Butler, Richard – always known as Dick

Dick

 

 

 

Richard Butler

1929

Birth: 29 November 1929, Whangarei, Northland, NZ.

Dick was born in Whangarei, Northland, NZ, the eldest of three boys on 29th November 1929.  When he was born, his father, Peter, was 32 and his mother, Mary, was 31.

1935

Education: St Joseph’s Convent, Whangarei, Northland, NZ.

1935 to 1942  St Joseph’s Covent, Whangarei, Northland, NZ.

1943

Education: St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, Wellington, NZ.

1943 to 1946  St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, Wellington, NZ.

1947

Work Life: 1947 – 1983

Cadet reporter, reporter and correspondent, “Northern Advocate”, Whangarei and Maungaturoto, Northland, NZ.

1958

Marriage: 18 January 1958, Whakapara, Northland, NZ

He married Gwen Forsyth on 18 January 1958. They had five children during their marriage – Maurice, Kerry, Kathy, Judy and Paul.

1969

Retired

Retired, aged 60.

1974

Notable Event

For his services to royalty, Mr Butler was vested a member of the Royal Victorian Order of the Queen in 1974.

1984

Work Life: 1984 to 1989

Journalist, Tourist & Publicity Department, Wellington, NZ. Media liaison officer involved with the Internal Affairs Special Visitors Branch, Wellington NZ.

1998

Death: 20 April 1998 Richard Butler

Dick died on 20 April 1998, in Whangarei at the age of 68.

BIOGRAPHY

Dick was born in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand, on 29th November 1929.  When Dick was born, his father, Cuthbert “Peter” Butler, was 32 years of age and his mother, Mary Butler (née Somner), 31.

Copy of Birth Notice – Northern Advocate30 November 1929

In his Birth Certificate, he is named Richard, but he never used the name, preferring to be known as Dick – and always was.
He was the eldest of three sons born to Peter and Mary.  The two younger boys were  – Norman John “Norm”  (20 August 1933) and Peter (11 July 1940).

According to the 1925 and 1928 Electoral Rolls, the family lived somewhere on Kamo Road, Whangarei and may still have been there when Dick was born.
They later moved to Jessie Street, Whangarei, New Zealand, which his parents bought from his maternal grandmother, Maria Somner in 1932. Maria had purchased the property three years earlier. The called the property “Wharepuke” which, before you ask, is Maori for “house on the hill”. The property which would then have been described as a farmlet shared a boundary with Mackesy Bush Reserve and was overlooked by Mount Parahaka, an old bush-clad volcanic cone that is a Whangarei landmark. Whether she moved there when she bought it or later when Dick’s parents moved, we do not know, but she certainly lived with them until at least 1935 and perhaps up to the time of her death in 1937.

“Wharepuke” – Jessie Street, Whangarei – Maria Somner, Mary and Dick (or Norm) on the veranda – c 1934

At a little over two acres, there was certainly room enough for Dick and I to roam free as well as for it to be run as a small poultry farm from which we sold eggs under the Wharepuke name. If it was required or not at that time, the eggs were individually rubber-stamped with an oval-shaped “Wharepuke” brand mark. It is likely that we also sold dressed poultry but, whether we did or not, one of my mother’s specialties, roast chicken with thyme and onion stuffing, appeared on our dinner plates on most Sundays.

As was the custom of the day, separate from the house was the gable-roofed “motor shed”, as it was then called, to house our black box-like Austin Seven.  Back then in New Zealand anyway, the term garage was used only for the place where you took your motor vehicle for service or repair.  As was not unusual Da did his own “grease and oil changes” and used the trench-like pit in the floor of the garage to do so.  When not in use, the pit was covered with what I remember as very oil-stained planks, that my brother and I were warned never to go near – but we did, of course.

Peter’s pride and joy that Austin Seven – with Mary at the wheel

Dick also had his first car, a rather handsome pedal car – on which I was allowed a ride from time to time.

Dick at the wheel – his view somewhat impeded by Norm on the bonnet – about 1937

Apart from roaming free, we also played “Cowboys and Indians” as boys did at the time and for which hand-made bows and arrows were essential.

Dick and Norm as Cowboys or Indians – about 1938

Dick Butler – Childhood Images

Both Dick and I attended St Joseph’s Convent while we were still living at Jessie Street, but I have no knowledge of how we got to school.  There certainly would not have been any school buses and, as it was too far to walk, I presume our father drove us there in the Austin.  Nor have I any memory of the Fancy Dress Party reported below, but if it was in the paper it must be right!

The “Northern Advocate’s” report on the “Fancy Dress Ball – 20 August 1938

The photo that follows is of all the school pupils in 1939 and was published in the “Northern Advocate” on 6 July 1993 announcing the planning of a forthcoming reunion :

St Joseph’s Convent, Whangarei – School Photo 1939
(Dick is kneeling in the front row – seventh from the left)

In January 1940, Dick was one of the fortunate 600 Northland children who were able, courtesy the Northern Advocate’s “Kupe Club NZ Centennial Exhibition Trip”,  to make a week-long visit to Wellington to view the Exhibition.  That the Trip was well organised is clearly evident from this excerpt from the “Sailing Instructions” published in the “Northern Advocate” on  9th January 1940:

The ‘Northern Advocate’s’ Centennial Exhibition Trip – Sailing Instructions

And, as the following clipping from the “Northern Advocate” of 2 April 1940, the trip was worthy of a report as far away as Britain:

A report on the Kupe Club’s trip to the Centennial Exhibition in the “Northern Advocate” – 2 April 1940

Another item from the “Northern Advocate” reports on Dick’s prize-winning scholastic achievements at St Joseph’s Convent in 1940:

The report on the Annual Prizegiving at St Joseph’s Convent Whangarei in the “Northern Advocate” – 18 December 1940

In July 1941, we moved closer to the centre of Whangarei, where my father built an office to accommodate his growing accounting and secretarial business. I daresay that it was no coincidence that this just happened to be conveniently next to our new home – and within walking distance of the primary school, Dick and his brothers attended.

There was great excitement in Whangarei in 1941 when it became the base for a remarkable salvage story – to recover gold from the “Niagara” sunk by German mines.  Although I cannot be sure how we managed it but both Dick and I somehow managed to get down to the wharf where the salvage ship “Claymore” was moored and watch as she was being prepared for the operation.  The salvage itself is quite famous and well-worth reading about.  But, we were there!

RMS Niagara
Image Credit: Australian Maritime Museum | Flickr| License

In 1942 Dick got his first bike. He didn’t keep it long, however, as having ridden down to the Whangarei wharf he somehow or other rode it over the edge of the wharf and broke his arm seriously enough to require a plate and pinning!!  The event was reported in the “Northern Advocate” of 27th April as follows:

The report of the accident in the “Northern Advocate” – 27 April 1942

I had always understood that he had hit an RNZN Patrol Boat on his way into the water but, given that it was wartime, “a small vessel” might have been a more secure description!  Anyway, this is what the Patrol Boat looked like.

A Royal New Zealand Navy Fairmile Patrol Boat
Image Credit: RNZN Communicators Association | Flickr| License

That the fracture was serious enough to need pinning was doubtless because of an earlier break that I found out about recently from my discovery of this report in the “Northern Advocate” of 19th March 1941.

The report of Dick’s first wrist fracture in the “Northern Advocate” – 19 March 1941

My bedroom at our Bank Street home faced the street and Dick’s was between mine and my parents whose bedroom was at the rear of the house. When grounded for whatever reason, Dick found my bedroom window a convenient, silent and secure exit and entrance when he was out “on-the-tiles” – or whatever!

All three of us completed our secondary education at St Patrick’s College in Silverstream. Thanks to the Archives there, we have copies of the school magazine, “The Blue & White” for the years we were there. Some of these make quite interesting reading, including this intriguing entry about Dick, from 1946:

“April 25th–Anzac Day. Uniforms: Solemn Requiem Mass at 9 am. Father Ward was the preacher. At the end of Mass, the Last Post was sounded by Brian Hasler. Football practice in the afternoon. Dick Butler has many enthusiastic helpers in his new hobby.”???

After leaving St Pat’s, Dick started with the “Northern Advocate” as a cadet reporter and continued to live at home. It was during this time that he also joined the St John’s Ambulance Service as a volunteer and got to drive the rather “posh” Austin Princess Vande Plas Ambulance.  I got to get a ride in it too, once, when Dick and his fellow “Ambo” were in Auckland having brought a patient down from Whangarei.

Sometime in 1950 Dick bought a semi-derelict 1934 6 cylinder Vauxhall car and rebuilt it.  He later drove it to Wellington and, after a few days catching up with friends there, picked me up at Silverstream for the return trip home.  I’m not sure what the route was or how long the trip took but, as one of the photos below will testify, we certainly drove over the Rimutaka ranges, which not being the usual route north must have been to prove his “rebuild” would make it.  We must have stayed with friends of his on the way home but apart from a vague recollection of a stop near Hamilton – and a party there – my memory banks are empty.

Work in Progress
At the top of the Rimutaka Range

Dick was still living at home in Kamo at this time and, I think, continued to do so until he went overseas, of which more, later.

There had been some thought that part of the Kamo property could be cultivated to grow vegetables and, to this end, this Trusty Tractor was bought.

Our trusty “Trusty” tractor

I don’t think the market garden idea ever came to fruition, but I do have clear memories of Dick ploughing and harrowing “the top paddock” with the trusty “Trusty”!

In 1953 Dick took some time off or was granted leave of absence from the “Advocate” to travel overseas and left on the “Rangitane” from Wellington, arriving in Southampton on 3 November.

Copy of Dick’s entry in the Rangitane’s Passenger List

He entered 7 Duart Avenue, Prestwick, Scotland, the address of his Uncle Richard Jago Butler as his proposed address in the United Kingdom.  As a sad aside, Richard J. died of a heart attack less than twelve months later.

I had assumed that he and Gwen Forsyth, a nurse from Whangarei, who he was later to marry, travelled together to England.  Gwen, however, did not arrive until August 1955, travelling on the “Rangitiki”  also from Wellington.

Copy of Gwen’s entry in the Rangitiki’s Passenger List

Stories of their time in the UK and Europe to come as and when I can…

A significant event at the Centennial Highland Games in 1953 was the opening of a “House of Memories” – now known as the Waipu Museum – and where is found the following family item originally left to my mother by her great-grandfather, Francis Somner, and passed on to the Museum by Dick.

Medal won by Francis Somner for Stack Ventilator, Perth Scotland Show 1852
Haystack Ventilator

And what is a stack ventilator, you ask? Well, not having seen or heard of such a thing, I deduced from its name that it was a device for cutting holes in a haystack to cool it down and prevent spontaneous combustion. And, what’s more, I found a photo to prove it.

How wrong was I? What Francis had invented was a little more complex than just a simple hole cutter.  In fact, on the 7th April 1852, he registered the design of his “Stack or Rick Ventilator” with the UK Designs Office.

And, courtesy, the UK National Archives, this is a copy of that registered design:

Design of Stack or Rick Ventilator Reg No: 3206, 7th April 1852

Dick married Gwenyth “Gwen” Julia  Forsyth at Whakapara, Northland on 18th January 1958.

Whakapara Hall – 1960s

The reception in the Whakapara Hall was what I assume must have been a traditional country one.  The men gathered around a keg – or more – of beer in the basement while their wives, mothers, and daughters shared cups of tea upstairs in the hall proper.

I do not recall there being a wedding breakfast as such but there was no shortage of “eats” on trestle tables on one side of the Hall.  My recollection is of the friendliest gathering of family, friends and neighbours imaginable with little if anything in the way of formalities.  In fact, the only clear recollection I have is of Dick and Gwen leading the dancing with Bridal Waltz, whereupon they were joined by couples of men and women, women and women and children of all ages.  It was a truly happy occasion.

“Ths Valley in the Hills” Cover Image

During his 17 years with the “Advocate”, he honed his journalistic skills both in Whangarei and, for a time, as the rural correspondent for the Kaipara district. Here, commissioned by the Maungaturoto Centennial Association, he wrote This Valley In The Hills, to celebrate the centennial of Maungaturoto.  Although long out of print, it is still available through libraries both in New Zealand and Australia.

In 1966 he joined the NZ Government’s Tourist & Publicity Department as a Media Liaison Officer initially in Auckland but later in the capital, Wellington.  One of his personal responsibilities was to provide media liaison for distinguished visitors, including the British Royals who visited many times during his 23 years’ service.
During the 1983 tour by Charles, Diana and Prince William, he was to become the centre of media attention himself because he introduced a truck with tiered platforms to transport photographers speedily from place to place. It was dubbed, appropriately enough, the Dickmobile.
He was one of a select band of people who received an honour from the Queen at her personal request. For his services to the family, she made him a Member of the Victoria Order in 1974 and promoted him within the order in 1981.

