THE VICTORIA CROSS AND CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED PRIVATE WILLIAM BUTLER, 17TH BN, WEST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT, HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE LORD ASHCROFT VC COLLECTION.
10 February 2012

The Victoria Cross, campaign medals and commemorative medals awarded to Private William Butler, 17th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment, have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding instution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection. The William Butler VC group will go on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum.



( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Private William Butler,
17th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Croix de Guerre ( France )


For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 17 October 1917 ], Near Lempire, France, 6 August 1917, Private William Boynton Butler, 17th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment, att'd 106th Trench Mortar Battery.

For most conspicuous bravery ( East of Lempire, France ) when in charge of a Stokes gun in trenches which were being heavily shelled. Suddenly one of the fly-off levers of a Stokes shell came off and fired the shell in the emplacement. Private Butler picked up the shell and jumped to the entrance of the emplacement, which at that moment a party of infantry were passing. He shouted to them to hurry past as the shell was going off, and turning round, placed himself between the party of men and the live shell and so held it till they were out of danger. He then threw the shell on to the parados, and took cover in the bottom the trench. The shell exploded almost on leaving his hand, greatly damaging the trench. By extreme good luck Private Butler was contused only.

Undoubtedly his great presence of mind and disregard of his own life saved the lives of the officer men in the emplacement and the party which was passing at the time.

William Butler was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 5th December 1917.


William Butler died in hospital on the 25th March 1972 and was given a full military funeral on the 29th, the bearer party being drawn from senior NCOs and members of the Royal British Legion. He was buried in Hunslet Cemetery, Leeds. The grave was originally unmarked, but this was rectified in 1996 where a local firm of monumental masons offered to provide a headstone for the grave free off charge.

Acquisitions

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Iain Stewart, 10 February 2012