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Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 7 years, 2 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Butler L    Gunner    33152    Lawrence                FAB    27    Clerk    Single    R C       

Address:    South Melbourne, Park St, 406   

Next of Kin:    Butler, Annie, Mrs, mother, 106 Bellair St, Kensington   

Enlisted:    9 Oct 1916       

Embarked:     A9 Shropshire 11 May 1917   


Date of death: 12/10/1917

CWGC: "Son of Edward and Annie Butler, of 106, Bellair St., Kensington, Victoria, Australia. Born at North Melbourne, Victoria".



The death is reported, somewhere in France, on 12th October, of Lawrence Patrick Butler, second son of Mrs. Annie Butler, Bellair street, Kensington.


ROLL OF HONOUR. (1917, November 15). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2 Edition: Morning. Retrieved May 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74604303


Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau Correspondence


Amu Col.                    BUTLER L 33152
4th Div AIF

Killed 12.10.17

Butler a gunner just joined up, was killed in Ypres stunt, on right of Zonnebeke I think, while salvaging limbers at the same time as Billy Richards Cpl. about whom a direct enquiry made by Red Cross to unit, was wounded.  I cant say where  Butler was buried, but he would be.

I knew Butler well, a good boxer and singer and came in same boat A9 Shropshire, leaving Melbourne 11 May 1917.  I was told of the casualty by G Madden who was wounded by same shell, who is now transferred to 4 VET Sec and was with the section quite recently.

I saw one of our Div same section as Butler 2nd Sec. who told me that Butler was killed at Chateau Wood between 4 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon and thinks he is buried at D/S at Menin Rd.  I don't know his name, saw him at Weymouth today 27.6.18.

Inf Brunning S 33278
Hut 86
Note:  Written Pte Madden 15.7.18.


Re Gunner Butler.  On the 12.10.17 a party of us including Butler were sent up to salvage a wagon on the corduroy road in Chateau Wood just past Ypres.  A shell landed amongst us killing four and wounding five.  Butler had his head blow off, and as Fritz was shelling very heavily the rest of the party had their work cut out to get away the dying and wounded and so Butler, who of course was killed instantaneously was left there.  I myself went to hospital but on my return to the DAC was told that a burial party was sent up next day to bury Butler, but when they got there they found that his body had been removed and buried.  

His mates went through his kit and sent any valuables and keepsakes to his relatives in Melbourne.  They could probably give you further particulars and I will try and see No 33147 Gunner J F Thomas, 37th Battery, 10th Artillery AIF.  If I don't see him within the next few days I will write to him and get him to forward you any further details.  His other mates 33148 F Fink and 33149 Roy Maclellan are both in Hospital, Blighty but if you write to either of them c/o Foy and Gibson, 14 Finsbury St, London EC, I know you will get all particulars as they went up with the burial party.  Butler was of small statue (sic) but very well built, clean shaven, on the fair side & usually wore glasses.

Inf  Geoffrey Madden
4th Aust Mobile Veterinary Section

London 31.7.18
Written Maclellan and Fink
Gun Thomas written to 17.7.18

At Hell Fire Corner Passchendaele, Butler and others had gone out to salvage a waggon, date early in Oct was killed instantaneously by H E shell.  Badly hit - he was buried but I don't know exact locality.  Gunner Thomas No ... 37th Batty 10th Brigade FA told me the above.  He, Thomas is still with Batty in France and could give particulars.  I knew Butler, Christian name Larry
Inf Gunner F W Rose, 33933
37th Batty 10th Brigade

Killed in Action 12-10-17

Re 33152 Gnr L Butler.  I first met Gnr Butler in the Art: reinforcement camp at Maribyrnong, Victoria, when he formed one of our party of six who always lived in the same tent, consequently I became very closely associated with  him, and knew him better than most of the other fellows.  Subsequently we all left Australia for France together in the same reinforcements, managing to stick together even when sent to France on October 4th 1917.  On October 11th we arrived at the 4th DAC Headquarters, then near Ypres and were allotted to the 2nd Section of the above Unit, next day Friday 12th October, was sent up to an Ammunition Dump in the morning, returning to camp in the evening when I heard that my pal Larry Butler had been killed that afternoon.  Later, I obtained full particulars of the occurrence from an eye-witness, and remember of Butler's party, a Geoffrey Madden, now in the 4th Divisional Mobile Veterinary Section, who was wounded at the same time.  Particulars are as follows:

Butler was sent with a party of twelve, about 2 pm, to salvage a broken ammunition waggon, and on arriving at the spot, the party waited for some time in a dug out as the Huns were shelling fairly heavily, when things quieted down, they sallied forth and began to attach ropes to the vehicle when the German Artillery again opened up on spot with 5.9 inch shells, which fell right in amongst the party, one of the killed being Larry.  Death was instantaneous.

Next morning we went up to bury the poor chaps, but found that some Engineers had done so the same evening, so Butler was buried where he fell and his grave marked by a small cross, with aluminium plate attached giving all his particulars, number, Unit, etc. The exact spot is known as Chateau Wood about five kilos from the city of Ypres itself and at the same time was an artillery position which was always heavily shelled, it is a well known part of the Ypres front and can be easily found.  Owing to the recent German advance there, the front line must run through or very close to the spot, so I should think that the chance of ever again finding poor old Butler's grave is very remote, as the spot is sure to be shelled heavily.

All Larry's personal belongings were collected at the time and sent home to his Mother by Gnr T Fink, now in Hospital, in England, and whose address is C/C Ccl Resy, Melbourne Herald, 92 Fleet St, London.  He also came away with Butler and knows him even better than I do.

As regards Butler's personal appearance, he was a short thick-set and very nuggety, was an excellent boxer, oarsman and had a fine tenor voice - in fact  was an all round athlete and a good entertainer.  He was at one time employed on the staff of the Melbourne herald.  At the time of enlistment he had a wine and spirit business at South Melbourne, I believe, when we left his Mother resided at Ascot Vale, Melbourne.   There is absolutely no doubt as regards his identity, but if you wish you can obtain a verification of these facts from Gnr T Finck whose address I have given you.  Trusting these facts will fully satisfy your enquiries.

Letter from 33147 J F Thomas
37th Batty AFA

AIF France 



War Service Commemorated

Catholic Young Men's Society


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