During the Royal visit of Charles, Diana and William in 1983 Dick rated a mention in Hansard, as you’ll read here:

Extract from Hansard – New Zealand Parliamentary Debates Vol 450 21st April 1983

I have yet to find the Dominion article quoted, but I’ll keep looking.

In mid-December 1997 we had a letter from Dick to let us know that Gwen had been diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier in the year. Despite surgery it had spread to her liver and was inoperable.
Having been told that she was not expected to live until Christmas the planned family Christmas gathering was brought forward. As a result, their children, Kerry, Paul and Kathy flew in from overseas to join Maurice and Judy for a mid-November family Christmas celebration, the first time they had all been together since 1981. Gwen passed away on Christmas Day.

Regrettably but not unexpectedly, Dick did not survive her long, dying of a heart attack on 20th April 1998. I flew over for the funeral and was touched to be asked to deliver a funeral reading. This I did even if a deal more nervously than I had hoped, though if anybody noticed they were too kind to mention it.

LOCATIONS

Electoral Roll Data

PICTURE GALLERY

This an early photo of Dick, probably taken in 1932 or 1933:

Dick – Undated but perhaps 1931 or 1932
Dick – with adopted Nana Mayhead – Undated but perhaps 1931 or 1932

Childhood Images

Norm, Peter, Dick probably in the late 1940s or early 1950s
Doubtless in his youth – perhaps 1950s

DOCUMENTATION

Obituaries

“The Evening Post”, 7 May 1998, Edition 3, Page 5.

By: Ewan Audrey

Respected media minder for kings, queens and jokers.

Richard (Dick) Butler, State media liaison officer: B Whangarei, November 11, 1929; ed St Patrick’s College, Silverstream; m 1958 Gwen Forsyth 3s 2d; d Whangarei, April 20, 1998.

Keeping an eye on the media when they’re chasing Royalty is not a job for the faint-hearted.

Dick Butler was not faint of heart, and he knew how to keep bolshie press photographers in line.

During the 1983 tour by Charles, Diana and Prince William, he was to become the centre of media attention himself because he introduced a truck with tiered platforms to transport photographers speedily from place to place.

It was dubbed the Dickmobile, which he took in good humour.

Butler was on chatting terms with several Royal families, prime ministers and presidents.

His favourites were the British Royals who visited many times during the 23 years he was involved with media liaison for distinguished visitors.

He was to have a little difference of opinion with Princess Anne over the number of times he helped with her tours. He thought it was four; she thought it was five. They sat down and worked it out, and she was right. He hadn’t included a half-hour stopover when she was on her way home from visiting Kiribati.

Prince Edward tried a prank on him once, and it worked well. He put his arm in a sling as he returned to Timaru from Mt Peel Station, and said it was worth it just to see the horrified look on Butler’s face. She made him a member of the Victoria Order in 1974, and promoted him within the order in 1981.

During his varied career, Butler worked as an ambulance driver and as a journalist on the Northern Advocate and for the Tourist and Publicity Department’s information and publicity services where he relieved as a ministerial press secretary on several occasions. He was chief information officer for Civil Defence for three years.

He wrote This Valley In The Hills, to celebrate the centennial of Maungaturoto and was particularly interested in historical research on Maori settlements in Northland.

When Butler retired in 1989 he returned to Northland where he alternated between his home in Whangarei and a holiday place at Cable Bay. In earlier days he worked with Jaycees, scouts and guides and participated in many sports. He was a rugby referee for 15 years.

Recent tragic events took a toll on him. His wife died on Christmas Day and a grandson was then killed when hit by a train on his way to school. He died suddenly as he was packing his bag for trip to Cable Bay.

“The Northern Advocate”, Whangarei. NZ.

Journalist whom prince chauffeured dies.

A former Northern Advocate reporter who was once chauffeured by royalty has died suddenly.

Dick Butler, 68, of Whangarei, began his working career in 1947 at the Advocate. He became a media liaison officer involved with the Internal Affairs Special Visitors Branch from 1984 to 1989.

He died at his Whangarei home on April 20.

Mr Butler’s latter career involved frequent contact with the British royal family.

He was involved as media liaison officer with four royal visits, although he once recounted in a national magazine a conversation with Princess Anne in which she maintained it was five.

In the end I said, hang on, let’s look at this. And it appeared she’d counted a half hour stopover on her way back from Kiribati’s independence celebrations as a visit? Mr Butler was reported as saying.

A keen fisherman and sportsman, Mr Butler is survived by his children Kathryn Butler, Judy Ward, Maurice, Kerry, and Paul Butler. Mr Butler’s wife, Gwen, died last year.

Mrs Ward said her father who retired in 1989, used to recall various anecdotes from his career.

One incident in particular in the late 1960s stood out – an occasion when royalty decided to chauffeur Mr Butler instead of vice-versa.

Mrs Ward said the royal in question was Prince Edward, who was teaching at Wanganui Collegiate at the time. The prince decided it was time he drove Mr Butler about. On alighting from the car’s driver seat, Prince Edward duly opened Mr Butler’s door and fetched his luggage.

Mr Butler used to recall the prince as being? really down-to-earth? Mrs Ward said.

Mr Butler’s royal contact was the culmination of a career which included stints overseas and time as a senior press officer for government departments in the northern North Island.

For his services to royalty, Mr Butler was vested a member of the Royal Victorian Order of the Queen in 1974 and a lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order following a 1981 royal visit.

He will be remembered for the “Dickmobile”- a mobile platform he devised to allow photographers to get about without annoying crowds. – By Audrey Ewan

Copy of letter to “Northern Advocate” following the publication of Dick’s Obituary

Other published material about Dick

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, 15 Jan 1990

Other published material by Dick

Title This Valley in the Hills: The Story of Maungaturoto, Brynderwyn, Bickerstaffe, Batley, Marohemo, Whakapirau
Compiled by Dick Butler
Publisher Maungaturoto Centennial Association, 1963
Length 383 pages

The introduction to this book describes it as “our tribute to the memory of our forefathers. to the early settlers of the district, who came not knowing what the future would hold, with prospects and markets uncertain, but armed with courage, determination and the will to win through.” To mark the centennial of the advent of those early settlers this fine history was produced and tells the story of the people who laid the foundations of the township of Maungaturoto and the surrounding localities of Brenderwyn, Bickerstaffe, Batley, Marohemo and Whakapirau.
Compiled by Dick Butler for the District Centennial Association it provides a comprehensive account of the many stages in the development of the district, beginning with a chapter on the pre-European Maori tribes of the area, first encounters with the European Missionaries from the 1820s, followed by permanent settlers from the 1860s. The story continues by covering all important aspects of development including the troubles that occurred between Maori and the colonials, land purchases in the district, the Kauri timber days, the gradual development of the area becoming an important dairy farming centre, local government and civic organisations, education, transport and communications and the community and sporting groups that paralleled the achievement of commercial, industrial and economic progress. To a large extent the evolution from pioneering to established community was similar to that in other parts of NZ, but throughout this record there are indications that “this valley in the hills” was always a close-knit, caring and progressive society.

The book is available in several libraries including the NZ National Library and has the following link to Rootsweb at Ancestry: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzwlsfhs/valley.html

ANCESTORS

Richard "Dick" Butler
b: 29 Nov 1929
d: 20 Apr 1998
Biography
See attached sources.
Facts
  • 29 Nov 1929 - Birth - ; Whangarei, New Zealand
  • 20 Apr 1998 - Death - ; Whangarei, New Zealand
Ancestors
   
Richard Jago Butler
11 Dec 1848 - 4 Mar 1931
 
 
Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
24 Mar 1897 - 25 Jan 1972
  
  
  
Elizabeth Ann Greetham
1 Oct 1859 - 19 Aug 1902
 
Richard "Dick" Butler
29 Nov 1929 - 20 Apr 1998
  
 
  
Francis Somner
1 Nov 1860 - 31 Jul 1939
 
 
Mary Somner
28 Oct 1898 - 13 Aug 1989
  
  
  
Maria Campbell
Abt 1862 - 25 Oct 1937
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972 Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherRichard Jago Butler
MotherElizabeth Ann Greetham
PARENT (F) Mary Somner
Birth28 Oct 1898Waipu, New Zealand
Death13 Aug 1989 Kamo Home, Kamo, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Cuthbert "Peter" Butler at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherFrancis Somner
MotherMaria Campbell
CHILDREN
MNorman John "Norm" Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Carol Anne Wendy Scott
Marriageto Patricia Anne Barnes
MRichard "Dick" Butler
Birth29 Nov 1929Whangarei, New Zealand
Death20 Apr 1998Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage18 Jan 1958to Gwenyth Julia Forsyth
MPeter Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Sue Fendley
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Richard "Dick" Butler
Birth29 Nov 1929Whangarei, New Zealand
Death20 Apr 1998 Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage18 Jan 1958to Gwenyth Julia Forsyth
FatherCuthbert "Peter" Butler
MotherMary Somner
PARENT (F) Gwenyth Julia Forsyth
Birth15 Apr 1931Whangarei, New Zealand
Death25 Dec 1997 Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage18 Jan 1958to Richard "Dick" Butler
FatherRobert Samuel Forsyth
MotherJohanna Matheson
CHILDREN
MMaurice Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Susan Leslie Purchase
MKerry Butler
Birth
Death
MPaul Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Carola Koster
FKathryn Joan Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Ian Dobson
Marriageto Stephen Greg Udell
FJudith Mary Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Martin Ward
Evidence
[S5]Private Family Reseach
Descendancy Chart
EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

 

Butler, Wilfred Joseph

Wilfred Joseph Butler

Wilfred Joseph Butler

1911

Birth: 12th February 1895 Wilfred Joseph Butler

Wilfred was born on 12 February 1895 in Croydon, Surrey, England, the fourth of five children, Richard, Rose, Edward, Wilfred and Peter. When he was born, his father, Richard, was 46 and his mother, Elizabeth, was 35.

1913

Emigration: 19th April 1913 Wilfred Joseph Butler

Wilfred emigrated to Canada with the intention of farming there.

1916

Military Service: 15th Jun 1916 Wilfred Joseph Butler

Wilfred enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force with which he served in both Europe and Canada.

1924

Death: 12th July 1924 Wilfred Joseph Butler

Wilfred Joseph Butler died on 12 July 1924 in Kenora, Ontario, Canada, as the result of an accident at Backus Brooks Mill in Kenora.

BIOGRAPHY

Wilfred, like his younger brother, Peter, was born into a relatively affluent family.  At the time of his birth, his father had risen to become Chief Engineer Inspector of Machinery with the Admiralty – and was later to rise higher.  As such, the family lived in some style at “Brinscall” a substantial house opposite Mayow Gardens in Lewisham, Sydenham in London.

“Brinscall” – 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham
“Brinscall” was located quite near Mayow Park, Sydenham picture in this postcard from my father’s collection from this time.

At the time of the 1901 census, it was quite a large household and, apart from the family, included two servants one of whom was a nursemaid/domestic by the name of Louisa Devey.  The name Louisa comes up a number of times in the collection of postcards I hold, but by the 1911 census we find another Louisa, but whose surname was Worsley. Peter talked to me about having a “nanny” and recalled that she brought him and his older brother Wilfred downstairs to be “inspected” by their father before dinner.  I could not help but get the impression that it was very much a “children should be seen but not heard” sort of household.

His mother Elizabeth died in 1902 when she was only 42. Wilfred was just 7 years of age.  According to her Death Certificate, granular kidney is given as the cause, a condition she had suffered for 10 years. 

In December of the same year Wilfred’s grandmother Jane Butler passed away at his uncle William’s house in Devonport in Devon, where she had lived for a number of years. She was 93.

I had understood from my father that Peter and his brothers had all been sent to school in Belgium at an early age, but as his older school-age brother Edward was still at home at the time of the Census in 1901 this does not seem to have been the case.  Perhaps the decision, later, to send Wilfred and Peter to school in Belgium resulted from their father’s improving financial circumstances.  His eldest brother Richard who was shown in the Census as a mechanical engineer’s pupil later became almost as renowned a Marine Engineer as his father.

Wilfred’s father Richard remarried in  1907 Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell who according to the 1901 Census was a near neighbour in Mayow Road.  Ethel was aged 38 and had never married. Richard was 50.

From his Canadian Expeditionary Force records, of which more later, we learnt that he suffered from a bout of typhoid fever when he was nine which may explain how “poorly” he looks in some of the photographs we have of him.

