14 September 2015

27079 Sapper William Henry Butt, L Signal Coy, Royal Engineers

I picked up this broken group at the DNW auction last week. I don't usually buy broken groups but I like medals awarded to the original BEF and besides, this one included a Medaille Militaire, albeit with most of the enamel missing from the face.

As DNW were quick to point out, the clasp on the 1914 Star isn't verified but I'm guessing that William was entitled to wear it and picked up a copy from a local tailor. As for the man himself, the book, Honours & Awards to the Old Contemptibles confirms the Medaille Militaire award and notes SR (or Special Reserve) next to William's name. This is interesting because his regimental number does not belong to the Special Reserve series and dates to around April 1913.

I have not yet confirmed William's entitlement to the Defence Medal but he was entitled to the Queen's South Africa Medal and King's South Africa Medal, having served in South Africa as 4607 Sapper William H Butt from June 1900 until September 1902. He received the usual three state clasps on his QSA and the usual two date clasps on his KSA, all of which means that the three silver medals from this group are missing and could well have been scrapped several decades ago. But if they do still survive, and the owner wishes to part with them, please do get in touch.

William was the son of Thomas and Maria Butt and was born in Portland, Dorset in 1872. He married Annie Florence Legg in Dorchester in 1903 and a son, Kenneth Butt, was born on the 31st January 1911. I have not yet confirmed a death date for William.

Photo courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

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