Tuesday, 8 November 2011

News - Hero honoured nearly a century after his death (Thorne)

ALMOST a century after he suffered fatal injuries while serving his country in the First World War, the contribution of a South Yorkshire soldier has been officially recognised.

The “Debt of Honour”, run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), records the names of more than 1.7 million servicemen who died in the two world wars.

The name of Thomas Ernest Butler, from Thorne near Doncaster, has now been added to the list, 93 years after his death.

One of 12 children, Corporal Butler, joined the York and Lancaster Regiment at the outbreak of war in 1914 and served in Gallipoli, Egypt, France and Belgium.

He was invalided out of the army in March 1918, with blindness in one eye, and died four months later.

Councillor Tony Brookes, who was researching those commemorated on Thorne War Memorial, said he was “surprised” to find that Corporal Butler was not on the Debt of Honour.

Barbara Melling, the granddaughter of one of the soldier’s sisters, was able to provide his birth certificate, which attributed his death to “gas on active service” and pneumonia.

Coun Brookes then put the case to the CWGC, which accepted that Corporal Butler’s death had resulted from his war service, and added his name to the United Kingdom Book of Remembrance.

It is also likely that the CWGC will provide a headstone in the churchyard where Corporal Butler he was buried.

Ms Melling said: “Now Tom is in the Debt of Honour I know that he won’t ever be forgotten.

“I am very happy, but also sad that it has taken 93 years for him to get the recognition he deserves.”

Coun Brookes added: “I am delighted that Tom has finally been recognised at such an appropriate time – the run up to Remembrance Day, which is also the 90th anniversary of Thorne War Memorial.

“There is at least one other Thorne soldier, Albert Venus, who the CWGC has not recognised, so I will now be pushing his case.”

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