Wilfred and Peter – 1906
Saint Francis-Xaverius Institute Bruges, Belgium

No record exists of Wilfred’s early education but he may have attended the Whitgift Public School in Croydon as his younger brother Peter did.
They later were both sent to boarding school in Belgium, the Saint Francis-Xaverius Institute in Bruges, to complete their education.
Although the dates of his attendance there are unknown, we do have a copy of a postcard dated 12 Feb 1907 his step-mother-to-be  Ethel sent to him, with the following message:

“Dear Wilfrid, I sent you a Calendar Blotter this week which I think you will find more useful than postcards. Every letter you send is forwarded to Mittie & she hands them on to May, so you see they are well read!! Father put £1.0.0 into your Bank Book as usual on 12th Feb. This postcard is soon printed. Parliament was only opened on 12th & in heavy rain. The mackintoshes spoil the effect.”

On the front of the postcard, she added  “Best love to Peter”.

In these days of real-time communication, it’s hard to believe that over 100 years ago this postcard of the Royal Procession for the Opening of Parliament was printed and posted on that very day.

As can be seen from the following postcard to both Wilfred and Peter, someone who showed a particular fondness for them both was Ethel’s niece, Hildegarde Slock-Cottell “Hilda”.

With best Easter wishes from Hilda – 17 April 1908
Wilfred – Undated but probably around 1910

I can find no record of Wilfred in the UK Census of 1911, so I presume he may still have be finishing his schooling in Belgium.

When writing about Peter, I had thought that he was the only one of the boys to have any interest in farming.  It appears now, however, that Wilfred was too. In any event, on 19th April 1913 (only two months after Peter left for New Zealand), we find him travelling to Canada.

RMS Teutonic – White Star Line / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

According to the Passenger List of the RMS Teutonic on which he travelled, his intended occupation there was  “farming at present”.  Interestingly, he is also said to have worked on a farm previously – something I didn’t know.
But, from this extract from a postcard his stepmother Ethel sent to Peter in July 1912,  it seems he too had a practical introduction to farming:

 “Wilf goes off on Monday to a farm near Southampton. I take him down. He will soon learn what work is if he never learnt before.”

At this point, after what seemed innumerable searches of both Canadian and UK records, I had almost made up my mind that the trail was too cold.  This changed, however, on receipt of what has turned out to be a treasure-trove of photographs in an old family album uncovered by my niece, Judy Ward-Butler.  Amongst these are a number of Wilfred – including this very indistinct one of him in uniform with his brother, Richard and wife, Christina.

Richard, Christina and Wilfred
London, 1919

Little did I realise how much I was to learn about Wilfred just from this single photo.
Now that I knew that he had served at some time during World War I and knowing how good the military records are, I believed I would track him down in no time at all.  How wrong I was.  I could find no record of his being in the British Army at all.
At which point I finally decided that I needed some help and enlisted (no pun intended) Google’s help.  After a number of false starts, I finally found “Doing my Bit” a website focussing specifically on Military and Family History Research.   Anyway, to make a short story no longer than it ought to be, within two days I had this answer to my plea for help:

“Thanks very much for the photo, the large insignia is difficult to make out but when I get home later today I will check my reference books to see if I can find something that might match.
What I can tell you is that this Corporal served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He’s wearing a 7-button tunic with stand up collar and what appears to be a maple leaf on his collar. He’s also wearing a single wound stripe just above his left cuff. This would date the photo to no earlier than 1916 and so 1919 might be accurate.”

Although, my “Doing my Bit” benefactor, Steven Clifford, hadn’t been able to trace a Wilfred Butler, his confidence that he had served in the CEF was enough to put me on the right track again.  Anyway, after trawling through what appeared to be hundreds of Butlers on Canada’s excellent WWI Personnel Records database, I found one with the right birth date – who, for whatever reason, had signed on as “John”.
And that there is no doubt that he is our Wilfred is confirmed by the details of his birthplace and next-of-kin in the copy of his Attestation Paper below:

Copy of Page 1 of “John” Butler’s CEF Attestation Paper

But the Attestation Paper is only one of the wealth of documents that make up his  Service Record ( all 118 pages of it) from which I’ve been able to glean more than just his time in the services.

As shown on his Attestation Paper, Wilfred enlisted on 15th June 1916 at a time when not surprisingly the flow of volunteers in Canada had virtually dried up and the prospect of conscription loomed.  But, unlike many young French-Canadians who saw the conflict differently, enlist he did.   According to his service record, he was employed as an engineer at the Muskoka Cottage Sanitorium in Toronto prior to his enlistment, so perhaps ” his family’s engineering gene” out-ranked his farming one.

I wonder, too, whether he was assigned to the #1 Construction Batallion because he had given his occupation as a “Stationary Engineer”? Although there is no record of his having completed any formal training in engineering, his experience was such as to qualify him for at least one engineering role after the war.

In the brief record that follows, Wilfred is shown as joining the CRT (Canadian Railway Troops) in September 1917.  In my ignorance, I hadn’t known that there was such a unit or realised the contribution they made or the number of men involved.  In fact, at war’s end, it comprised 19,000 personnel who had built 1880 kilometres of broad gauge railway line and 2275 kilometres of narrow gauge line during their wartime service.  I am grateful to Bruce F. MacDonald for this information garnered from the comprehensive account of the unit he published in his article “Canadian Railway Troops” to be found at this website CRT, and highly recommend it.

But back to his record, from which I have been able to compile the brief timeline of his service with the CEF that is shown below.  From that, it transpires that his 6 months of active service in France was interspersed with some 18 months in England, primarily in hospitals where he was treated for ongoing respiratory problems as well as a serious wounding in September 1917.
And in the end, it was his respiratory condition that led to him being invalided back to Canada in September 1918 and where he spent the next two years – also in a hospital as either a patient or an orderly.
He was formally discharged on 31st October 1920.

Summary of CEF Service – John Butler

Although a couple of the reports in his record suggest that his medical condition was related to his military service I can find no mention of an invalidity pension of any form.

But of all the papers, the one that I found surprising – and intriguing – was, as you will read, the change of address of his “Intended place of residence” in the “Proceedings on Discharge” section.

Copy of Page 1 of CEF “Proceedings of Discharge” Form – John Butler

Initially, this was given as The Pines, Paparoa, Auckland, New Zealand, which was where my father, Peter, lived and farmed at the time.  Peter had made no mention of any such partnership arrangement if that is what it was to be, but perhaps he just didn’t want to talk about what I assume must have been a great disappointment to him.  As you may remember from Peter’s post, he travelled to and through Canada on his way back to New Zealand from his visit to England in 1920.  Could he, either on his own behalf or that of his family, have made the trip to dissuade John from what he eventually did.

And what was that, you ask?

Well, in at least two of the papers included in John’s Record of Service he gives his address variously as 191 Palmerston Avenue, Toronto; 69 Hazelton Avenue Toronto; or PO Box 609, Kenora, Ontario – one of which, the Palmerston Avenue address, is the one used on the Discharge paper.
The addresses meant nothing to me – not least because they were just that – addresses. But having got this far in the quest, I wasn’t about to let the trail go cold again.  Having had no success at all in finding him in the 1921 Census – and I still haven’t – I tried looking at death records, prompted to some extent by the handwritten “Deceased” entry on his Discharge form.
And, yes, I did find a Butler who died on that day in a terrible accident in a paper Mill in Kenora, Toronto,  but, according to the newspaper report of the accident, his name was Stanley Butler and his mother’s name was Mrs James Russell – who with his stepfather lived close by. The report of the Coroner’s Findings was no help either, other than to add to my confusion about his name by recording it as Stanley Joseph.

So, says Norm, it couldn’t possibly be him.

How wrong was I?  In a Toronto Street Directory of 1921, I found that 191 Palmerston Avenue was occupied by a Jas. Russell and that, in the following year, 69 Hazelton Street was occupied by yet another Jas. Russell.  But the clincher was to find a copy of his Veteran Death Card (shown below) that confirmed that Wilfred Joseph and John (or Stanley) was the same person.

 

Copy of Veterans Death Card – John Butler. These records were kept by the Canadian Government in Ottawa at Tunney’s Pasture (a Government-owned site) that was originally a “farm”, so records from this site were stamped “Farm Records”.

In the absence of any record in the 1921 Census of Wilfred, further exploration of the Toronto Directories seemed called for and turned out to be justified.  From these, I learned that Wilfred (aka Stanley) lived and worked in Toronto in 1923 and 1924 as an Engineer at the Toronto Hospital for Incurables.   In 1924 he moved to 69 Hazelton Avenue, an address he shared with James and a William Russell, who I later learned was James’ eldest child.  According to the Directories, William worked as a Pressman with one of Toronto’s daily newspapers, “The Evening Telegram” from 1922 and was still with them as late as 1953.
James who was living at 191 Palmerston Avenue in 1920, moved to 288 Garden Avenue in  1921 and to 69 Hazelton Avenue in 1924.  And it was this address that was given in the newspaper article reporting Wilfred’s death.  In the Directories, James occupation is shown as a labourer from 1922 to 1924 and as an Elevator Operator for “Ideal Bread” from 1925 to 1928.  Both James and William moved to 488 Bloor Avenue in 1928.
Mrs Russell doesn’t rate an entry in any of the Directories but presumably, she was with James wherever he lived.

In the end, it was the Garden Avenue address that provided the link I needed to identify “Wilfred’s” Russell family in the 1921 Census.  From this I discovered that James and Barbara (nee Barrowman) were both born in Lanarkshire in Scotland, married there in 1903 and had two sons, William and John before emigrating to Canada in 1911.  Their first daughter, Jennie was born soon after their arrival in Toronto in 1911 and Agnes in 1914.

A copy of the transcribed entries from the 1921 Census appears under Evidence below.

The elder son, William, married a Toronto girl, Daisy Forbes, in 1927 and continued to live there whereas the rest of the family moved to the United States in 1929.  According to the US Federal Census of 1930, they rented a property in Manhattan.  Whereas James’ occupation is recorded as an elevator operator (as it had been in Toronto) the three children had become involved in the theatre, Jennie and Agnes being recorded as actresses and John as an usher.  I wonder whether the girls learned their craft in Toronto and then, at what must have been the height of the Great Depression, opted to try their luck “on Broadway”!

A copy of the transcribed entries from the 1930 Census appears under Evidence below.

Satisfying as it has been to be able to identify the family that befriended Wilfred and confirm that Barbara Russell could not have been his biological mother, questions still remain that I doubt I’ll ever get answers to.  Some of which are:

Why did Wilfred decide to use another given name?
What led him to change the intended place of residence on his discharge papers and not travel to New Zealand?
How and when did he meet the Russell family?
What led him to adopt Barbara Russell as his mother?

But for now, other than one last photograph, that’ll just have to do for Wilfred Joseph Butler.  An intriguing but ultimately sad tale.

The gravestone marking Stanley WJ Butler’s burial place in the Lake of Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario, Canada.

ANECDOTES & STORIES

LOCATIONS

Census Data – Edward Butler

PICTURE GALLERY

Wilfred in an Officer-like Trench Coat – Undated

DOCUMENTATION

ANCESTORS

Wilfred Joseph Butler
b: 12 Feb 1895
d:
Biography
Certified copy of Birth Certificate (dated 3 March 2005) held.
Facts
  • 12 Feb 1895 - Birth - ; 10 Bartley Road, Croydon, Surrey, England
  • 1901 - Census - ; 91 Mayow Road Lewisham London England
  • Death - Y
Ancestors
   
Stephen Butler
- 26 Jun 1863
 
 
Richard Jago Butler
11 Dec 1848 - 4 Mar 1931
  
  
  
Jane Jago
1809 - 18 Nov 1902
 
Wilfred Joseph Butler
12 Feb 1895 -
  
 
  
Peter Greetham
20 Sep 1830 - 21 Apr 1883
 
 
Elizabeth Ann Greetham
1 Oct 1859 - 19 Aug 1902
  
  
  
Rosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
Abt 1837 - 30 May 1883
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Elizabeth Ann Greetham
Birth1 Oct 185922 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
Death19 Aug 1902 Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Richard Jago Butler at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherPeter Greetham
MotherRosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
CHILDREN
FRose Greetham Butler
Birth15 Apr 188126 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death23 Mar 1954Victoria Hospital, Deal, Kent, England
Marriage18 Oct 1906to Reginald Francis Butler at ChristChurch Parish Church, Ealing, Middlesex, England
MEdward Butler
Birth6 Apr 1888Battersea, Surrey, England
Death
MWilfred Joseph Butler
Birth12 Feb 189510 Bartley Road, Croydon, Surrey, England
Death
MCuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth16 Feb 188027 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death5 Sep 1956Duart Avenue, Prestwick, Scotland
Marriage4 Jun 1907to Christina Edith Whereat at The Church of the Sacred Heart, Norton Road, Hove, Sussex, England

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Copy of Birth Certificate – Wilfred Joseph Butler
Transcript of Passenger List – RMS Teutonic
Copy of CEF Discharge Certificate – John Butler
Transcript of 1921 Census of Canada – Russell Family, 288 Garden Avenue, Toronto., Ontario
Newspaper Report of 16th July 1924 on Accident involving Stanley Butler – Credit: “Kenora Miner and News”
Copy of Report of Coroner’s Findings – Stanley Joseph Butler
Transcript of 1930 United States Federal Census – Russell Family, West 144 Street, Manhattan, New York, USA

Cottell, Ethel Emily Northcott

Ethel Butler – 1924

Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell

1869

Birth: 23rd July 1869 Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell

Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell was born on 23rd January 1869 in Tottenham, Middlesex, to Fanny Northcott, age 39, and Charles George Cottell, age 52.

