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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

Havent been active in the forum a long time, I decided to post here something as well. 

I spotted a single British War Medal named to "2 LIEUT. W.E.BUTLER" on the dealers site with a note that this officer served in the Manchester Regiment and was entitled to 14 Star trio. I started to wonder why a pre-war officer wasn't never promoted. I did some digging and here is the answer...

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Walter Edward Butler (30 November 1892-1964)

 

Walter was born as a son of Rev Hercules Scott Butler (Vicer of Preston). He had brother Gerald Villiers Butler (Tank Corps, Major), Hubert Desramauy Butler (RAF, pilot).

Walter graduated from Oxford University Contingent Officers Training Corps 1913 and commissioned into 6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant.

When the Great War broke out he landed in France 14 August 1914.

Here is his personal account how he was captured by Germans...

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Edited by Noor
Typos

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Posted (edited)

He ended up in the infamous officers Holzminden prison camp in Lower Saxony. It opened in September 1917. The camp held between 500-600 officer prisoner's and approximately 100-160 other ranks, used as officers ordered.

Holzminden is known as the location of the largest POW escape of the war in July 1918, when 29 officers escaped through a tunnel, of whom 10 managed to make their way back to Britain.

Based on the book "the Tunnelers of Holzminden" Lieutenant Butler was one of the leaders of that escape. He was the first officer who break through to the surface and managed to escape but unfortunately he was captured in nearby village, after he stole a bike.

For his courage during escape he was Mentioned In Despatched on 30 January 1920.

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His captivity continued until the end of the war in Europe. He was released January 1919. Lieutenant Butler continued his service in North Russia, as an officer in Syren Army. Once again he was Mentioned In Despatches on the 3rd of February 1920.

He resigned his commission on the 25th April 1922 and retained the rank of Lieutenant (he was promoted to Lieutenant 1915 but this was only Gazette 1920).

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Edited by Noor

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One more piece that I found - a program of the escape where Lieutenant Walter Butler has been mentioned as well.
 
Here is the link to the YouTube video (in English):
 
https://youtu.be/q-qhMAWaoBI

 

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Great find, Timo!  I guess the dealer didn't know what he had...?

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6 hours ago, IrishGunner said:

Great find, Timo!  I guess the dealer didn't know what he had...?

Only Medal Index Card was pulled out and that's it. Now, on MIC only his initial were present and not a full name. It took some time to establish his full name to start the research. I used ancestry officers POW list > red cross POW cards and then Findmypast newspaper clippings. After his entity was established it was easy and I also ordered his personal file from the National Archive via researcher. Great help was GWF forum members who helped to confirm MID LG inputs.

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I tried to find a mention of him in Gen. Maynard's book "The Murmansk Venture", no luck unfortunately.

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No worries! Thank you very much for checking!

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Lovely!  Always gratifying when a singleton medal turns out to have such a wonderful history attached.  Well done!

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Great research for an excellent historical piece!

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