Private 16510 James Butcher

Butcher James 96 421x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916, age 28.
Buried in Grave VI. D. 6. at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France.

1st Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.

Husband of Adelina Butcher.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. John's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/547320/

Genealogical Data

Birth of James Butcher registered June quarter 1888 at Dudley.

1901 Census
12 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs
William Butcher (40, Stoker at Gas Works, born Tipton), his wife Louisa (36, born Tipton), and their 7 children: John (17, Stoker at Gas Works, born Tipton), William (15, Stoker at Gas Works, born Tipton), James (13, Scholar, born Tipton), Thomas (11, Scholar, born Tipton), Frederick (8, Scholar, born Tipton), Arthur (4, born Tipton), and Louisa (2, born Tipton).

Marriage of James Butcher and Adelina Rowley registered March quarter 1909 at Dudley.

1911 Census
10 Walton Street, Tipton, Staffs
James Butcher (23, General Labourer, born Tipton), his wife Adelina (23, born Tipton), and their daughter: Catherine Louisa (1, born Tipton).

Marriage of Adelina Butcher and David Bishop registered in September quarter 1918 at Dudley.

Personal Data

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/1/3d (2 pounds, 1 shilling and 3 pence); this was paid to his widow, Adelaide (sic), in October 1916. His War Gratuity was £6/10/0d (6 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow, by now Mrs Adelaide Bishop, in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in approximately January 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The 1st South Staffs, as part of 7th Division, attacked the village of Mametz. This was well to the south of the Somme battlefield where the attack achieved many of the objectives. The initial attack at 7.30am captured most of Mametz, but was forced to a halt by mid-morning by German resistance. By early afternoon, the attack was carried forward again with a German garrison of around 200 surrendering. By 7.30pm, all the Staffords objectives had been achieved.

The 1st South Staffs had 4 officers and 82 men killed on the 1st July 1916, with more dying of wounds of subsequent days. Of these 82 men, 5 were from Tipton: James Butcher, Luke Gwilliams, Dan Turner, George Wheatley and John Wilkinson. James Butcher and George Wheatley are buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, the other three have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Another man, John Akins, was wounded in action and died on 2nd July.

War Diary for 1st South Staffs
1st July 1916: MAMETZ
7.30 am:
Attack launched. The attack was pushed forward very successfully and with very few casualties until the whole Battalion was in MAMETZ, where a large number of Germans were encountered. At 9.08 am a message was received from O.C. 'D' company stating the Battalion was held-up on South side of MAMETZ and required reinforcements, the enemy being in strong numbers in the village. A Company of the 21st Manchester Regiment was sent to our support and at 11.20 am we received a message stating that we had advanced to the North East corner of the village and were consolidating. We also held BRIGHT ALLEY with a small force.
The position of Companies was:- 'C' Company on the Right, making a strong point, 'D' Company in DANZIG ALLEY making a strong point with two Stokes Guns. 'B' Company on the Left Front.
2.00 pm:
Battalion had gained and was consolidating the whole of its objective with the exception of BUNNY ALLEY.
3.10 pm:
Battalion had to withdraw in line with the church as FRITZ TRENCH had not been captured.
5.30 pm:
Battalion Headquarters moved up into MAMETZ and on reaching the village found that the Battalion's final objective had not been captured. Major Morris, with great skill, at once reorganised all the troops in the village and allotted each a task. The final objectives were taken and held at about 7.40 pm.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 12th August 1916
The following Tipton men are reported killed:
J. Butcher (Tipton) South Staffs
J.T. Wilkinson (Tipton) South Staffs