1907

Marriage: 9th July 1907 Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell and Richard Jago Butler

Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell married Richard Jago Butler on 9th July 1907 when she was 38 years old.

1940

Death: 5th April 1940 Ethel Emily Northcott Butler

Ethel Emily Northcott Butler died on 5th April 1940 in London, London, when she was 71 years old.

BIOGRAPHY

When Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell was born on 23rd January 1869 in Tottenham, Middlesex, her father, Charles, was 52, and her mother, Fanny, was 39. She married Richard Jago Butler on 9th July 1907. She died on 5th April 1940 in London, London, at the age of 71.

Her father Charles George passed away in October 1888 at the age of 71.

According to the 1891 Census, Ethel was “living on her own means” at Imaness House, St Michael’s Road, Holdenhurst, Christchurch, Hampshire.   I can find no trace of the property now, but the number of occupants living there suggests that it was a Boarding or Guest House.

By the 1901 Census, Ethel had returned to London and was living with her mother, Fanny Cottell, at “Kingsdown” Mayow Road, Lewisham.

Ethel with her mother Fanny Cottell

Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell married Richard Jago Butler on 9th July 1907 when she was 38 years old.

Following their marriage, the couple lived at “Brinscall”, 91 Mayow Road. Lewisham, quite close to where Ethel had lived previously.

“Brinscall”, 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham

These are the only photos I have of the couple.
Although the “At home” one was not dated, the “en promenade” one was dated on the photo itself as “July 1924”.

Ethel and Richard – “At home”
Ethel and Richard – Out Walking – July 1924

Her sister Fanny Marie died on 18th July 1917 when Ethel Emily Northcott was 48 years old.

Her husband Richard Jago passed away on 4th March 1931 in London, London, at the age of 82. They had been married for 23 years.

In the 1939 Register taken on 29 September, Ethel was a guest at the Mitre Hotel, Oxford.  She was only to live another four months.
As an aside, Pat and I had a “posh” morning tea at the Mitre Hotel when we visited Oxford as part of our first trip to England in the late 1970s.

Ethel Emily Northcott Butler died on 5th April 1940 in London, when she was 71 years old.
From her Death Certificate, I learned that the Hildegarde Stock mentioned in Richard Jago’s biography was, in fact, Ethel’s niece and, with Rose Greetham Butler (Peter’s sister), an executor of Ethel’s will.  A copy of the Will is included in the Evidence section.

Ethel was buried in what I assume was the Cottell family plot at Ladywell Cemetery, Lewisham, London, on 10th April 1940.

ANECDOTES & STORIES

LOCATIONS

Census Data – Ethel Emily Northcott Butler (née Cottell)

Maps or photos

PICTURE GALLERY

DOCUMENTATION

ANCESTORS

 
Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
b: 23 Jan 1869
d: 5 Apr 1940
Biography
Certified copy of Birth Certificate (dated 8 October 2007) held.(Medical):Certied copy of Death Certificate ( dated 2 April 2005) held.
Facts
  • 23 Jan 1869 - Birth - ; Grove Lodge, High Road, Tottenham, Middlesex, England
  • 5 Apr 1940 - Death - ; Kensington South, London, England
Ancestors
   
 
 
Charles George Cottell
Abt 1817 - Oct 1888
  
  
  
?
 
Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
23 Jan 1869 - 5 Apr 1940
  
 
  
 
 
Fanny Northcott
Abt 1830 -
  
  
  
?
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Charles George Cottell
BirthAbt 1817London, England
DeathOct 1888
Marriage3 May 1849to Fanny Northcott at Parish Church, Ashburton, Surrey, England
FatherJohn Cottell
Mother?
PARENT (F) Fanny Northcott
BirthAbt 1830Bickington, Devon, England
Death
Marriage3 May 1849to Charles George Cottell at Parish Church, Ashburton, Surrey, England
FatherWilliam Northcott
Mother?
CHILDREN
FEthel Emily Northcott Cottell
Birth23 Jan 1869Grove Lodge, High Road, Tottenham, Middlesex, England
Death5 Apr 1940Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Richard Jago Butler at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
FFanny Marie Cottell
BirthAbt 1854London, England
Death18 Jul 1917
Marriageto Rodolphe Slock-Cottell
FKate Lawrence Cottell
BirthAbt 1857London, England
Death
MFred Thomas Cottell
BirthAbt 1862Edmonton, Middlesex, England
Death
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
Birth23 Jan 1869Grove Lodge, High Road, Tottenham, Middlesex, England
Death5 Apr 1940 Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Richard Jago Butler at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
FatherCharles George Cottell
MotherFanny Northcott
CHILDREN
Descendancy Chart
Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell b: 23 Jan 1869 d: 5 Apr 1940
Richard Jago Butler b: 11 Dec 1848 d: 4 Mar 1931

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Copy of Birth Certificate – Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
Copy of Marriage Certificate – Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell and Richard Jago Butler
Copy of Death Certificate – Ethel Emily Northcott Butler
Copy of Burial Register – Ladywell Cemetery, Lewisham

Will – Ethel Emily Northcott Butler

Greetham, Elizabeth Ann

Elizabeth Ann Greetham

1859

Birth: 1st October 1859 Elizabeth Ann Greetham

Elizabeth Ann Greetham was born on 1st October 1859 in Woolwich, Kent.  Her father Peter was 29 and mother Rosina 22.

1879

Marriage: 13th December 1879 Elizabeth Ann Greetham and Richard Jago Butler

Elizabeth Ann Greetham married Richard Jago Butler in Battersea, Surrey, on 13th December 1879.  She was 20 years of age, Richard was 31.

1902

Death: 19th August 1902 Elizabeth Ann Butler

Richard Jago Butler’s Wife, Elizabeth Ann, passed away on 19th August 1902 at the age of 42.  They had been married 22 years.

BIOGRAPHY

Elizabeth Ann was born into a “right royal” naval family in Woolwich, Kent, to Rosina (“Rose”) Ann Nibbs and Peter Greetham on 1st October 1859.
When Elizabeth was born, her father, Peter was 29 and her mother, Rosina, 22.
She was the eldest child and only daughter of the four children born to Peter and Rosina.

I have no knowledge of her childhood years or education but it seems likely that she lived at home until she was a young adult.

Elizabeth’s brother, Charles Tyldesley Downey Greetham, was born on 31st January 1867 in Portsea, Hampshire when she was 7 years old.

According to the 1871 Census, the family was living at Princes Terrace, Portsea Island, presumably somewhere close to where Peter would have sailed from. Although I have obtained a copy of Peter’s Service Record which shows his progress through the ranks as an engineering officer, it does not, as does Richard’s, show the ship’s he served on. Having served almost 14 years, he was promoted to the rank of Chief Engineer on 13th February 1872, In December 1873, he was informed that if allowed to retire he would be entitled to receive a pension of £145 pa. He was, however, employed for a further period examining boilers before retiring as physically unfit on 29th December 1873.

Another brother, George Ernest Greetham was born in 1874 in Southampton, when Elizabeth was 15.

Elizabeth married Richard Jago Butler at the Parish Church of St John, Battersea, Surrey, on 13th December 1879. Richard was 31 years of age and Elizabeth, 20.

Elizabeth and Richard’s first child, Richard Jago, was born at home on 16th February 1880, and a daughter, Rose Greetham, on 15th April 1881 (Twelve days after the 1881 Census).

Richard Jago Butler Jnr
Undated but c 1910
Rose Greetham Butler
Undated but c 1910

By the 1881 Census, Elizabeth’s parents and the rest of their family were back in London again and were living at 27 Cologne Road, Battersea, right next door to where his daughter, son-in-law and new grandson, were living. There has to be a story there somewhere.

Elizabeth’s father, Peter, passed away on 21st April 1883 at the age of 52, and her mother, Rosina, only a month later on 30th May. She was just 46 years of age.

Elizabeth and Richard added to their family again with the birth of a son, Edward, on 6th April 1888, in Battersea and another, Wilfred Joseph, on 12th February 1895, in Croydon.

Edward Butler
Undated but c 1910

Their last child, Cuthbert Peter Butler, was born on 24th March 1897, also in Croydon.

Wilfred Joseph and Cuthbert Peter Butler
1906

By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved once again to what must have been a larger house named “Brinscall” at 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham. On the day of the census, Richard’s brother, William’s daughter, Mary, was either living or staying with them, so with 10 in the house at the time it would need to have been a sizeable one.

“Brinscall” – 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham
“Brinscall” was located quite near Mayow Park, Sydenham pictured in this postcard from my father’s collection from this time.

Regrettably, Elizabeth did not live long to enjoy her new home, passing away on 19th August 1902. The cause of death was given as “Granular kidney 10 years, Uraemia 7 days”.
I have, as yet, been unable to find any record of her funeral or burial.

ANECDOTES & STORIES

LOCATIONS

Census Data – Elizabeth Ann Butler (née Greetham)

Maps or photos

PICTURE GALLERY

DOCUMENTATION

Obituaries

 

ANCESTORS

Elizabeth Ann Greetham
b: 1 Oct 1859
d: 19 Aug 1902
Biography
Certified copy of Birth Cetificate (dated 10 August 2004) held.(Medical):Certified copy of Death Certificate (dated 6 April 2005) held.
Facts
  • 1 Oct 1859 - Birth - ; 22 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
  • 19 Aug 1902 - Death - ; Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Ancestors
   
Benjamin Greetham
23 Apr 1801 - 26 Jun 1849
 
 
Peter Greetham
20 Sep 1830 - 21 Apr 1883
  
  
  
Elizabeth Evans
1802 - Dec 1859
 
Elizabeth Ann Greetham
1 Oct 1859 - 19 Aug 1902
  
 
  
John "James" Lockyer Nibbs
Abt 1814 - 27 May 1885
 
 
Rosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
Abt 1837 - 30 May 1883
  
  
  
Ann Stedman
1810 - 1892
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Peter Greetham
Birth20 Sep 1830Flint, Wales
Death21 Apr 1883 27 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Marriage29 Oct 1857to Rosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs at Malta
FatherBenjamin Greetham
MotherElizabeth Evans
PARENT (F) Rosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
BirthAbt 1837Gosport, Hampshire, England
Death30 May 1883 26 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Marriage29 Oct 1857to Peter Greetham at Malta
FatherJohn "James" Lockyer Nibbs
MotherAnn Stedman
CHILDREN
MPeter William Greetham
Birth22 Dec 1861Kingston, Portsea Island, Southampton, England
Death
Marriage15 Jun 1887to Elizabeth Grace Ritson at St John the Evangelist, Penge, Surrey, England
MCharles Tyldesley Downey Greetham
Birth31 Jan 1867Portsea, Hampshire, England
Death29 Nov 1924Bristol, Bristol, England
Marriage1 Oct 1895to Grace Florence Maude Barber at St Marys, Portsea, Hampshire, England
MGeorge Ernest Greetham
Birth21 Dec 187340 Princes Street, Portsea, Southampton, England
Death1944Chatham, Kent, England
Marriage2 Aug 1896to Kate Eliza Jones at Parish Church of Hatcham, London, England
FElizabeth Ann Greetham
Birth1 Oct 185922 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
Death19 Aug 1902Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Richard Jago Butler at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Elizabeth Ann Greetham
Birth1 Oct 185922 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
Death19 Aug 1902 Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Richard Jago Butler at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherPeter Greetham
MotherRosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
CHILDREN
FRose Greetham Butler
Birth15 Apr 188126 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death23 Mar 1954Victoria Hospital, Deal, Kent, England
Marriage18 Oct 1906to Reginald Francis Butler at ChristChurch Parish Church, Ealing, Middlesex, England
MEdward Butler
Birth6 Apr 1888Battersea, Surrey, England
Death
MWilfred Joseph Butler
Birth12 Feb 189510 Bartley Road, Croydon, Surrey, England
Death
MCuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth16 Feb 188027 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death5 Sep 1956Duart Avenue, Prestwick, Scotland
Marriage4 Jun 1907to Christina Edith Whereat at The Church of the Sacred Heart, Norton Road, Hove, Sussex, England
Evidence
[S27]Greetham Family Research
Descendancy Chart
Elizabeth Ann Greetham b: 1 Oct 1859 d: 19 Aug 1902
Richard Jago Butler b: 11 Dec 1848 d: 4 Mar 1931
Rose Greetham Butler b: 15 Apr 1881 d: 23 Mar 1954
Reginald Francis Butler b: 18 Dec 1875 d: 23 Dec 1952
Edward Butler b: 6 Apr 1888
Wilfred Joseph Butler b: 12 Feb 1895
Cuthbert "Peter" Butler b: 24 Mar 1897 d: 25 Jan 1972
Mary Somner b: 28 Oct 1898 d: 13 Aug 1989
Patricia Anne Barnes b: 17 Aug 1933 d: 23 Nov 2004
Richard "Dick" Butler b: 29 Nov 1929 d: 20 Apr 1998
Gwenyth Julia Forsyth b: 15 Apr 1931 d: 25 Dec 1997
Marc Nicholas Butler b: 20 Nov 1989 d: 23 Feb 1998
Richard Jago Butler b: 16 Feb 1880 d: 5 Sep 1956
Christina Edith Whereat b: 23 Jan 1883 d: 1973
Richard Jago Butler b: 13 Jan 1919 d: 23 Feb 1943
Peter Paul Jago Butler b: 16 Jul 1921 d: 13 Apr 2003
Carmel Maureen Lee b: 9 Oct 1924
Christine Mary Jago Butler b: 24 Mar 1959 d: 1970

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Copy of Birth Certificate – Elizabeth Ann Greetham

 

Copy of Marriage Certificate – Elizabeth Ann Greetham and Richard Jago Butler

 

Copy of Death Certificate – Elizabeth Ann Butler

Somner, Mary

Mary Somner
Passport Photo – 1925

Mary Somner

1898

Birth: 28 October 1898 Mary Butler

Mary Somner was born on 28th October 1898 in Waipu, Northland, NZ, to Maria Campbell, aged 36 and Francis Somner, aged 37.

