Monday, July 9, 2012

Private Samuel Butler 11394


The BMD records show there were 2 Samuel Butlers born in Liverpool in the period 1880-1900. One born in 1891 to parents Samuel and Mary and one in 1895 to Samuel and Sarah. The child born in 1891 died the same year so I have assumed the 1895 birth was the correct Samuel.

Deciding which military record was likely to be Samuel's was more tricky. In the CWGC database there were  3 entries for Samuel Butler, 2 entries for Sam Butler and 4 entries for S Butler. I ignored the entries with a middle name as there wasn't one on the memorial.

Of these possibles there didn't seem to be a likely candidate. Cross referencing them with the UK Soldiers died in the Great War database didn't show any connection to Liverpool. It did turn up a record for Samuel Buttler though, from Liverpool. Checking the medal card for this man I found that on the medal card his name was spelled Butler and the address for his next-of-kin was Liverpool. On the evidence I have, it is most likely that this man's name was spelled incorrectly and he is the Samuel Butler from the war memorial.

Family Information

Samuel's  father (also Samuel, as was his grandfather) was first married to Mary Hannah Grace in St James Church in 1885. They lived at 15 Emerson St.
Their daughter Ann was christened on 28th December 1886, she died in 1888 aged 1.
 Their daughter Mary Ellen was christened in St James, Toxteth on 24th October 1888.
On 4th March 1891 their son, Samuel Butler,  was christened in St James, Toxteth, at this time their address was 4 Hyslop St, he died the same year.

Mary Butler died in 1893, aged 29.

On 16th April 1894 Samuel Butler remarried to Sarah Morris.

Their son Samuel Butler (our soldier) was born in 1895, I have not found a christening record for him,

 In the 1901 census the family (parents Samuel and Sarah Butler, children Samuel 6, Mary 12 and Hannah 2) were living at 6 house 1 court Chesterfield Street (one of the streets directly adjacent to St James)
This address shows that it was one of Liverpool's many notorious 'court dwellings' and the census records that this family of 5 lived in 2 rooms. Samuel's occupation was ship scraper.

In 1902 Samuel's brother Isaac was christened in St Cleopas Church, Toxteth, the family lived at 6 Grey St.

In 1905 Samuel's sister Eleanor was christened in St James Church and the record shows that the family were living at Stanhope Cottages, Upper Stanhope St.

The 1911 census shows the parents Samuel and Sarah Butler living at 23 Wolfe Street (Toxteth) which was a house with 6 rooms.  Eleanor and Isaac were with them. Mary Ellen Butler was married in 1911 to Francis Walls - their address was Upper Frederick Street.  Samuel was not at home with his parents.

A search of the census shows that Samuel Butler was in the Northampton Society's Reformatory for Boys, Tiffield, Towcester, Northamptonshire.

The summary page for this institution shows that the 'Boys or Inmates Rooms' consisted of 10 rooms for 97 boys.
The ages of the boys on the census ranges from13-18 and they are all employed in the reformatory, the occupations available to them were labourer,farm hand, apprentices and tailors, carpenters and shoemakers. Samuel's entry says that he was a carpenter.

Military Service

Samuel's medal card has an address on it for his next of kin at 28 Vickers Street, Liverpool. It records that he was in the West Riding Regiment, rank Private, number 11394. He was entitled to the Victory Medal, British war Medal and 1915 Star.  He first entered the war in the Balkans and his date of entry was 5th September 1915.  
There are also notes which show that a Mrs Butler (probably his mother, I haven't found a marriage record) applied for the 1914 star for Pte S Butler in 1919.  The front of the card shows that he was eligible for the 1914-1915 star but not the 1914. A note seems to say that there was a duplicate (or maybe a duplicate record) and the star was returned in 1921. 

Looking at the Medal Roll clears up some of these confusing notes, it seems that there were two entries for Samuel Butler in the 1915 Star medal roll. One states that he disembarked in France on 26th August 1915, the other that he disembarked in the Balkans on 5th September 1915.  

The medal roll for the Victory and British War medals shows that Samuel was in both the 10th and the 2nd Battalions of the West Riding Regiment. The 10th Bn was part of the new army, the 2nd was regular army. 

Death and Commemoration

The CWGC entry and the UK Soldiers Died in the Great War entry both have the incorrect surname spelling of Buttler but the regiment, regimental number and date of death match so they are referring to the same soldier as the medal card.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Name: Samuel Buttler
Birth Place: Liverpool
Residence: Liverpool
Death Date: 3 May 1917
Death Location: France & Flanders
Enlistment Location: Halifax
Rank: Private
Regiment: Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)
Battalion: 2nd Battalion
Number: 11394
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

At the time of Samuel's death the 2nd Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) were part of the 4th Division,12th Brigade.
On the day Samuel was killed his battalion was involved in the Third Battle of the Scarpe, 3 - 4 May 1917 (information from the long long trail)


Unknown said...

This is my great grandad and I'm so pleased you wrote this. When you mention the war memorial, does that mean you visited his grave?
Thank you for this 😄
Sylvia Simpson xx

Amanda said...

Hi Sylvia, thanks for commenting, I'm so glad you're pleased with the research. The memorial referred to is from a church in Liverpool. The memorial is gone but I have a photo of it and that's how this project got started. This website presents my research on the 62 men who were commemorated on it.
I am currently upgrading to a website with more information and you can see the most recent info on Samuel Butler here:
Samuel doesn't actually have a grave, he was reported missing in action and later presumed dead. His body was never identified and his name is recorded on the Arras Memorial in France. I have been to that memorial and it is a very beautiful place.
Best wishes
If you wish to contact me directly about anything on the blog/website you can email me through the 'contact us' link at the top