The Manchester Regiment Forum

The Great War => 1914 - 1918 => Topic started by: PhilipG on May 05, 2017, 07:32:22 AM

Title: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 05, 2017, 07:32:22 AM
The records indicate that this officer was attached to the 8th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps and was made a POW on the 21st March 1918 whilst in action with that battalion during the severe fighting at Urvillers (south of St. Quentin).    Particularly interesting is that the German accounts of the fighting mention especially the prolonged resistance by the battalion in the defence of that village.    Lt. Butler was repatriated on the 14th December 1918.

Any info. would be appreciated. PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: mack on May 05, 2017, 09:42:19 PM
2/Lt leonard Charles butler

his rank when the war ended was lieutenant
he was awarded a SWB No506778
went to france 24-9-1917
died 8th june 1921 aged 24,buried 11th june in st martins churchyard,east horsley,surrey by the rev walker
address lincombe,east horsley

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 06, 2017, 07:04:17 AM
Mack,

Many thanks.   I wonder, if during your research you came across the Manchester Regiment battalion in which he served?  PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: sphinx on May 06, 2017, 10:57:07 AM
He was in the 3rd (Reserve) Bn.

regards
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 06, 2017, 11:43:33 AM
Sphinx,

Many thanks.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on May 07, 2017, 07:35:30 PM
He was promoted Lt on 01.07.1918 and placed on the retired list due to ill health caused by active service on 03.12.1919.

At the time of his capture he was serving with A Coy 8/KRRC. According to the WD the Company became surrounded.

I have been unable to find any records for him in the ICRC files apart from two index cards which do not have links to any further existing information on them.

I wonder if his premature death was caused by the heath problems he contracted on active service? A case of non-commemoration by the CWGC?

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 08, 2017, 07:22:53 AM
Charlie,

Thank you.  You raise an interesting question re commemoration.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 09, 2017, 10:23:01 AM
The 8th KRRC was part of the 41st Brigade of the 14th (Light) Division.  The other three battalions belonged to the Rifle Brigade or KRRC.  The 42nd Brigade was composed of two battalions of Light Infantry together with the 9th KRRC and the 9th Rifle Brigade.   The 43rd Brigade was made up entirely of four battalions of the Light Infantry.

In the case of Lt. Butler being attached to a Rifle Regiment from a line regiment, I wonder whether or not he would find a large difference in military matters /procedures compared with his previous service with the Manchesters?

In August 1918 the components of the 14th Div. received radical change.   In the case of the 42nd Brigade, the 16th Manchesters were serving with the 6th(Wilts.Yeo.)Wiltshires, together with the 14th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

The other brigades were a mixture of Light Infantry and line regiments.   I understand that Light Infantrymen marched at 140 paces to the minute as opposed to 120 paces to the minute.   I wonder, when on the move, some compromise was necessary?   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: artyhughes on May 09, 2017, 02:53:33 PM
The 8th KRRC was part of the 41st Brigade of the 14th (Light) Division.  The other three battalions belonged to the Rifle Brigade or KRRC.  The 42nd Brigade was composed of two battalions of Light Infantry together with the 9th KRRC and the 9th Rifle Brigade.   The 43rd Brigade was made up entirely of four battalions of the Light Infantry.

In the case of Lt. Butler being attached to a Rifle Regiment from a line regiment, I wonder whether or not he would find a large difference in military matters /procedures compared with his previous service with the Manchesters?

In August 1918 the components of the 14th Div. received radical change.   In the case of the 42nd Brigade, the 16th Manchesters were serving with the 6th(Wilts.Yeo.)Wiltshires, together with the 14th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

The other brigades were a mixture of Light Infantry and line regiments.   I understand that Light Infantrymen marched at 140 paces to the minute as opposed to 120 paces to the minute.   I wonder, when on the move, some compromise was necessary?   PhilipG.
The only difference that Lt Butler would have experienced would have been on the non combatant side,peacetime soldering,parades etc,on the battlefied everything would have been the same as for an ordinary infantry battalion.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on May 09, 2017, 05:18:55 PM
artyhughes,

Very many thanks for your information.  PhilipG.
Title: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 02, 2019, 08:06:29 PM
Hi everyone and thank you for adding me to the forum. I saw you have a thread on Leonard C Butler already but I would be very grateful if anyone could tell me how I could get more information about him and him being a POW. Are there documents that I can check or get copies of?

I am sorry if I sound a little dense but it is all very new to me.