1927

Marriage: 19th April 1927 Mary Somner and Cuthbert Peter Butler

Mary Somner married Cuthbert Peter Butler in Whangarei, Northland, NZ, on 19thApril 1927 when she was 28 years old.

1989

Death: 13th August 1989 Mary Butler

Mary Butler died on 13th August 1989 in Kamo, Northland, NZ, when she was 90  years old.

BIOGRAPHY

Mary was born into a farming family in The Braigh, Waipu, Northland, New Zealand on 28th October 1898.
When Mary was born, her father, Francis Somner, was 37 and her mother, Maria (née Campbell), 36.
She was the youngest of three children born to Francis and Maria – Francis Usher (28 January 1891) and Arthur Hay (6 June 1892). Francis died when he was only six months old on 21 June 1891.

The only memento of her early years is this postcard sent to her by her father on her seventh birthday.

Front and Reverse of Postcard to Mary from her father Francis in 1908

I have no knowledge of her childhood years, education or work history but believe she lived at home until she was a young adult.  She may well have attended the Braigh Public School, a photo of which we have taken from a card to mark its 75th Anniversary in 1937.

Braigh Public School, Waipu

We do know, however, that her brother Arthur served with the NZ forces in World War I and one of the photos of him in uniform is shown below:

Sgt Arthur Somner – Auckland Mounted Rifles – 1917

Arthur also sent Mary a number of postcards from “the front”, one of which appears below:

From Arthur Somner to his sister, Mary  (Un-dated)

During her brother Arthur’s absence at the war, it is likely that Mary would have taken over as much of the work as she was able on her parents’ farm.  These photos from that time provide some evidence of that:

Images of Mary Somner in Waipu – 1910 to 1920

Perhaps too she developed her love of animals at this time – something she retained throughout her life.
But all work and no play makes Mary a dull girl, so she and her friends are seen here enjoying the proximity of the beach probably at Waipu Cove:

Images of Mary with friends at the beach, Waipu Cove, perhaps – 1910 to 1920

We can only surmise that she met Cuthbert Peter Butler, whom she later was to marry after he returned in 1920 from a short visit to England and purchased a small property at Waipu.
And, without reading too much into it, we wonder if he later chose to move to Whangarei to live before or after Mary’s parents moved in 1923 to a new farm near Whangarei.

RMS Arawa

It is said that the path of love never runs smooth, and I can’t help wondering if this was the case with Peter and Mary.
In any event, she sailed for the UK on 26 August 1925 on the SS “Arawa” – arriving in Southampton on 23 November.

Extract from Passenger List – SS “Arawa”

According to the entry on the Passenger List, she was going to stay at 3 Findhorn Place, Edinburgh.  Another more intriguing entry on the Passenger List is that she marked Scotland as the “Country of Intended Permanent Residence”.  I wonder whether that was her intention and, if it was, why she changed her mind and returned to New Zealand?

Extract from Valuation Roll
Extract from Passenger List – SS “Ruahine”
RMS Ruahine

As you can see from this, the owner of the property was Andrew Geddes Scott who, it turned out, was an uncle by marriage.
She was in Britain for nearly 12 months, returning on the SS “Ruahine” which sailed from Southampton on 11th February 1927.

The surprising thing, perhaps, was that she and my father married only a month later, on the 19th of April. Perhaps they needed the break to make sure that marriage was the right thing for them both, particularly given his relative physical disability.  Or were her parents unhappy with her choice of a future husband and paid for her passage to Scotland?

Mary was 28 years old when she married, and Peter 30.

Thanks to my niece, Judy Ward-Butler, who found a “treasure trove” of photographs in an old album of my parent’s, I now have some of their wedding photos and these appear here:

Mary on her Wedding Day
Emily Merinda Underwood, Cuthbert Peter Butler, Mary Somner, Alex Clarke and Gladys Margaret Jones

Images from Peter and Mary’s Wedding Day – 19th April 1927

And this is a copy of the cutting from the “Northern Advocate” reporting the occasion

Report on the Marriage – “Northern Advocate”
19th April 1927
St Francis Xavier’s Church, Whangarei – built in 1928 on the site of the earlier church of that name where Peter Butler and Mary Somner were married.

Sadly, Mary lost her first child, a son, stillborn, on 28 February 1928.  She lost another child, a daughter, also stillborn, on 23 May 1935.  As I assume was customary at the time, my brothers and I were never told of these losses and I only learned about them recently.

According to the 1925 and 1928 Electoral Rolls, they lived somewhere on Kamo Road, Whangarei and, presumably, were still there when Richard “Dick” was born on 29 November 1929.

Birth Notice – Richard Butler “Northern Advocate” – 30 November 1929

Norm was born on 20 August 1933 and named Norman John, I believe after an adopted uncle, Norman Stevens, of Paparoa, whose family were close friends of Peter’s.

Birth Notice – Norman Butler
“Northern Advocate” – 21 August 1933

My earliest memories of where we lived are of a house high on the hill in Jessie Street, Whangarei, New Zealand, which my parents bought from my maternal grandmother, Maria Somner in 1932. Maria had purchased the property three years earlier. Whether she moved there when she bought it or later when my parents moved, we do not know, but she certainly lived with them until at least 1935 and perhaps up to the time of her death in 1937.

And before you ask, Wharepuke is Maori for “house on the hill”. The property which could best be described as a farmlet shared a boundary with a bush reserve and was overlooked by Mount Parahaka, an old bush-clad volcanic cone that is a Whangarei landmark.

Original “Wharepuke” in Jessie Street, Whangarei
Maria Somner, Mary and Dick (or Norm) on the veranda.

The weatherboard house was built in the early 1920s and painted a chocolatey brown not unlike the once popular “Mission Brown “of the 1970s. I have no idea of how big the house was but recall it as having an expansive lawn on which my mother spread newly-bought unbleached calico sheets to be whitened by frost and sun.

At a little over two acres, the property was much been bigger than I recall because there was certainly room enough for it to be run as a small poultry farm from which we sold eggs under the Wharepuke name. If it was required or not at that time, the eggs were individually rubber-stamped with an oval-shaped “Wharepuke” brand mark. It is likely that we also sold dressed poultry but, whether we did or not, one of my mother’s specialties, roast chicken with thyme and onion stuffing, appeared on our dinner plates on most Sundays. Peter never used an axe to despatch the chicken chosen for sale or our consumption, relying on the skill he had acquired somewhere of breaking its neck with what appeared to me to be a mere flick of the wrist.

Although I was not aware of it at the time, Mary also kept and bred Bacon Pigs and as you’ll read won some prizes for her efforts:

Mum’s Prize-winning Bacon Pigs at the Northland Championships
“Northern Advocate” – 9 July 1940

Views – “Wharepuke”, Jessie Street, Whangarei (1932 to 1941)

For a short period, Mary also kept a couple of Borzois (Russian wolfhounds). They were I feel sure bought from a Doctor George Walker who bred not only prize-winning Borzois but also prize-winning Jersey cattle.   How he had time to conduct his medical practice and manage his private hospital, Beaulieu as well, I’ll never know, but he did and attended Mary at both my older brother Dick’s and my birth. The borzois turned out not to be as robust of health as their name implies, both succumbing quite early to what I understood to be a gastrointestinal condition to which they are prone.

Borzoi, or Russian Wolfhound

And she did very well with her Borzois at the Centennial Show, also in 1940:

Mary’s Prize-winning Borzois at the Centennial Show
“Northern Advocate” – 9 March 1940
Carolyn with “Lassie”

Mary did not have another dog until the late 1950s, sometime after my father had retired and my parents had moved to Kamo, north of Whangarei. This was one of a less exotic breed, being a Dachshund with the unlikely name of “Lassie”. She had little or no exercise and any amount of treats in addition to her “normal” diet. She may, as a result, have been the only dachshund ever whose expansive midriff actually dragged on the ground.

Mary’s mother, Maria, passed away suddenly on 25 October 1937 in Papatoetoe, Auckland at the age of 75, and her father, Francis, on 31 July 1939 in Waipu at the age of 78.

At some time in the mid to late 30s, I understood that Peter was given for reasons I have never known the following Maori gifts – a pari (bodice) and tipare (headband), a piupiu (flax skirt) as well as a taiaha (spear-type quarter-staff) and a greenstone axehead. I do remember them but had no idea what had happened to them in later years.  There was some thought that the gifts may have been for something Peter did in association with or for Princess te Puia, but in light of the following that now seems unlikely.

Thanks to my nephew, Maurice’s persistent researches it now transpires that the piupiu was not given to Peter but to Mary.  Again courtesy “Papers Past” this is the evidence he found:

Report on the gift of the piupiu to my mother,
“Northern Advocate” – 13 July 1937

It also transpires that Maurice is the “keeper” of the taiaha and continues to worry away at its provenance as a lead to where it might have come from.  The fate of the greenstone axehead remains unknown.

What we do have however are photos of Mary wearing the dress and headband and demonstrating her skills with poi, which must also have been included with the other gifts.

The youngest of Peter and Mary’s children, Peter was born on 11 July 1940 and there’ll be no prizes for guessing after whom he is named.

Birth Notice – Peter Butler
“Northern Advocate” – 12 July 1940

In July 1941, we moved closer to the centre of Whangarei where Peter built an office at 117 Bank Street just next to the house that he had renovated.

Our Home – 117 Bank Street, Whangarei

As a matter of interest, in Bank Street, we lived next door to a Mr & Mrs Hugh Crawford. Hugh Crawford was the owner of the “Northern Advocate” and, many years later, Mrs Crawford was a resident of the same retirement village, the “Kamo Home & Village”, as Mary.

Bread, milk, meat and groceries were all delivered to the door – the same door that welcomed the “Rawleigh’s” man when he called to sell a whole range of household cleaning, cooking and health products. Mary swore by “Rawleigh’s” essences, furniture polishes and scrubbing brushes. I have not heard of them for years but apparently, they still operate in both Australia and New Zealand. I don’t remember the Rawleigh’s man having as brightly coloured van as this – I think he just travelled all over the North in his own car.

Rawleigh’s Van
The “Phantom of the Opera” – The original version in “Flaming Technicolour”

Mary was an avid fan of Nelson Eddy and, to a lesser extent, his co-star, Jeanette MacDonald, and I’m almost sure I saw every one of their movies with her.
Two that stick in my mind were “Rose Marie” and “New Moon”.  Another movie I saw with her, on V-J Day (15th August 1945) was the first Technicolour version of “The Phantom of the Opera”, starring, you guessed it, Nelson Eddy.  I must have been a sensitive little flower because, in a nightmare that night, I relived the acid-throwing and chandelier-falling scenes.

When in 1947 ill health forced Peter to relinquish many of his posts, he sold his business to Fred Philpott and retired, he and Mary bought a property at Kamo.  The address then was 216 Bay of Islands Road, but the numbering changed when the road was renamed “Kamo Road”.  It too was called “Wharepuke” – and it was on the top of a hill.    And, here, thanks to young Peter, is an aerial photo of the property as it was in October 1955.

