. I am Bob's youngest half sister. I really got on so well with him once I was adult, he was married one month after my birth so never lived with him as a child. By the way couple of corrections. My mother was called Merville Ray As Bob got older he got in increasingly well with her. Our father, commander Bateman was always known as Pip. Merville and Pip had 3 surviving daughters, we are all alive. Another daughter died as an infant

  6. I'd love to be properly in touch. I learned via you of Jackies death. I am so sad I didn't make more effort to find her and lived quite close without knowing. I wanted you to be a bridesmaid. But that wasn't possible. I am divorced. Two sons, three grandsons and one grand daughter.

    1. Wow. A grandma. Unfortunately I didn't have children. None of his children did. My email address if you want contact is

  7. If you use Facebook search for me. I have regularly looked for you three over time but without success.

  8. I just picked up a copy of Hints & Tips for the Movie Maker, written by your father, Geoffrey. I you would like it it is yours. I'm a technophobe I don't even know how this works. So you will have to concentrate and contact me Geoff.



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