Many thanks
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 03, 2019, 11:43:36 AM
Hello and welcome to the forum.
As well as the information contained in the thread there is his service file, which is only available to view at the National Archives.
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C681575

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 03, 2019, 03:34:40 PM
Thanks Charlie,

I am having a good dig around and have been able to confirm that the one mentioned is 100% who I am looking for. The documentation I have seen says he wasn't registered as as POW but he seems to have been MIA for quite a while.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 03, 2019, 03:38:06 PM
The records indicate that this officer was attached to the 8th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps and was made a POW on the 21st March 1918 whilst in action with that battalion during the severe fighting at Urvillers (south of St. Quentin).    Particularly interesting is that the German accounts of the fighting mention especially the prolonged resistance by the battalion in the defence of that village.    Lt. Butler was repatriated on the 14th December 1918.

Any info. would be appreciated. PhilipG.

I have the records of him being attached to 8th Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps but can't find reference to him being made a POW or where he was interred. Do you have any pointers for me Philip?
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 03, 2019, 04:59:34 PM
Although an enquiry was made to the Red Cross they have no record of him being a PoW
https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/5314488/3/2/

The index card records that he was presumed missing on the 19th March .

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 03, 2019, 05:35:01 PM
Hi Charlie,

Yes, I found that, too. Do we know which POW camp those soldiers from the battle of St. Quentin were sent to? There is quite a gap from when he went missing to when he went home. So he must have been somewhere! I know he died of the effects of mustard gas poisoning so maybe he was in a hospital if not a POW.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: mack on July 03, 2019, 09:10:35 PM
he was captured on 21st march 1918 and repatriated on 14th November

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 03, 2019, 09:31:12 PM
I have been given permission to post the picture we have of Len Butler. Lieutenant L C Butler is sitting crosslegged on the ground at the extreme right.  It would seem (see https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/order-of-battle-of-divisions/58th-21st-london-division/) that this was a Territorial reserve unit named 58th (London) Divisional Train A.S.C., and the photo was taken Warminster in July 1916.  Apparently it was a Second Line Division (see explanation in the latter link).

I am sorry about the quality of the photo but it is the only one we have. I have no idea how to make it better! I hope this is of interest to you and if anyone is able to enhance the photo for me, I would be very grateful.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 03, 2019, 10:16:37 PM
Hi Charlie,

Yes, I found that, too. Do we know which POW camp those soldiers from the battle of St. Quentin were sent to? There is quite a gap from when he went missing to when he went home. So he must have been somewhere! I know he died of the effects of mustard gas poisoning so maybe he was in a hospital if not a POW.

If he was in a German hospital he would have still been reported to the Red Cross as being a PoW. As to where Officers captured during the German spring offensive were sent to is impossible to say, there was nothing hard and fast. A quick look through our PoW database http://www.themanchesters.org/pow.htm shows that quite a few Officers were first sent to Rastatt before being sent to various other camps. There is a list of PoW camps here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prisoner-of-war_camps_in_Germany

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 03, 2019, 10:19:51 PM
Great, thanks. I will see what I can find out about Rastatt. I might be lucky, as I speak fluent German, that I can dig around a little.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 04, 2019, 11:22:06 AM
Schushila,

I see that there are two threads running for this officer.   From the records.  Regarding Lt. Butler, he was reported missing on the 21st March 1918 and was repatriated on the 14th December 1918.   The 8th KRRC battalion reports that 15 officers were reported missing on the 21st March 1918, of which 8 were from other units. e.g. Lt.A.J.Bell attached from the Army Service Corps being repatriated on the 3rd January 1919.   (Worth checking to see if he was reported as a POW?).

I also referred to "Military Operations - France & Belgium 1918 - (Edmonds 1935)" in which German accounts of the battle specially mention the prolonged defence by the battalion of the village of Urvillers south of St. Quentin.  I note also that the Kaiser was present at this battle as an observer.  PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 04, 2019, 07:03:36 PM
Thanks Philip,

If you need to combine the two threads, that is fine by me. I have dug up quite a lot of information about the battle from the German side (I speak fluent German). I am going to sift through it slowly and see what I can come up with. I was told by Charlie or Mack that some were taken to Rastatt, so I might see what I can find out about the camp and if there is any information in Germany about it.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 04, 2019, 07:49:43 PM
Hi again Philip,

I have found Lt. A.J. Bell who was captured on 21.3.1918 as you said and taken as POW with many from the St. Quentin battle. I cannot find Lt. Butler on the lists but they were taken to Karlsruhe and then onto Freiburg if I am reading the data correctly.

Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: timberman on July 04, 2019, 08:03:57 PM
 I have merged both topics to stop confusion.

 Oldest first through to newest.

 Timberman
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 04, 2019, 09:45:24 PM
Lt Bell was interned in Karlsruhe, Freiberg, Heidelberg, Fürstenberg/Havel and finally Zerbst.

8/KRRC was opposite one of the regiments of the Bavarian 1st Infantry Division. If you can read Frakturschrift the divisional infantry regiments all have histories available online.
KB 1.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/101647640X#page/n0/mode/2up
KB 2.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/1031436111#page/n0/mode/2up
KB 24.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/1032191643#page/n0/mode/2up

Some of the German Regimental histories mention where PoWs were to be collected.

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 04, 2019, 09:55:08 PM
I have merged both topics to stop confusion.

 Oldest first through to newest.

 Timberman

Brilliant, thank you so much and apologies for the second thread.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 04, 2019, 10:19:24 PM
Lt Bell was interned in Karlsruhe, Freiberg, Heidelberg, Fürstenberg/Havel and finally Zerbst.

8/KRRC was opposite one of the regiments of the Bavarian 1st Infantry Division. If you can read Frakturschrift the divisional infantry regiments all have histories available online.
KB 1.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/101647640X#page/n0/mode/2up
KB 2.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/1031436111#page/n0/mode/2up
KB 24.IR - https://portal.dnb.de/bookviewer/view/1032191643#page/n0/mode/2up

Some of the German Regimental histories mention where PoWs were to be collected.

Charlie

Wow, thank you. I opened up the first one, scrolled through and landed on 21st March 1918 just by chance. Yes, I can read the script, no problem and the description of the day's battle on the first page makes me shudder. The soldiers on both sides must have been terrified. 

I was able to follow Lt. A. J. Bell but Lt. Butler just seems to go missing with no mention of him in any of the POW paperwork. I will keep looking.

Thanks for all your help.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 04, 2019, 10:33:09 PM
Charlie,

Thank you for those links. The battle at Urvillers is described beautifully. The writer is very objective and praises the courage of the British troops as well as speaking of mistakes that they had made - He tells of capturing 100 soldiers at Urvillers on 21st March and in order not to weaken the fighting strength, they decided not to have the English soldiers escorted which turned out to be a big mistake. Why? The English soldiers grabbed MGs and guns from the battle field and attacked their captures killing some rather important people. I get the feeling, from how it is written, that is said with more than a little respect for their prisoners!

Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 05, 2019, 03:59:48 PM
During the action at Urvillers, the Royal Flying Corps was very active attacking the 2nd Bavarian Regiment.   This unit made use of some British dug-outs in a sunken road and adopted them as their temporary headquarters.   However, this had been spotted by aircraft from No. 82 Squadron which then made low flying attacks with machine guns and bombs on the position.  The HQ staff was decimated.    PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 05, 2019, 10:59:01 PM
The  more I read the more I feel war is the most awful thing. I never thought it was good but my heart bleeds for the ordinary man caught up in this war. The German accounts, that Charlie posted, are well written and really bring home that both sides were sick and tired of the futility, I think, of the whole thing. For me, being able to read the original German really brings things home to me.

I am going to see if I can get to the Military Archive in Freiburg, I don't know if I will find anything there but it is worth a shot maybe.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 06, 2019, 10:03:54 PM
During the action at Urvillers, the Royal Flying Corps was very active attacking the 2nd Bavarian Regiment.   This unit made use of some British dug-outs in a sunken road and adopted them as their temporary headquarters.   However, this had been spotted by aircraft from No. 82 Squadron which then made low flying attacks with machine guns and bombs on the position.  The HQ staff was decimated.    PhilipG.

Philip,
The history of the 2nd Bavarian Regt records that low flying aircraft dropped „Kettenbomben“ literally „chained bombs“, causing considerable casualties. Can you throw any light on how these bombs were constructed? I think the history also exaggerates somewhat stating the Regtl HQ was decimated, the Adjutant was wounded and the Intelligence Officer killed outright.

Schushila
The number of prisoners taken by the 1st Bavarian Regt is recorded in the history as several hundred. While I agree that they record respect for the fighting qualities of the British there is a sense of disgust at the actions of the PoWs who fired at them from the rear.