Wharepuke, Kamo – October 1955

If my memory serves me correctly, they had an old army house moved from somewhere up north – and to all intents and purposes rebuilt it.

Wharepuke II – 216 Bay of Islands Road, Kamo

The house was set back from Kamo Road but adjoined the sports ground – where I think Dick played football and, certainly later, refereed.

The original purchase comprised some 21 acres and was certainly large enough for my mother to keep horses.

Here are some of those, and one from the twenties or thirties, of which I have photos:

Some of Mary’s Horses (1920 to 1980)

There had been some thought that part of the property could be cultivated to grow vegetables and, to this end, a Trusty tractor identical with that shown in the photo was bought.   As I only came home from Silverstream during the longer Christmas holidays, I missed out on a lot of what happened during those years.  I don’t think the market garden idea ever came to fruition but I do have clear memories of Dick ploughing and harrowing “the top paddock” with the trusty “Trusty”!

Our trusty “Trusty” tractor

In early 1948, the first of two subdivisions of the property was completed.  This one involved the creation of 13 building lots fronting Kamo Road leaving some 17 acres which were still enough for Mary to keep a horse or two.  Underlining my parent’s “Catholicity” – or more likely Peter’s – two of these lots were given to the church as potential sites for a local church and presbytery.

1953 was the 100th Anniversary of the landing of the Nova Scotia Scots’ settlers in Waipu. Mary’s maiden name was Somner but her mother’s name was Campbell – one of the descendants of that family which settled there. The following photos were taken at the Centennial Highland Games held in Waipu in 1953:

Images from our visit to the Waipu Centennial Highland Games – 1st January 1953

A significant event at the Centennial Highland Games was the opening of a “House of Memories” – now known as the Waipu Museum – and where is found the following family item originally left to Mary by her father, Francis Somner, and passed on to the Museum by my brother, Dick.

Medal awarded to Mary’s Great-grandfather, Francis Somner, at the Highland & Agricultural Society’s Perth, Scotland, Show 1852
Stack Ventilator

Well, not having seen or heard of such a thing, I deduced from its name that it was a device for cutting holes in a hay-stack to cool it down and prevent spontaneous combustion. And, what’s more, I found a photo to prove it.  How wrong was I?

What Francis had invented was a little more complex than just a simple hole cutter.  In fact, on the 7th April 1852, he registered the design of his “Stack or Rick Ventilator” with the UK Designs Office.  And courtesy of the UK National Archives, this is a copy of that registered design:

Design of Stack or Rick Ventilator Reg No: 3206, 7 April 1852

As already mentioned, Mary had a real love for animals – and horses in particular. She learned to ride on her parents’ farm in Waipu and as far as I can gather continued to do so until she and my father married and lived on properties where she was unable to keep a horse.  After the move to Kamo, she resumed riding and in the mid-1950s became quite involved with the Kamo Pony Club.  As can be seen from the photo that follows, the club must have been quite a sizeable one at that time.

Kamo Pony Club and Officials – 1950.  Mary on “Grey Boy” is on the far right.

Of the horses she owned, three I remember were “Grey Boy”, an unsuccessful young racehorse “Bronze Trail”  who I failed to master and “Brownie”  and “Mickey” who I did, sort of!!!  There were more of course than these three and some of these are shown below:

Some of Mary’s Horses (1920 to 1980)

“Tickle-tum”

Apart from her horses she also had, as I’ve mentioned, a Dachshund with the unlikely name of “Lassie.  There was also “Tickle-tum” a much-loved grey and white cat whose name says it all.

Whether or not it had been part of their original intentions for the property they subdivided the 17 acres they had kept from the 1948 subdivision, selling the larger 10-acre lot in 1951.  Perhaps the sale was necessary to improve their financial situation.  During those years, I was still at Silverstream and young Peter was to follow me there for four years from 1951.  The costs of this alone must have been a considerable drain on their retirement funds.

In any event, Peter returned to work in 1951 joining the North Auckland Farmers’ Co-operative initially as a Stock Clerk and later as head of the Wool Department.  He was able to lessen his travelling time and work much closer to home when, in 1958, he joined the long-established family-owned Wilkinson’s Bakeries, as their accountant.  He later became Managing Accountant of Northern Bakeries – a position he held until his retirement in 1965.

His move to Wilkinson’s had another advantage too in that he could keep an eye on the progress of the second sub-division which was undertaken late in 1961.  It comprised 24 lots most of which were either side of a dog-leg cul-de-sac appropriately named “Butler Place”.  They built a new house on Lot 3 of their subdivision, which became No 5 Butler Place.  And I think I’d be right in saying that this was the only new house they had ever lived in.

5 Butler Place, Kamo – Soon after it was built in 1962

On his retirement from Northern Bakeries in early 1965, they moved to Russell, buying a one-bedroom bach at what was then 32 Long Beach Road.  Located as it was on what was – and doubtless still is – a beautiful and safe beach. Pat, Michael, Carolyn and I made at least one visit there before we moved to Australia in May 1966.  We have a photo or two to prove it, as does one of Dick’s daughters, Judy Ward-Butler, who shared with me a number of them taken when they visited in December 1965.

32 (now 145) Long Beach Road, Russell

Images of 32 (now 145) Long Beach Road, Russell – 1965 to 1969

Beautiful, peaceful and sunny a spot to retire to as any of us could wish for, it seems that the availability of convenient health and ageing support systems in a community as small as Russell’s became a concern.   And it must have been only after much soul-searching that they took the decision in early 1969 to move back to Kamo.

1C Butler Place, Kamo

When they returned from Russell they lived in another modest new home which they had built on land they had donated to – and now leased from – the Catholic Church.  Quite apart from the stress of moving itself, this must have been made even more so because, although the Kamo lease ran from April, the Russell property was not sold until the November.

Mary continued to live in Butler Place for a year or two after Peter died in 1972 at the age of 74. They had been married for 44 years.

Her brother, Arthur Hay Somner, died on 31 July 1973 at Waipu. He was 74 years of age.

Although she was managing much better on her own than any of us had imagined she would, she finally agreed with some reluctance to move to the Kamo Home and Village in nearby Ford Street. Having done so, she was very happy there not least because she was reunited with a number of long-time friends, one of whom was Edna Crawford, a neighbour from Bank Street.

In June, Dick let us know that Mary’s health had deteriorated quite suddenly and that the doctor suspected bowel cancer. At 89 years of age, surgery was not an option and the decision was taken to ensure that she be kept as comfortable and pain-free as was possible at that time. She passed away at the Kamo Home on 13 August 1989.

I had been unable to get away to see her before she died but with Dick attended her funeral. She was buried alongside Peter at the Maunu Cemetery.

For no reason that she ever explained to us, she had been determined to live until she was into her nineties. Perhaps she wanted to outdo her old friend, Edna, who had lived until she was 97.

The gravestone marking the burial place of Peter and Mary Butler
Maunu Cemetery, Whangarei, Northland

ANECDOTES & STORIES

One of the Whangarei businesses that I can remember was RG Hosking’s, where my mother bought most of her clothes. Every six months or so she and my father would go down to Hosking’s and when he was comfortably seated, she would parade the frocks or suits recommended by the assistant. He would nominate which ones he thought looked good on her. Those which my mother liked too were then taken home on approval and only those that she was happy with were kept; any others were returned to the store.

LOCATIONS

Electoral Roll Data

Maps or photos

PICTURE GALLERY

Again thanks to Judy, I now have a number of photos of Mary.

Mary Undated but probably late 1920s
Mary driving a Buggy or Trap, Waipu
Undated but probably the early 1920s
Mary Somner Passport Photograph 1925

DOCUMENTATION

ANCESTORS

Mary Somner
b: 28 Oct 1898
d: 13 Aug 1989
Biography
(Medical):Certified copy of Death Certificate (dated 24 February 2005) held.
Facts
  • 28 Oct 1898 - Birth - ; Waipu, New Zealand
  • 16 Aug 1989 - Burial - ; Maunu Forest Lawn Cemetery, Maunu, New Zealand
  • 13 Aug 1989 - Death - ; Kamo Home, Kamo, New Zealand
Ancestors
   
John Usher Somner
14 Aug 1829 - 17 Aug 1879
 
 
Francis Somner
1 Nov 1860 - 31 Jul 1939
  
  
  
Agnes Clay
11 Jan 1830 - 28 Nov 1911
 
Mary Somner
28 Oct 1898 - 13 Aug 1989
  
 
  
Neil Campbell
Abt 1814 - 19 Aug 1899
 
 
Maria Campbell
Abt 1862 - 25 Oct 1937
  
  
  
Catherine McLeod
Abt 1818 - 25 Dec 1900
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Francis Somner
Birth1 Nov 1860Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Death31 Jul 1939 Waipu, New Zealand
Marriage28 Jan 1890to Maria Campbell at Neil Campbell''s House, Upper Waipu, New Zealand
FatherJohn Usher Somner
MotherAgnes Clay
PARENT (F) Maria Campbell
BirthAbt 1862Waipu, New Zealand
Death25 Oct 1937 Papatoetoe, New Zealand
Marriage28 Jan 1890to Francis Somner at Neil Campbell''s House, Upper Waipu, New Zealand
FatherNeil Campbell
MotherCatherine McLeod
CHILDREN
MFrancis Usher Somner
Birth28 Jan 1891Te Pahi, Kaipara, New Zealand
Death21 Jun 1891Te Pahi, Paparoa, New Zealand
MArthur Hay Somner
Birth6 Jun 1892Pahi, Kaipara, New Zealand
Death31 Jul 1973Waipu, New Zealand
Marriageto Lizzie Trewin at Marahemo, New Zealand
FMary Somner
Birth28 Oct 1898Waipu, New Zealand
Death13 Aug 1989Kamo Home, Kamo, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Cuthbert "Peter" Butler at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972 Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherRichard Jago Butler
MotherElizabeth Ann Greetham
PARENT (F) Mary Somner
Birth28 Oct 1898Waipu, New Zealand
Death13 Aug 1989 Kamo Home, Kamo, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Cuthbert "Peter" Butler at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherFrancis Somner
MotherMaria Campbell
CHILDREN
MNorman John "Norm" Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Carol Anne Wendy Scott
Marriageto Patricia Anne Barnes
MRichard "Dick" Butler
Birth29 Nov 1929Whangarei, New Zealand
Death20 Apr 1998Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage18 Jan 1958to Gwenyth Julia Forsyth
MPeter Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Sue Fendley
Evidence
[S5]Private Family Reseach
[S3]The Somner Family of East Lothian
Descendancy Chart

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Copy of Entry of the Registry of birth of Mary Somner
Copy of Transcript of Marriage Certificate – Mary Somner and Cuthbert Peter Butler
Copy of Transcript of Death Certificate – Mary Butler

Butler, Richard Jago

Richard Jago Butler

Richard Jago Butler

1848

Birth: 11th December 1848 Richard Jago Butler

When Richard Jago Butler was born on 11th December 1848 in Plympton St Mary, Devonport, Devon, his father Stephen was 29 and his mother Jane 33.

1879

Marriage: 13th December 1879 Richard Jago Butler

Richard Jago married Elizabeth Ann Greetham on 13th December 1879.  Richard was 31 years old, Elizabeth was 20.

Marriage: 13th December 1879 Elizabeth Ann Greetham and Richard Jago Butler

Elizabeth Ann Greetham married Richard Jago Butler in Battersea, Surrey, on 13th December 1879.  She was 20 years of age, Richard was 31.

1902

Notable Event

In the 1902 Coronation Honours List, Richard Jago Butler was awarded a C.B.  (Companion of the Order of the Bath) on on 26th June 1902.

Death: 19th August 1902 Elizabeth Ann Butler

Richard Jago Butler’s Wife, Elizabeth Ann, passed away on 19th August 1902 at the age of 42.  They had been married 22 years.

1907

Marriage: 9th July 1907 Richard Jago Butler and Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell

Richard Jago Butler married Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell on 9th July 1907.  Richard was 58 years old, Ethel was 38.

1931

Death: 4th March 1931 Richard Jago Butler

Richard Jago Butler died on 4th March 1931 in London.  He was 82 years old.

BIOGRAPHY

Richard Jago was born the first of two sons to Stephen and Jane Butler (nee Jago) in Plympton St Mary, Devon, on 11th December 1848.
At the time of Richard’s birth, his father was 29 years of age and his mother 33.
His younger brother, William James Jago, was born on 29th June 1850.

According to the 1851 Census, the family lived at 7 Cannon Street, Stoke Damerel, Devonport, only about a mile and a half from the Royal Naval Dockyards where Stephen was employed as a Shipwright.  This census entry was the first indication I had that his father, Stephen, was born in Ireland and in Waterford in particular, in 1821.

