Henry (Harry) Butcher

From Our Contribution

Henry (Harry) Butcher
Butcher H & friends.jpg
Harry centre "For King & Cobbers" N Browning p.57
Butcher H.jpg
Harry in front "For King & Cobbers" N Browning p.177
Personal Information
Date of Birth 19 Feb 1893
Place of Birth Wongong Brook, Western Australia
Death 14 Nov 1955
Place of Death Perth, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 23 years, 8 months
Description 5' 6" (1.68m) tall ; 165 lbs
74.843 kg
; fresh complexion ; brown eyes ; black hair
Occupation Farmer
Religion Congregational
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Hannah Sophia Butcher (nee Marsh)
Military Information
Reg Number 6414
Date of Enlistment 3 Oct 1916
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 27th Battalion, 18th Reinforcement, transferred to 51st Battalion
Date of Embarkation 23 Dec 1916 ‒ 16 Feb 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A35 Berrima Fremantle to Devonport
Date of Return 25 Aug 1919 ‒ 4 Sep 1919
Ship Returned On SS Celtic Liverpool to New York
Date of Return 21 Sep 1920 ‒ 12 Oct 1920
Ship Returned On SS Sonoma San Franciso to Sydney
Fate Wounded in Action 25 Apr 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Bedfordale panel)
Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Armadale Congregational Church Honour Board
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

At time of enlistment gave his address as Bruce Rock.

War Service

Harry entered Blackboy Hill camp on 3 Oct 1916 and was initially placed in the 86th Depot Company. On 9 Oct 1916 he was allocated to the 23rd reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion, but a week later this changed to the 6th draft for the 44th Battalion. On 14 Nov 1916 he was again shifted, this time to the 24th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, and then on 7 Dec 1916 he was posted to the 22nd Depot Company, used for holding men until they are ready to proceed overseas. At the time of his departure overseas he was designated as part of the 18th reinforcement draft for the 27th Battalion, having joined them on 16 Dec 1916. During the voyage to England Harry acted as a Lance Corporal and spent from 19 - 25 Jan 1917 in the ship's hospital - cause unknown.

On arrival in England he was sent to the 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone to prepare for service on the Western Front. While there he was again reallocated, this time to the 51st Battalion's reinforcement cadre at Codford on 30 Apr 1917. On 11 May 1917 he was transferred to a holding unit, the 70th Battalion at Wareham. His records contain nothing to enlighten us as to why, except that on 12 Sep 1917 he proceeded overseas to France through Southampton, and that he joined the 51st Battalion in their rest area near Matringhem, France on 24 Sep 1917.

His medical records contain an entry indicating that during Oct 1917 he was gassed, but was not evacuated. On 15 Nov 1917 he reported to the 13th Field Ambulance with a severely sprained right ankle. Passed on to the 58th Casualty Clearing Station the same day, and a day later to a medical facility in Étaples where he remained until 2 Mar 1918. He returned to his battalion via the 4th Division's Base Depot on 5 Apr 1918 and was appointed Lance Corporal on 12 Apr 1918.

Involved in the famous recapture of Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day 1918, he received a wound to the face on 25 Apr 1918 requiring hospital attention. While his records show this as occurring on 29 Apr 1918, the battalion had been withdrawn from the battle on the 27th so the correct date should read as 25 Apr 1918. The battalion's losses for their part in retaking Villers-Bretonneux was 76 killed, 253 wounded and 60 missing. Treated by the 12th Field Ambulance, on 2 May 1918 he was admitted to the 5th General Hospital in Rouen. On 11 May 1918 he was discharged to the Australian Convalescent Depot in Le Havre before being released to the 4th Division's Base Depot in Le Have on 25 May 1918, and he rejoined the 51st Battalion on 4 Jun 1918 at Sailly-le-Sec.

Soon after rejoining his battalion he was sent on leave to England from 5 - 21 Sep 1918, and then on 5 Oct 1918 he attended a course at No. 4 Army School. On 17 Nov 1918 he presented to the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance with influenza and was on 19 Nov 1918 was passed to the 12th Casualty Clearing Station, and on 26 Nov 1918 he was admitted to the 10th General Hospital in Rouen. On 14 Dec 1918 he was released to the 2nd Australian Convalescent Depot in Le Havre. It wasn't until 4 Jan 1919 that he returned to duty and 15 Jan 1919 before he finally rejoined his battalion. On 20 Jan 1919 Harry was made a Temporary Corporal before spending 11 Feb to 2 Mar 1919 on Ceremonial Guard duties. This was followed by leave in Paris from 31 Mar 1919 until he returned on 13 Apr 1919, and leave in Rome from 18 Apr 1919 until 7 May 1919.

On 20 May 1919 Harry returned to England where he was sent to the No 4 Command Depot at Hurdcott, moving to Sutton Veny on 3 Jul 1919 and Parkhouse on 16 Jul 1919. Harry requested, and was granted 12 months leave it the United States to receive instruction in agriculture and pig raising methods from 10 Aug 1919. He embarked on SS Celtic at Liverpool on 25 Aug 1919.

Discharged by the 2nd Military District on 26 Dec 1920 after arriving in Sydney from San Francisco.

409th Official List.. WOUNDED.. Henry Butcher, Armadale.[1]

Post War

Henry first appears on the electoral roll in 1922 as a pastoralist at Payne's Find with his brother William and then in 1925 at Hill Springs Station via Carnarvon. He and his wife Amy Strongman (nee Richards) who he married in 1923 are still shown there on electoral rolls until his death.

On 12 Feb 1925 a daughter Amy Thea was born in South Perth.