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St Peter-in-the East Church: Charlie BUTLER (1884–1915)

Charlie Butler was born in Oxford in 1884. He was registered with the name Charlie Huggins, but baptised as Charles Butler.

He was the son of Henry Butler (born in Forest Hill in 1843 and baptised at Wheatley as Henry Butler Huggins on 1 October) and Martha Ann Jones (born in Holywell, Oxford near the beginning of 1844 and baptised at St Cross Church on 16 June 1850).

Charlie's parents were married in St Cross Church, Oxford on 25 October 1866 and had nine children:

  • Kate Butler (born in Temple Street, east Oxford in 1867 and baptised as Kate Huggins at St James's Church, Cowley on 6 October)
  • Harry Butler (born at 3 Longwall Street in 1869 and baptised as Harry Butler Huggins at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 13 June)
  • Ethel Butler (born at 3 Longwall Street in 1871 and baptised as Ethel Butler Huggins at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 30 July); died at 7 Longwall Street at the age of 15 in 1886 and buried on 23 April, probably in Holywell Cemetery
  • May Butler (born at 3 Longwall Street in 1874 and baptised as May Butler Huggins at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 12 October)
  • Louisa Butler (born at 3 Longwall Street in 1876 and baptised as Louisa Butler Huggins at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 2 April)
  • Herbert Butler (born at Longwall Street, Oxford in 1878 and baptised as Herbert Butler Huggins at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 8 September)
  • Rose Butler (born at 3 Longwall Street in 1881 and baptised with this name at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 11 September)
  • Charlie Butler (born at 7 Longwall Street, Oxford on 1 January 1884 and baptised as Charles Butler at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 10 August)
  • Arthur Butler (born at 7 Longwall Street on 23 July 1890 and baptised with this name at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 24 August)

Charlie's father was a cabinet maker, and when their first child Kate was baptised in 1867 they were living at Temple Street in east Oxford.

By 1869 they were living at 3 Longwall Street, and they can be seen there in the 1871 census with their first two children. They were still at this address in September 1881.

7 Longwall Street

By the end of 1883 they had moved four doors north to 7 Longwall Street (right), where Charlie was born.

At the time of the 1891 census Charlie (7) was living at 7 Longwall Street with his father Henry (47), who was a cabinet maker and his mother Martha (47), who was a lodging house keeper there. His seven surviving siblings were all still at home: Kate (23); Harry (22), who was a college servant; May (17), who was a milliner's assistant; Louisa (15), who was a pupil teacher; and Herbert (12), Rose (9), and Arthur (eight months).

From September 1895 to July 1899 Charlie was a pupil at the Oxford Boys' High School in George Street. He was a chorister.

Charlie joined the Post Office straight after school in 1899.

At the time of the 1901 census Charlie (17), described as a Post Office clerk, was living at 7 Holywell Street with his parents and five of his siblings: Kate (33); Harry (32), who was still a college servant; May (27), who was now a draper's assistant; Rose (19), who was a millinery assistant; and Arthur (10). Charlie's sister Louisa (25) was a teacher at Farningham Home for Orphan Boys at Hextable in Kent, and his brother Herbert (22) had joined the army and was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers in barracks in Gillingham, Kent.

Charlie's work with the Post Office took him to Rugby in 1903.

Three of Charlie's siblings were married in Oxford in the early 1900s, with his sister giving her surname as Huggins and her two brother as Butler:

  • On 13 April 1903 at St Cross Church, Louisa Huggins (28) married Percival Ernest James (29), a widower who worked as a tailor in St Aldate's;
  • In the second quarter of 1906 in Bangor, Herbert Butler married Charlotte Elizabeth Bazley.
  • On 30 March 1907 at St Clement's Church, Harry Butler (38), who was still a college servant living with his parents at 7 Longwall Street, married his first cousin Lily Butler (34). She was the daughter of George Allnutt Butler, the Manciple of Hertford College, who lived at 17 Cowley Road.

In 1908 Charlie moved from Rugby to Reading, continuing to work for the Post Office. At the time of the 1911 census he was a single man of 27 boarding in two rooms at 34 Waylen Street, Reading. Meanwhile his parents, both now aged 67, were still living at 7 Longwall Street with two of their unmarried daughters: Kate (43) was an assistant at home, and May (37) was a drapery buyer. Their daughter Rose (29) was a hospital nurse at the Poplar & Stepney Sick Asylum in London, and their youngest son Arthur (20) had joined the army and was a Second Corporal in the Royal Engineers, in barracks at Headley, Hampshire.