In your search for information you could also try ZMSBw in Potsdam, they have, among other things, an extensive library of around 250000 books which is searchable online https://portal.kobv.de/?ref=logo&plv=2

Charlie

Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 06, 2019, 10:22:58 PM
Hi Charlie,

Yes, it said "einige hundert" - serveral hundred, you are right. Multi-tasking two translations at the same time, is not a good idea! As for the other part, I agree they were not happy about their particularly well loved comrades being killed but I got the feeling that they were annoyed with themselves for not having got them escorted and there was a begrudging respect that they took the opportunity that their failings allowed. Maybe it is how one reads it. I am happy to bow to your better historical knowledge as I am a total novice here.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 07, 2019, 05:40:28 AM
Sorry, I forgot the link to ZMSBw http://www.zmsbw.de/html/zms_bib.php

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 07, 2019, 12:06:36 PM
Charlie,

Kettenbomben

I suggest that this is a description of the style of bombing, insofar as the vertically stacked bombs in the aircraft's carrier were released in a manner of very short and regular intervals so as to give the impression to the bystander when they arrived on the ground that they were dropped in a chain -  cf. jettisoning of a bomb load where the forward motion of the aircraft would have the same effect.    Just a thought, but I am no Air Bomber. PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: Schushila on July 07, 2019, 12:16:18 PM
https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/177177-chain-bombs/

This might be of interest/help.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 07, 2019, 12:51:10 PM
Charlie,

I quote from the Official History of the War ( 1934) -  German Evidence:  2nd Bavarian Regiment.

The British airmen " in the most daring manner flew very low over the ground and threw bombs causing us considerable losses.   At about 3 pm the regimental staff arrived at a sunken road where dug-outs were available for a command post.   The signal officer, Lieutenant Weisz had just signalled back to Brigade, and the Regimental Adjutant was issuing orders to the subordinate members of the staff who had tentatively taken shelter in the sunken road, when a deafening explosion robbed us for some moments of consciousness.  A hostile airman had spotted the concentration and caused his blessing in bombs to rain upon us.    The signal officer, the excellent Weisz was killed instantaneously.   The regimental staff was decimated.  The adjutant, Lieutenant Hans Zorn was so badly wounded that he had to be relieved."

A claim by the British pilot attacking reported dropping three bombs.     200 machine-gun rounds were also fired.    PhilipG.

Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: charlie on July 08, 2019, 03:52:57 PM
Philip, Schushila,
Thank you for your comments and the link. The interesting thread on the GWF doesn‘t really give a definitive answer as to whether it was a type of bomb or a method of releasing bombs from an aircraft. Another mystery.

Charlie
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 09, 2019, 11:58:27 AM
Charlie,

Thank you.  In December 1940 our village was bombed causing casualties and damage.  At the time, the ARP Warden advised that "a string of land mines had been dropped near the telephone exchange."    In that respect I can see the connection with the words chain and string.   PhilipG.
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: mack on July 09, 2019, 08:28:16 PM
he may have only been with the germans for a very short time and sent to Holland or Switzerland and never got registered at any of their camps,it doesn't say where he was repatriated from,only the date.

mack
Title: Re: 2nd Lt. L.C.Butler : Manchester Regt. Attd. K.R.R.C.
Post by: PhilipG on July 11, 2019, 11:31:36 AM
Looking at the date of repatriation in respect of Lt.Butler, I see that another officer, also of the 8th KRRC was similarly repatriated on the 14th December 1918, having been reported missing on the 21st March 1918.  He was Captain F.G.Scott.  Perhaps it is worth looking into his POW career, too?     Battalions of the KRRC which took part in the St Quentin battle were the 7th, 8th & 9th battalions.   At the end of the battle they were each reduced to a cadre, as a total of around 40 officers of these battalions were reported as missing.

Continuing the research.   I see in an authoritative book published in 1978 that Lt.Col. R.H.Brown, the CO of the 8th KRRC was taken prisoner on the 21st March 1918. In another equally authoritative list, this name is missing, but I think the CO's name could be Major R.L.Bowen?   It seems that Battalion HQ was located in a series of dug-outs.   It was from this position that advancing German forces, including tanks, stretched "as far as the eye could see."    When the enemy appeared quite near, "the Colonel tied a white rag or towel to a stick and waved it.  There was much saluting and conversation."

Schushila,  No doubt you will be aware that in 1918 the Manchesters were involved in this battle and that Wilfred Owen (2nd Mcrs.) was in the fighting around St.Q. in 1917.  Lastly, I take it your interest in Lt.Butler is a family one?   PhilipG.