From recent reading, I learned that Cannon Street was one of the earliest laid down near the Devonport dock when, in the early 1700s, residential buildings were first allowed to be built in the vicinity of the dockyard.

We have little knowledge of Richard’s early life, other than the Census entry for 1861 from which we learn that the family had moved to another property in Cannon Street, namely No 40.  In this entry, he is described as a “scholar”.

The only information that I could find about his early education was in his British Civil Service Evidence of Age Certificate.  In this Richard stated that he had been at the RC National School Stonehouse for about 6 years and a further period as an engineer student at the Dockyard School, in Keyham, Devonport.

His father Stephen passed away at home on 26th June 1863 at the age of 44.  According to his Death Certificate, the cause of death was consumption, a condition he had suffered for twelve months.  This left Jane a widow, possibly but not certainly with a pension,  caring for the two boys, Richard aged 15 and William, 13.

Whatever the circumstances the family found itself in, Jane must have been instrumental in ensuring that Richard, at least, continues his education.   My evidence for this belief is this item from the “Journal of the Society of Arts” dated 12th June 1868, where we learn that as an engineer student at the Devonport Mechanics Institute he won 1st Prize (valued at £5) for Conic Sections and 2nd Prize (valued at £3) for Principles of Mechanics.
In the unlikely event, that you want to know, “Conic Sections are the intersections of a right regular cone, by a cutting plane in different positions, relative to the axis of the cone”!!  And, no, I don’t understand it either.

MURRAY, J., ANDREWS, S., & LE NEVE FOSTER, P. (1868). Journal of the Society of Arts, Vol. 16, no. 814. The Journal of the Society of Arts, 16(814), 567-590
Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41323875

To what extent these awards were valuable qualifications for his entry into the Royal Navy, we will never know, but the first entry in his RN Service Record tells us that he was a student at the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in South Kensington in London for 3 years from 15th August 1868.
Also from this time I have a copy of his Certificate of Qualification as an Assistant Engineer of the Second Class which records his time as an Engineer Student at HM Dock Yard, Keyham, Devonport and at the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in Kensington in London.  It is perhaps of interest that the building in which the School was housed later became the Henry Cole Wing of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
A copy of this Certificate is included in the “Evidence” section.

As it happens, he may have been one of the very early entrants to the School which had opened only four years before.  That such a school was needed is clear from this excerpt from Dr Denis Griffiths’ “Steam at Sea: Two centuries of Steam-powered Ships”, published by Conway Maritime Press, London, 1997  ISBN 0 85177 666 3:

“At the end of the Crimean War in 1856, it became difficult to find sufficient qualified engineers to man the fleet to a satisfactory level. There was a need for an improvement in manpower, status and training, and steps were taken to ensure that dockyard apprentices were given a better education and to recruit young men of quality.
In 1864 the Royal School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering was opened in South Kensington to offer a more scientific training to naval engineers, and the year before boys receiving training in the Royal Dockyards became known as engineer students and became eligible to compete for places at the new school. Education in the sciences formed an essential part of the training of young men entering the Navy but the management of men was also an essential for a good officer aboard ship.”

Whether or not as a result of her widowhood, the Census for 1871 shows that his mother, Jane, had moved to 12 Albert Road, Devonport, where her occupation is listed as Housekeeper. Her second son William, who by this time is aged 21, is shown as a carpenter.  Perhaps he was thus able to provide her with the economic support she needed.  In fact, as far as I can gather, she lived with him for the rest of her life.

In the same Census, we find that Richard is now a lodger at 21 Margaretta Terrace in Chelsea, London, where his occupation is given as School of Naval Architecture.  Whether Richard lodged here until the completion of his studies is not clear but according to his Record of Service he was promoted, presumably while still at college, from Assistant Engineer to Assistant Engineer 2nd Class on 7th June 1872 and Assistant Engineer 1st Class on 14th October of the same year.

His sea-going career started with his appointment, still as Engineer 1st Class, to HMS Euphrates on 1st January 1873 and then, HMS Indus on 3rd May and HMS Jumna on 15th July in that year.  His earned his promotion to Engineer on 15th September 1874, a rank he held until  13th April 1875 while serving on one or other of the above ships as well as HMS Royal Adelaide and HMS Asia.

Euphrates-class troopships Jumna, Euphrates & Malabar, and HMS Orontes (far left)
By Illustrated London News [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ships on which served RJ Butler 1873-1875

Having made what appeared to be an encouraging start to his Royal Naval career he “came ashore” on 13th April 1875.  According to his Service Record, he was on that date appointed a Draughtsman 3rd Class in the Controllers Department of the Admiralty and “his name removed from the List of Engineers RN.”   Why he made that decision – or had it made for him – I doubt we’ll ever know.  On the surface, at least, it does not seem to have advanced his career, not least because he is now employed as a Civil Servant rather than a commissioned officer.

From some of what I’ve read, engineering officers were still not fully accepted as proper officers (or indeed Gentlemen) in the Royal Navy of the mid-late 1800s and this was reflected as much in poor pay scales as the lack of formal titles such as Lieutenant.

Whatever the reason for his move, he didn’t remain a draughtsman for too long being appointed an Instructor in Marine Engineering at the Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London in 1877. He held this position until 1879 when he returned to what appears to have been a more “hands-on” marine engineering role within the Admiralty as an Assistant Engineer Inspector.

A yet more important event in Richard’s life in that year was his marriage to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at the Parish Church of St John, Battersea, London, on 13th December.  Elizabeth was the only daughter and eldest child of Peter and Rosina Greetham. Richard was 31 years of age and Elizabeth 20.
Peter had also served in the Royal Navy as an engineering officer having served over 14 years before his retirement in July 1873 with the rank of Chief Engineer.

One of Elizabeth’s brothers, Charles, also served as an engineering officer in the Navy for over forty years – retiring in 1918 having attained the quite senior rank of Engineer Captain in 1918.  Although I can find no records to support the fact that they ever held appointments on the same ships, the probability is that Richard and Charles could well be described as “brother officers”  and perhaps that’s how Richard met Elizabeth.

Richard and Elizabeth had their first child, a son also named Richard Jago, on 16th February 1880 and second, a daughter, Rose Greetham, on 15 April 1881.

Richard Jago Butler Jnr
Rose Greetham Butler

According to the 1881 Census, the family lived at 26 Cologne Road, Battersea.  As best I can tell it was a quite substantial property, long since converted into what look like flats.  They employed two domestic servants, Sarah Gower and Esther Wood, aged 20 and 16 years respectively.

From 1884, the upward path of Richard’s career really seems to have accelerated with his appointment as Engineer Inspector in that year, elevation to Chief Engineer (Gun Mountings) in 1888 and to Chief Engineer Inspector of Machinery in 1890.

Edward, Richard and Elizabeth’s second son was born on 6th April 1888.

Edward Butler

According to the 1891 Census, the family had moved to 17 Vardens Road,  still in Battersea but which from Google Street View, looks to have been a highly desirable property.  And perhaps indicative of how well Richard was doing, they added another servant, Mary Ann May, to their staff.

Richard and Elizabeth’s third son, Wilfred Joseph, was born on 12th February 1895.
From Wilfred’s Birth Certificate, we find that the family has moved again – on this occasion to  10 Barclay Road, Croydon, Surrey.  The property still exists but, again, seems to have been converted into flats.

Richard and Elizabeth’s last child was my father, Cuthbert “Peter”, who was born on 24th March 1897.  The family was still living at Barclay Road in Croydon at this time.

Wilfred Joseph and Cuthbert Peter Butler

By the time of the 1901 Census, the family had moved once again to what must have been a larger house named “Brinscall” at 91 Mayow  Road, Sydenham. On the day of the census, Richard’s brother, William’s daughter, Mary, was either living or staying with them, so with 10 in the house at the time it would need to have been a sizeable one.

“Brinscall”, 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham
“Brinscall” was located quite near Mayow Park, Sydenham pictured in this postcard from my father’s collection from this time.

Regrettably, Elizabeth did not live long to enjoy her new home, passing away on 19th August 1902. The cause of death was given as “Granular kidney 10 years, Uraemia 7 days”.
She and Richard had been married 22 years.

Later in the same year, Richard’s mother died aged 93.  She was, at the time, living with Richard’s younger brother, William’s family in Devonport.

There is considerable evidence of what Richard’s responsibilities were with the Admiralty from a number of articles in “The Times” from as early as 1882 until 1898.  They mainly had to do with his participation in the sea-trials of new ships, but also when he gave evidence at a coroner’s enquiry into the death of a stoker.
One thing that did surprise me was the level of technical detail published both about the tests themselves and the results achieved. I doubt it would be reported in that sort of detail today.

Richard reached the peak of his Admiralty career with his appointment as Assistant Engineer-in-Chief in February 1903 – a position he held until his retirement in 1909 – although, possibly to give effect to the Admiralty’s succession plan, the appointment was held jointly with Engineer Rear-Admiral R.Mayston from 1905.
If this appointment marked the peak of his career, his award of a C.B. (Companion of the Order of the Bath, to the uninitiated) in 1902 must have been the pinnacle.

Coronation Honours List – 1902
Insignia – Companion of Order of Bath (Civil Division)

His Investiture was held on HMY Victoria & Albert at Cowes on 15th August  1902 and reported in “The Times” on the following day.  As Elizabeth was very ill and died only 4 days later, I wonder did he actually attend the Investiture?

HMY Victoria & Albert

Richard married again at the Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, in Sydenham, on 9th July 1907.  His bride was Ethel Emily Northcott Cottel who, according to the 1901 Census was a Mayow Road neighbour of Richard and Elizabeth’s.

Richard and Ethel Butler – “At home”

While there is no record of a Retirement date in his Record of Service, the following entry suggests that he may have retired effective 18th October 1909:
“Awarded civil pension in respect of Naval service, O in C, 18-10-09”.

The most recent Census for which information is available is that of 1911, which has Richard, Ethel and my father Peter still living in Mayow Road – but now with only one servant,  Louisa Worsley, who is mentioned in Peter’s post.  Richard’s occupation is listed as “Retired Civil Servant Admiralty, now Director of Firm of Steel Makers”.  The steelmaker in question was John Spencer & Sons of Newcastle-on-Tyne for which, courtesy “The Times”, a copy of the Company’s Advertisement announcing its Prospectus is included in the “Evidence” section below.

Also in the years prior to and after his retirement, he was a Councillor of the Royal Institute of Marine Architects and a regular contributor of articles to “Brassey’s Annual”, an Armed Forces (but primarily Naval) year-book which has been published since 1886.   I hope later to add a copy of one of these articles under “Published Articles”.  But, in the meantime, the following is a review of his entry in the 1932 Edition of Brassey’s entitled ” Mercantile Marine Machinery “,

“Although opening with the remark ‘ that it is not possible to ignore the fact that the industry was very seriously handicapped, if not entirely crippled, by the deplorable conditions of the world trade,’ yet gives a first-class and instructive review of this ever-developing science of mercantile marine engineering.
No summary of this article seems possible, so packed is it with vivid, up-to-date information. Its concluding paragraph, however, shall not be omitted: – ‘Generally speaking, the year proved one of the blackest in the annals of the industry not only In this, but in all maritime countries, and the outlook for the future could only be regarded with dismay were it not for the fact, that in spite of political and economical adversity, technical achievements are being steadily, if not spectacularly, extended and consolidated’.”

His brother, William died on 26th February 1919 aged 68 at home at 59 Pasley Street, East Stoke, Devon.  Cause of death was given as Influenza (7 days), Broncho-pneumonia (3 days).
Perhaps William was a victim of the global Spanish Flu Pandemic from which the death toll was 228,000 people in Britain alone.

Richard passed away at 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England on 4th March 1931.  He was 82 years old.   Cause of death was given as Septicaemia, pyelonephritis, cystitis and an enlarged prostate.   Despite persistent searches, I have been unable to uncover any record of his burial. Another mystery!

Given his relatively high profile, it is surprising that he didn’t rate an Obituary, if not in the national press at least in one of the journals of the engineering organisations of which he was a member.  In fact, on my visit to the Royal Institute of Naval Architecture (of which he was at one time a Councillor), no record of him could be found.  One is left to wonder as to what he did – or didn’t do – that resulted in his name apparently being expunged from the records!

In his Will, he appointed his wife Ethel as his executor and left to her “all the property which I may be possessed of at the date of my death”. The gross value of his Estate was valued at £5,530-8-9 (equivalent to about £350,000 at today’s values).

Richard’s wife, Ethel, survived him by another 9 years, passing away on 15th April 1940.