In about 1911 Charlie joined the Warwickshire Yeomanry, which was a Territorial Force, as a part-time volunteer. He ceased to work for the Post Office in 1914.

Poppy Charlie Butler probably volunteered to serve soon after the outbreak of the First World War on 4 August 1914, and was a Corporal in the 1/1st Regiment of the Berkshire Yeomanry (Service No. 1606). He was killed in action at Gallipoli at the age of 30 on 21 August 1915.

He was buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey (grave ref. II.C.12). He is remembered on the Oxford Boys' High School war memorial and here on the St Peter-in-the-East Church war memorial, which is now on the wall of Balliol College Archives (the former St Cross Church). In 2015 his name was added to the new Trooper Potts VC Memorial that was set up outside the Crown Courts in Reading.

This report reveals that Charlie had been planning to get married:

News has been received that Corporal Charles Butler has been killed. Intimation was first received that he was wounded but afterwards the news came through that the worst had happened. Corporal Butler, whose home was at Oxford, had for some years been employed at Reading Post Office. He had been associated with the Yeomanry for some time and made a host of friends with whom he was very popular. He was shortly to have been married.

Charlie's three war medals sold for £140 at a DNW (Dix Noonan Webb) auction on 29 July 1992.

After the war

Charlie's parents

  • Henry Butler died at 7 Longwall Street in 1917 at the age of 73 and was buried on 10 May, probably in Holywell Cemetery (burial recorded in the register of St Peter-in-the-East Church).
  • Mrs Martha Anne Butler née Jones moved to 9 Iffley Road with her unmarried daughters Kate, May, and Rose. She died there in 1923 at the age of 79 and was buried with her husband on 24 November.

Charlie's siblings

  • Kate Butler (born 1867) never married. She remained in her mother's house at 9 Iffley Road with her younger sisters May and Rose and died there on 29 September 1942 at the age of 75. Her effects came to £2,729 0s. 2d., and her executor was the chartered accountant George Harry Butler, the son of her brother Harry.
  • Harry Butler (born 1869) was a college servant aged 42 in 1911, living at 17 Cowley Road with his widower father-in-law and uncle George Allnutt Butler (73), who was still working as a college manciple & cook. With Harry were his wife Lily (38) and their children Nora Allnutt Butler (2) and Mary Elizabeth Butler (1). Their son George Harry Butler was born near the beginning of 1912 and their daughter Sybil Phoebe Butler in 1915. Harry was still working as a college servant when he died at 17 Cowley Road on 26 November 1922. His effects came to £299 6s. 7d., and his executor was his wife Lily.
  • May Butler (born 1874) never married. She remained in her mother's house at 9 Iffley Road with her older sister Kate younger sister May, and died there on 7 February 1930 at the age of 56. Her effects came to £2,908 11s., and her executor was her sister Miss Louisa Butler.
  • Louisa [Butler] Huggins, Mrs James (born 1876) and her husband Percival, who was a tailor, was living at 14 Newton Road, Grandpont when their first child Francis Percival James was baptised at St Cross Church in 1904. They were living at 3 Norreys Avenue, Grandpont when daughter Jessie Louisa James was baptised there in 1906. They were at 24 Chilswell Road in Grandpont when their next child, Leslie Ernest James, was baptised at St Peter-le-Bailey Church in 1907. They were at the last address at the time of the 1911 census. Louisa died in Oxford at the age of 43 in 1919. She was buried on 22 May, probably in Holywell Cemetery, as her burial is recorded in the St Cross Church register.
  • Herbert Butler (born 1878) was a Quartermaster Sergeant in the Royal Engineers at the time of the 1911 census, living at 69 Cleave Road, Gillingham with his wife Charlotte and their children Dorothy Eleanor Butler (3) and Thomas Edward Butler (eight months). They appear to have had four more children: the first three were born in the Medway district, namely Constance (1911), John (1913), Charles (1916), and the last, Charles, born in Portsmouth in 1920. Herbert was living at 138 Divinity Road, Oxford when he died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 62 on 25 May 1941. His effects came to 31,256 13s. 6d., and his widow was his executor.
  • Rose Butler (born 1881) never married. She remained in her mother's house at 9 Iffley Road with her older sisters Kate and May and died there on 2 July 1947. Her effects came to £1,701 10s., and her executor was Thomas Edward Butler (her brother Herbert's son), who was now an electricity showroom manager.
  • Arthur Butler (born 1890) is hard to trace after 1911, when he was in the army.

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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