William Boynton Butler VC

Name: William Boynton Butler

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: October 17, 1917

Service: Army

Copyright Unknown William Boynton Butler VC
William Boynton Butler VC
William Boynton Butler Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Leeds, Yorkshire/November 20, 1894

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Private

Date of bravery: August 6, 1917

London Gazette citation:

No. 17/1280 Pte. William Boynton Butler, West Yorks. R. (Hunslet, Leeds).

For most conspicuous bravery when in charge of a Stokes gun in trenches which were being heavily shelled. Suddenly one of the fly-off levers of a Stokes shell came off and fired the shell in the emplacement. Private Butler picked up the shell and jumped to the entrance of the emplacement, which at that moment a party of infantry were passing. He shouted to them to hurry past as the shell was going off, and turning round, placed himself between the party of men and the live shell and so held it till they were out of danger. He then threw the shell on to the parados, and took cover in the bottom of the trench. The shell exploded almost on leaving his hand, greatly damaging the trench. By extreme good luck Private Butler was contused only. Undoubtedly his great presence of mind and disregard of his own life saved the lives of the officer and men in the emplacement and the party which was passing at the time.

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Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death:  Leeds, Yorkshire/March 25, 1972

Grave/memorials: Hunslet Cemetery, Leeds, West Yorkshire; City Art Gallery, Leeds

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2011

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum