Sapper 217560 Ernest William Butler

Butler Ernest 1 96 407x600Butler Ernest 2 96 427x600

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 27th March 1918, age 33.
Commemorated on Henencourt Wood Cemetery Memorial in Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.

Royal Engineers, 35th Div. Signal Company.

Husband of Mrs Annie Butler, of 106, Caludon Road, Coventry, Warks.
Born: Great Bridge, Enlisted: Coventry, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Commemorated on the St. Paul's, Golds Hill Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/43356/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
50 New Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Charles Butler (41, Bricklayer, born Tipton), his wife Jenny (40, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Ernest (16, Bricklayer, born Tipton), Charles (14, Nut & Bolt Screwer, born Tipton), Joseph (11, born Tipton), Lizzie (8, born Tipton), Jenny (7, born Tipton), and Baby (1 month).

1911 Census
106 Caludon Road, Coventry, Warks.
Ernest Butler (26, Bricklayer, born Tipton), his wife Annie (27, born Northwick, Cheshire), and their 1 surviving child of 2: Ada (4, born Coventry).

Personal Data

Ernest attested in Coventry on the 16th December 1915. This was possibly under the Derby Scheme as he was not called up to his unit, the 508th (Wessex) Reserve Field Company, until December 1916. He was 31 years of age, married, a Bricklayer by trade, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 149 pounds with a 38-inch chest, and had good physical development.

He embarked from England on 24th April 1917, joining the 35th Division Signals Company on 4th May 1917. No more is known of his service except that he was granted leave to the UK from 29th December 1917 to 12th January 1918. During Ernest's time withthe 35th Division, they were involved in the 3rd Ypres campaign, specifically at the fighting at Houthulst Forest, and at the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele.

His wife, Anne had been receiving a Seperation Allowance of 19 shillings per week, plus 7 shillings for their daughter. From October 1918 this became a pension of 20 shillings and 5 pence for them both.

After Ernest's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £9/18/9d (9 pounds, 18 shillings and 9 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Annie F., in two parts in August 1918 and August 1919. His War Gratuity was £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly), this was also paid to Annie in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Ernest had enlisted in December 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The German Offensive commenced on 21st March 1918 and most of the old Somme battlefield was lost within a week. The 35th Division was involved in the Battle of Bapaume on the 24th and 25th March 1918, and on the 27th March were in the vicinity of Albert which was lost on that day.

Ernest was killed on the 27th March 1918, and buried at that time in Henencourt Wood Military Cemetery, 4 miles west of Albert. This grave was destroyed during later battles and he now has a commemorative gravestone in Ribemont Communal Cemetery, adjacent to the Henencourt Wood Memorial to the 8 graves which were lost there. His grave bears the inscription "In loving remembrance of my dear husband and daddy"

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