Private Alfred Butcher

Thank you to Jane Anthony for the following research.

Alfred Charles Butcher was born near Steyning Sussex in 1886.  His parents, Thomas and Frances both came from local families and Thomas was employed as an agricultural labourer. They had married at Thakenham Church in 1874 and had seven children.  Alfred was their third son.  Unfortunately Thomas died young in 1889 leaving his widow to bring up the family.

By 1901 Frances had remarried John Botting, who had also been born in Sussex.    Frances and John moved to Ockley together with three of her children Alfred, Charles and Alice.  John Botting was also an agricultural labourer and both Alfred, aged 15, and Charles 13 worked on the farm as a horse boy and carter’s boy respectively.  There was also and adopted daughter Violet aged 6 living with the family.

In August 1903, Alfred became a porter for London Transport working at Osterley Park Station. He was paid 18 shillings a week. His previous employer had been Sir A.H. Brown at Broome Hall, Coldharbour.  He was appointed due to the reopening of a signal box but the position did not last long and in the same November he was discharged due to staff reductions.

The 1911 census saw Alfred living and working as a porter at The Charing Cross Home in Limpsfield.  This was a convalescent home for those who had been patients at the Charing Cross Hospital in London.

It is not known when he left the Charing Cross Home, but it looks as if he joined the army prior to the outbreak of WW1.  He signed up in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guard at Ilford in Essex. At the outbreak of the war the Battalion was stationed at nearby Warley. 

The Battalion landed in France on 7th October 1914 and Private Alfred Butcher was killed in action just over a fortnight later on 23rd October.  The First Battle of Ypres stated on 19th October and as Alfred Butcher’s name is one of the thousands inscribed on the Menin Gate on Panel 9 and 11, it is likely that he perished in this battle and was one of the many soldiers whose body was never found.

Born Steyning, Sussex
Son of Thomas and Frances Butcher of Park Cottages, Beare Green
Regiment 1st Battalion. The Grenadier Guards
Number 13199
Date of Death 29th October 1914
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 29
Memorial Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium