24486, Private, John Bertie BUTCHER
Aged 28

1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 16th August 1916

John Butcher was born in 1888 (Mildenhall Q1-1888 4A:735), son of David and Elizabeth Ann BUTCHER (née IVATT).

1891 censusAged 3, he was at 3 Aspal Lane, Holywell Row, Mildenhall with his father David BUTCHER [42] farm labourer; his mother Elizabeth A [43] born Ely; brothers Albert D [17] and Ivett W [16] both farm labourers, Obadiah [11]and Henry J [7]; sisters Anna E [9], Harriett [4] and Margaret M [2]. All the family except his mother, were born in Mildenhall.

1901 census...Aged 13, he was at Aspal Lane, Holywell Row with his parents (father now farmer/woodman); brothers Obadiah (farm labourer) and Johnson [Henry J ?] a carter on farm; sisters Annie, Harriet and Margaret.

1911 census...Aged 23, farm labourer, he was at Aspal Lane, now placed in Beck Row), with his parents, brother Johnson and sister Margaret.

John enlisted in Newmarket on 29th February 1916, placed on Reserves and mobilised at Bury St Edmunds on 5th April 1916 . He gave his age as 28 yrs 1 month, was 5 feet 4 inches (162.6 cm)tall, weighed 128 lbs (58.2 kg) and chest 37.5" to 40" (95.3 to 101.6 cm). His occupation was farm labourer and next of kin, his father David.
He seems to have been attached to the Suffolk Regiment as one sheet of his records states that he embarked on 9th July 1916 and joined the 2nd Suffolks in the field on 26th July 1916 and the OC 2nd Suffolks reports him missing on 16th August 1916 (the date his death was eventually presumed). No other records mention the Suffolk regiment. All rather confusing since CWGC and "Soldiers Died" have him in the Northants and no mention of Suffolks.

On the strength of that entry it would seem that John was killed when the 2nd Suffolk attacked on 16th August near Maltzhorn Farm. This attack was successful on the right, 250 yards of Cochrane trench being captured, but brought to a standstill on the left by heavy machine gun fire. The battalion withdrew to its original line that night. Not accounting for John Butcher, the Suffolks lost 41 men that day.
Both regiments were attacking towards a line from Martinpusch (1st Northants) SE to Guillemont (2nd Suffolks)

John's service in the Army was a mere 170 days in total, including training.

John Butcher is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 11A/11D
and on the war memorial in Beck Row.

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