No.7438, Private, Harry BUTCHER
Aged 23

1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Tuesday, 30th March 1915

He was an Old Contemptible

Harry Butcher was born in Isleham on 27th December 1892 (Newmarket Q1-1892 3B:526), eldest son of Jonathan and Mary Elizabeth BUTCHER (née OSBORNE).

1901 census...Aged 9, he was at Fen Bank, Isleham with his father Jonathan [44] a general labourer; mother Mary E. [46] , sisters Rebecca [20] and Violet[16] and brothers David [13] Isaac [11], John W. [6] and Bertie [3]. The entire family were born in Isleham Fen. John W [6] and Bertie [3]. The newest brothers were also born at Isleham Fen.

1911 census... Aged 19, he was at Fen Bank, Isleham still, with his parents, sister Violet and brothers David, John W and Bertie. All the men were farm labourers. One sibling had died. Isaac had moved to Wisbech.

According to his Army records,in 1919 brother Bertie and father Jonathan were at Fen Bank, his mother had died, brother Isaac was at Tydd St Giles,nr Wisbech, sister Rebecca was Mrs Harvey at Waterside, Isleham and sister Violet was Mrs Goodchild at The Pits, Isleham.

An elder brother, David Butcher died in France in September 1916. see here

a younger brother, John William Butcher died in France in April 1918. see here

another brother, the 2nd son, Isaac survived the war. Their brother in law, Herbert Harvey was killed in Flanders in 1917 see here

He enlisted in Norwich on 6th November 1912 in the Norfolk Regiment Special Reserve, having been turned down by the RGA on account of chest measurement.
Despite conflicting numbers from CWG and Soldiers Died, his actual service document have his regimental number as 7438.
Giving his age as 20 years 10 months and weighing 126 lbs on enlistment, 5' 8.5" (174.6 cm)tall and chest 35"-37" (88.9 to 94 cm) on attestation, he had the tip of the ring finger on his left hand missing and had defective teeth.
Mobilised on 8th August 1914 he was with the BEF in France on 30th August 1914 and came under fire, being awarded the clasp to the 1914 Star..an Old Contemptible.
The 1st Norfolks were in Ypres in March 1915
They were in trenches near St Eloi when they were taken by the Germans, then all bar "The Mound" was regained. Only 5 of the Officers who arrived in France in August 1914 had survived.
On 30th March the battalion only lost 3 men killed.

photo- Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Harry Butcher is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial- panel 4.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details