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Remembered Today:

Pte. William Butterworth 8175 Yorks & Lancs


MelPack
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Norman has already confirmed in another thread that Pte. William Butterworth has been successfully identified making him the eleventh successful identification out of the fifteen sets of remains recovered at Beaucamps Ligny.

The identification of William Butterworth is particularly noteworthy because he was one of four sons lost to the family during the course of the war and the only one hitherto with no known grave.

William was born in 1878 as one of eleven children that survived infancy. The family originated from Lancaster and most were employed in the trade of mat weaving.

William enlisted into the Yorks and Lancs on 13 December 1904 initially for a period of three years with the Colours but subsequently extended this and served in India between 1905-11. He was discharged to the Reserve on 12 November 1912 and mobilised at the outbreak of war.

He married Margaret Clegg little more than six months before the war and the couple had a baby daughter, Beatrice, in early 1915 whom William obviously never saw.

The contemporary stories published by the local press on the losses of the family can be found here:

http://lancasterwarmemorials.org.uk/other/obituaries/lancasterwwone.htm

Butterworth William Private York and Lancaster Regiment missing since October 1914, presumed killed in action, address 4 Hinde Street, educated at National school, eldest son of Mr James Butterworth who has six sons and a brother in law serving or killed. Source Lancaster Observer date 13 August 1915 page 5, no photo Code 381 .Butterworth William Private 8175 2 BattalionYork & Lancaster Regiment, died 18 October 1914 Son of James & Agnes Butterworth of Green Street, Bulk, Lancaster, husband of Margaret Alice Butterworth of 15 Albion Street Lancaster, cemetery Ploegsteert Memorial Source CWGC. William Butterworth of the York & Lancaster Regiment is reported missing. He attended the Boys National school ('Nashy') His wife resides in Albion Street, Bulk. Parents, Mr & Mrs Butterworth of Green Street, Bulk. His brothers are George in the Scots Guards, James and Hugh in the 5th King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Christopher in the 3rd King's Own . Scource Lancaster Guardian, date 5 December 1914, page 3 No Photo Code 381 .

Butterworth Christopher Lance Sergeant 2nd Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment killed in action 8 May, 1915 at Frezenberg, age 23, His wife resides at 49 Earl Street, with her mother Mrs Wilkinson, he was educated at National school, employed at Albion Mill and fifth son of Mr James Butterworth who has six sons and a brother in law serving or killed Source Lancaster Observer date 1915 page 5, photo Code 380 .

Butterworth Hugh Private 5th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment killed in action 8 August, 1915, age 20, address 4 Hinde Street, Bulk, educated at National school, employed at Lune works, youngest son of Mr James Butterworth who has six sons and a brother in law serving or killed . Source Lancaster Observer date 13 August 1915 page 5, see also ibid., 20 August, 1915, page 5, photo Code 379

Butterworth James Mr Father of six soldiers Mr James Butterworth, died from debility, caused by having three sons killed and two severely wounded in the war, in the opinion of Dr Aitken. (379, 380, 381). Source Lancaster Guardian date 12 August, 1916 page 8, no photo Code N/A .

The fourth son who died was John on 27 June 1917. John enlisted in the Royal Lancs in June 1915 less than a month after his second brother had been killed with same Regiment. He never actually served overseas due to a serious illness of which he suddenly died at Aldershot just two days before he was to be discharged from military service.

There is an interesting little feature on the family by the BBC here (albeit a tad inaccurate about the fate of John):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01q7t4c

Lancaster, Lancashire: Five Brothers Sent to Battle

Duration: 04:43

At a time when many families suffered losses, the Butterworth’s in Lancaster lost more than most. Four of the brothers were killed. Their father passed away in 1916. The loss of three sons was too much. He reportedly died of a broken heart.

William was the first to fall. He died in October 1914. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres in Belgium.

Christopher and Hugh were killed in 1915. James died of his wounds after being sent home in 1917 and is buried in Lancaster.

In recognition of her enormous personal loss, their mother, Annie Butterworth, was one of the women invited to unveil Lancaster’s war memorial in 1924. The Butterworth brothers’ names are bracketed together on the monument which stands next to the Town Hall.

The streets where the family lived, in the Bulk area of Lancaster, are much the same now as they were one hundred years ago. Ian Birnie, who’s a descendent of the Butterworths says: “It's hard to imagine the anguish their mother and father felt, every time they saw the telegram boy walking up the road.”

Location: Lancaster, Lancashire LA1 1DZ
Image: Butterworth Brothers' names on war memorial

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That is superb Mel as usual from you. It is only when you read such that you begin to really appreciate what an excellent job all those concerned with the BL-15 have done. The result of currently 11 of the 15 being identified by name is remarkable and for me this proves without any question of doubt that DNA profiling is a powerful tool when the circumstances permit. I am more convinced than ever that DNA samples should be routinely taken from the fallen if the remains are suitable for such. There have been such advances in this technology that if this was done then there would be a chance of identification in the future should more evidence come to light, I am personally aware of one such specific case.

Norman

Added: Although not completely relevant to this case the rapid advance of DNA profiling is evident:

News

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2708277/DNA-testing-crime-scene-investigations-soon-identify-criminals-matter-HOURS.html

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Two of the surviving brothers fared little better.

The second eldest (after William), George Ephraim b.1879, enlisted in the Scots Guards on 6 September 1904 and served throughout the war until discharged on medical grounds on 27 September 1918 with neurasthenia after being wounded several times.

James b. 1889, enlisted with the Royal Lancs on 29 October 1914 and was sent to Gallipoli where he suffered a gun shot wound to the leg at Suvla bay on 10 August 1915. On his way to the dressing station he was forced to take shelter in a 'mule hole' due to shelling and was buried alive for more than an hour.

He was discharged as medically unfit on 11 September 1916 due to the GSW wound, severe back problems and deafness in both ears:

post-859-0-23424600-1409165867_thumb.jpg

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Thanks again Mel, it is only when you get “Behind the names” that the poignant facts become apparent. The October reburials will be such an emotional occasion for all the relatives of the fallen and even more so in this case where the family suffered terribly and never knew just what had happened to William. In my opinion it would not only be sad but a serious oversight to have the full details of the discovery and subsequent identification of the soldiers unrecorded and then lost except to interested parties such as members of this forum who are able to plough through the multitude of posts on the subject.

It must be possible for someone with more skill than I to produce such a story and perhaps make it permanently available on the internet. The CWGC site will not be suitable for reasons best known to them as they do not archive such information so for instance all details of reburials disappear eventually from their site and the MOD as far as I am aware do not make such details available at all. This “British Fromelles” deserves recording and made available to the public and not forgotten again.

Norman

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Great news. I'm thinking that's game, set and match (pardon the pun) for DNA testing seadog?

Rgds

Tim D

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Tim I am sure that all those involved with the project in whatever capacity will hope that DNA becomes a standard tool to help identify the fallen when the circumstances permit. The only problem as I see it is that the MOD are unflinching in their refusal to place news of the finds into the public domain and we could have the same situation happening again only this time with the fallen being buried as “Unknowns” when perhaps they could have been identified. This lack of transparency leads to suspicions perhaps incorrectly that our fallen may be being buried without all the available tools being used in an effort at identification. In the case of the CWGC there are steps that they can take and in my opinion should take in respect of the burial of the soldiers, in that they archive the burial announcements which lately and to their credit seem to contain much more information, if this is done the fallen will not be forgotten for yet a second time.

Norman

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Understood....though these IDs are leaps and bounds on from the former situation! Let's hope this forecasts an intent to use DNA testing wherever viable!

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There are 3 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild (the latest William!) of William's attending his funeral.

The confirmation by the MoD of our great grandfather's remains has been a deeply moving experience to date.

Our family have always been very aware of the debt we owe the 4 brothers and every other soldier ,for the freedom we enjoy today

The opportunity to attend one of the brother's funeral , almost 100 years to the day he was killed in action will prove to be a significant moment in my life.

We have chosen the words for his headstone and hope that it will be some form of lasting reminder of what they gave up for us.

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Thank you for posting your feelings on the amazing identification of William after all these years. By doing so you have added a sense of just what an impact this has made on both your own and the other ten families whose relatives have returned after 100 years.It is fitting that those identified will all have a proper resting-place and the dignity of a named headstone which is the least they deserve having made the ultimate sacrifice for their Country. i am sure that we all hope that those remaining can also be identified in due course.

We Will Remember Them :poppy:

Norman

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Thanks for sharing Bernie. Great news. RIP William.

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Great stuff, Mel. Many thanks. Hugh Butterworth, was the Sanitary man for 'B' Company 1/5th and known as 'Pat' to his pals.,He was hit in the jaw and neck by shrapnel from a shell that exploded directly over his trench and died without regaining consciousness a couple of minutes later. The men standing either side of him did not suffer so much as a scratch. Just a month earlier he had single-handedly carried a wounded man, eighteen-year-old Pte Ernest Scriven, who had been shot through the shin, a mile under heavy shellfire. (He actually offered to continue to carry him the remaining two miles to the Dressing Station, but the stretcher bearers took over from there.) A brave, selfless and very popular nineteen-year-old.

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It is a little odd to see before the burials but the CWGC have already listed the names of the identified men and their grave plots of N37 -N47 on their website for Y Farm Military Cemetery;

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx?cpage=1&sort=name&order=asc

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A few comments on the Butterworth s

The family originated from Volunteer Yard Wakefield Yorkshire

William is commemorated on the Ploegsteert memorial not Menin gate . His name will be removed from Ploegsteert once his headstone is in place

Agnes Butterworth , his mother, was one of the four women who unveiled the memorial in Lancaster

My sincere thanks to all who have added so far to this remarkable story of unselfish sacrifice .

Ian Birnie

GGrandson

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Hugh Butterworth was engaged to be married when he was killed and Sgt Robert Robinson wrote to Hugh's fianceé, sending his condolences, saying, "He was a lad who was well-liked by everyone in the company, for he had such a cheerful disposition."

A son-in-law, Pte Christopher Smith served with 2/5th King's Own and as far as I can tell, survived the war. The Morecambe Chronicle reports that Mrs Butterworth's only brother, Pte James Wilkinson was also with the 2/5th. Three James Wilkinsons served with the 2/5th: One enlisted too late to be him, but the other two fall into the right time frame and one of these, 242173 who enlisted in Accrington, was killed on 20 March 1917. (3 days before John Butterworth died- I actually have the 23rd in my records, not the 27th.) You've just got to hope that he wasn't Agnes Butterworth's brother. I've not been able to find out.

5th King's Own seem to have a frightening number of close relatives within their ranks (far more than the 4th Battalion) - Apart from numerous brothers, nephews, in-laws, cousins, uncles and nephews serving together, 1/5th had seven father/son combinations and there was no happy ending to this!

God bless them all.

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Can anyone give any background on Hugh please?

Wher was he serving when killed in action

Anything very much appreciated

Ian Birnie

Hi Ian,

The battalion was in the Kemmel sector when Hugh was killed. 'B' Company were in H2 when Hugh was killed. If you put in the following coordinate for H2 into Google Earth, you'll see where the overlay below fits in. 50°47'4.40"N 2°51'47.94"E I'll e-mail you a draft of the chapters concerning this part of the war.

hughbutterworth_zpsb720ee59.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

"For Freedom and Honour"

Wednesday 22nd October 2014 11.30 am Y Farm Cemetery

Amanda and I along with our son William together with cousins Steven and Janet ie great grandchildren and great great grandchild were blessed to attend

William Butterworth 8175's funeral .

I find words are totally and completely inadequate to express any meaningful idea of how we felt on the day.

Our approach on the bright sunny morning was graced by the spontaneous appearance of a double rainbow in the sky.

The ceremony and service were conducted with great reverance and dignity.

The sight of fourteen coffins waiting for the final one to be lowered alongside will be something I will never be able to forget.

Our family have been SO lucky and priviledged to be able to attend this funeral of my great grandad and his comrades.Something denied to most other fallen soldiers' families of the Great War.

The search to identify the remaining four continues and I hope that these four "contemptibles" will be reunited, soon, with their families.

They are now with their comrades and may they rest in peace in a most peacefull and beautiful garden.

"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die"

Ian Birnie

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Very many thanks Ian for posting the moving description of the ceremony. It is the feelings of people like you who are intimately connected to the discovered fallen that brings home more than anything else the remarkable story that started 100 years ago and culminated in the service at Y Farm.

This man is no longer lost for he is here.

LEST WE FORGET 1914 - 2014 :poppy:

Norman

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"For Freedom and Honour"

Wednesday 22nd October 2014 11.30 am Y Farm Cemetery

Amanda and I along with our son William together with cousins Steven and Janet ie great grandchildren and great great grandchild were blessed to attend

William Butterworth 8175's funeral .

Ian Birnie

Ian,

Many thanks for your words on the ceremony. As the grandson of an Old Contemptible who fortunately survived the Great War , I know how moving it is to follow in his footsteps and visit the graves of 2 of his brothers who were not so fortunate.

It's really heartening that the efforts over a long period of many people including members of this Forum have secured such a great result - these dignified burials with a majority proudly identified.

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"To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die"

Good words, Ian. Thanks for the report on the funerals.

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