ANECDOTES & STORIES

We have yet another address to add to Richard Jago’s list of residences as evidenced by this cutting from the “Kentish Mercury” of 12th October 1900:

LOCATIONS

Census Data

Census Data – Richard Jago Butler Snr

Maps or photos

PICTURE GALLERY

Richard and Ethel
“En promenade”
July 1924
Richard with grandson Peter on his knee
The early 1920s

DOCUMENTATION

Published Articles

Still to come

Obituaries

His death was reported in “The Times” of 6th March 1931 as follows

“Mr. Richard Jago Butler, C.B., late of the Controller’s Department of the Admiralty died on Wednesday at his home in London at the age of 82.”

ANCESTORS

Richard Jago Butler
b: 11 Dec 1848
d: 4 Mar 1931
Biography
(Research):Certified copy of Birth Certificate (dated 26 February 2001) held.(Medical):Certified copy of Death Certificate (dated 7 February 2005) held.
Facts
  • 11 Dec 1848 - Birth - ; Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
  • 4 Mar 1931 - Death - ; 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Ancestors
   
 
 
Stephen Butler
- 26 Jun 1863
  
  
  
 
Richard Jago Butler
11 Dec 1848 - 4 Mar 1931
  
 
  
 
 
Jane Jago
1809 - 18 Nov 1902
  
  
  
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Stephen Butler
BirthWaterford, Ireland
Death26 Jun 1863 10 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage5 Mar 1848to Jane Jago at Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England
FatherJames Butler
MotherMary Connery
PARENT (F) Jane Jago
Birth1809Plymstock, Devon, England
Death18 Nov 1902 16 Pasley Terrace, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage5 Mar 1848to Stephen Butler at Chapel of East Stonehouse, Devon, England
FatherRichard Jago
MotherElizabeth Cross
CHILDREN
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 193117 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
MWilliam James Jago Butler
Birth29 Jun 18507 Cannon Street, Devonport, Devon, England
Death26 Feb 191959 Pasley Street East, Stoke, Devonport, Devon, England
Marriage26 Dec 1874to Mary Ann Gray at Church of St Mary & St Boniface, Plymouth, Devon, England
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
Birth23 Jan 1869Grove Lodge, High Road, Tottenham, Middlesex, England
Death5 Apr 1940 Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Richard Jago Butler at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
FatherCharles George Cottell
MotherFanny Northcott
CHILDREN
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Elizabeth Ann Greetham
Birth1 Oct 185922 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
Death19 Aug 1902 Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Richard Jago Butler at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherPeter Greetham
MotherRosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
CHILDREN
FRose Greetham Butler
Birth15 Apr 188126 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death23 Mar 1954Victoria Hospital, Deal, Kent, England
Marriage18 Oct 1906to Reginald Francis Butler at ChristChurch Parish Church, Ealing, Middlesex, England
MEdward Butler
Birth6 Apr 1888Battersea, Surrey, England
Death
MWilfred Joseph Butler
Birth12 Feb 189510 Bartley Road, Croydon, Surrey, England
Death
MCuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth16 Feb 188027 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death5 Sep 1956Duart Avenue, Prestwick, Scotland
Marriage4 Jun 1907to Christina Edith Whereat at The Church of the Sacred Heart, Norton Road, Hove, Sussex, England
Evidence
[S5]Private Family Reseach
[S27]Greetham Family Research
Descendancy Chart
Richard Jago Butler b: 11 Dec 1848 d: 4 Mar 1931
Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell b: 23 Jan 1869 d: 5 Apr 1940
Elizabeth Ann Greetham b: 1 Oct 1859 d: 19 Aug 1902
Rose Greetham Butler b: 15 Apr 1881 d: 23 Mar 1954
Reginald Francis Butler b: 18 Dec 1875 d: 23 Dec 1952
Edward Butler b: 6 Apr 1888
Wilfred Joseph Butler b: 12 Feb 1895
Cuthbert "Peter" Butler b: 24 Mar 1897 d: 25 Jan 1972
Mary Somner b: 28 Oct 1898 d: 13 Aug 1989
Patricia Anne Barnes b: 17 Aug 1933 d: 23 Nov 2004
Richard "Dick" Butler b: 29 Nov 1929 d: 20 Apr 1998
Gwenyth Julia Forsyth b: 15 Apr 1931 d: 25 Dec 1997
Marc Nicholas Butler b: 20 Nov 1989 d: 23 Feb 1998
Richard Jago Butler b: 16 Feb 1880 d: 5 Sep 1956
Christina Edith Whereat b: 23 Jan 1883 d: 1973
Richard Jago Butler b: 13 Jan 1919 d: 23 Feb 1943
Peter Paul Jago Butler b: 16 Jul 1921 d: 13 Apr 2003
Carmel Maureen Lee b: 9 Oct 1924
Christine Mary Jago Butler b: 24 Mar 1959 d: 1970

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Richard Jago Butler: Navy List Entries – 1888 to 1908

Copy of Birth Certificate – Richard Jago Butler
Copy of British Civil Service Evidence of Age Certificate – RJ Butler
Copy of Certificate of Qualification – Assistant Engineer Second Class – R J Butler
Copy of Marriage Certificate – Richard Jago Butler and Elizabeth Ann Greetham

 

Copy of Birth Certificate – Richard Jago Butler Jnr
Copy of Birth Certificate – Rose Greetham Butler
Copy of Birth Certificate – Wilfred Butler
Copy of Birth Certificate – Cuthbert Peter Butler
Copy of Death Certificate – Elizabeth Ann Butler
Copy of Death Certificate – Jane Butler
(“John Spencer & Sons, limited.” Times [London, England] 11 Mar. 1913: 19. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 20 Oct. 2017.)
Copy of Death Certificate – Richard Jago Butler

Probated Will of Richard Jago Butler – 22nd April 1931

Butler, Cuthbert Peter – always known as Peter

Peter – 1919

Cuthbert Peter Butler

1897

Birth: 24 March 1897, Croydon, Surrey, England

Peter was born on 24 March 1897 in Croydon, Surrey, England, the youngest of five children, Richard, Rose, Edward, Wilfred and Peter. When he was born, his father, Richard, was 48 and his mother, Elizabeth, was 37.

1909

Education: Until 1910

Saint Francis-Xaverius Institute in Bruges, Belgium.

1910

Education: 1910-1912

Xavierian College in Clapham Common for part of 1911, with Father Higgins at the Presbytery in Hayward’s Heath in early 1912, and at Garlinge Farm at Westgate-on-Sea in Kent in the latter part of 1912.

1913

Work Life: 1913-1919

Farmhand and fencing contractor in Paparoa, Northland.

1920

Work Life: 1920 – 1946

Some farming and secretarial work early on but in 1925 took up a position as a book-keeper in Whangarei. Also in 1925, he was appointed Secretary of the Whangarei A & P Society – a role he filled for 22 years. This was one of a number of secretarial positions…

1927

Married: 19 April 1927, Whangarei, NZ, aged 30.

He married Mary Somner on 19 April 1927 in Whangarei, Northland. They had three sons during their marriage – Dick, Norm, and Peter.

1947

Work Life: 1947

He relinquished many of his posts on what I was told were health grounds and for 13 years lived in semi-retirement.

1960

Work Life: 1960s

He resumed work in an accounting role with the North Auckland Farmers’ Cooperative, a local Stock and Station Agency in Whangarei.  Later held a position much closer to home as manager-accountant with the Northern Bakeries in Kamo.

1965

Retired: 1965

Retired, aged 68.

1972

Death: 25 January 1972, Whangarei, NZ, aged 74.

He died on 25 January 1972 in Whangarei, Northland, at the age of 74, and was buried in Northland. Mary survived him by another 17 years, dying, in Kamo, Northland, on 13 August 1989, at the age of 90.

BIOGRAPHY

Peter was born on 24 March 1897 into a relatively affluent family.  At the time of his birth, his father had risen to become Chief Engineer Inspector of Machinery with the Admiralty – and was later to rise higher.  As such, the family lived in some style at “Brinscall” a substantial house opposite Mayow Gardens in Lewisham, Sydenham in London.

“Brinscall”, 91 Mayow Road, Sydenham, London
“Brinscall” was located quite near Mayow Park, Sydenham picture in this postcard from my father’s collection from this time.

At the time of the 1901 census, it was quite a large household and, apart from the family, included two servants one of whom was a nursemaid/domestic by the name of Louisa Devey.  The name Louisa comes up a number of times in the collection of postcards I hold, but by the 1911 census we find another Louisa, but whose surname was Worsley. Peter talked to me about having a “nanny” and recalled that she brought him and his older brother Wilfred downstairs to be “inspected” by their father before dinner.  I could not help but get the impression that it was very much a “children should be seen but not heard” sort of household.

Peter on the steps of “Brinscall” – 1902

The earliest photo we have of Peter is this small one of him taken in 1902, presumably at the front door of “Brinscall”.

His mother Elizabeth died in 1902 when she was only 42. Peter was just 5 years of age.  According to her Death Certificate granular kidney is given as the cause, a condition she had suffered for 10 years.   It is perhaps not surprising then how important  Louisa was in Peter’s childhood.
In December of the same year Peter’s grandmother Jane Butler passed away at his uncle William’s house in Devonport in Devon, where she had lived for a number of years. She was 93.

I had understood from my father that he and his brothers had all been sent to school in Belgium at an early age, but as his older school-age brother Edward was still at home at the time of the Census in 1901 this does not seem to have been the case.  Perhaps the decision, later, to send Wilfred and Peter to school in Belgium resulted from their father’s improving financial circumstances.  His eldest brother Richard who was shown in the Census as a mechanical engineer’s pupil later became almost as renowned a Marine Engineer as his father.

Peter’s father Richard remarried in  1907 Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell who according to the 1901 Census was a near neighbour in Mayow Road.  Ethel was aged 38 and had never married. Richard was 50.

Whitgift Grammar School, Croydon
Saint Francis-Xaverius Institute in Bruges, Belgium

Peter attended the Whitgift Public School in Croydon for a short time before he and his older brother, Wilfred, were sent to the Saint Francis-Xaverius Institute in Bruges, Belgium.  While we have no record of his academic success or otherwise we do know from a later report in the “Northern Advocate” that “During his college career he gained some distinction as a soccer player and as a fast bowler in the cricket team.”

Although the dates of his attendance there are unknown, we do have a copy of a postcard dated 12 Feb 1907 his step-mother-to-be  Ethel sent to his older brother, Wilfred, in which she added  “Best love to Peter”.
He was 9 years old at the time and Wilfred, 12.

These photographs of him were taken in 1907 while he was in Bruges.

Peter – Bruges, Belgium – 1907
Postcard from Stepmother-to-be to Wilfred mentioned above.  In these days of real-time communication, over 100 years ago this postcard of the Royal Procession for the Opening of Parliament was printed and posted on that very day.

A few months before his fourteenth birthday and while still at school, Peter contracted poliomyelitis, which left him severely physically disabled.  Another postcard dated 15 Nov 1910, also from his step-mother, but on this occasion from Bruges and addressed to Peter’s sister, Rose, suggests she went there specifically to bring him home.

The postcard from Peter’s stepmother to Rose mentioned above.

One can only assume that he was bed-ridden and, apart from any treatment he needed, would be confined to home.  He was certainly there on Census night on 2 April 1911.

As can be seen from the following postcard dated 6 February 1911, someone who showed a particular fondness for Peter was Ethel’s niece, Hildegarde Slock-Cottell “Hilda”. ( Refer Citation ).

My dear Peter, I was so pleased to hear that you are getting better. I suppose you are having a good time at Mittie’s. Please give her my best love. Is the old dog still living? Much love from Hilda.

Whether for schooling or rehabilitation, he appears to have attended the Xavierian College in Clapham Common for part of 1911 and stayed with a Father Higgins at the Presbytery in Hayward’s Heath, 50 km south of London, in early 1912.
At some point, it appears to have been decided that if his health was to improve he needed to move to a warmer climate and, for whatever reason, New Zealand was chosen.  Perhaps the family had friends there.
Presumably, so he could fend for himself in his new country, he spent some six months at Garlinge Farm at Westgate-on-Sea in Kent where, it’s understood, he received some tuition in farming.

Garlinge Farm, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent

As an aside, the farm was leased from the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London to a Mr. Hedgcock and it seems likely that arrangements were made with him for Peter to spend some time there.  Perhaps the Mr. H mentioned in this extract from a postcard Peter’s stepmother sent him is our Mr. Hedgcock and was known to them:

Hope you will see Louise to speak to before she returns. Perhaps Mr. H. (?) wouldn’t mind her seeing to the animals. You could explain things so well to her by this time eh?”

Although Peter didn’t talk about his condition, we know from an article in the “Northern Advocate”, 10 April 1947 marking his retirement that he was unable to walk for the six months following the polio attack, and went on to say that when his health deteriorated further, it was decided that his only chance was to send him to “sunny New Zealand”.

In common with many polio victims, he suffered a collapsed lung and ribcage,  a hunched back that left him with a permanent stoop and a shortened left leg for which he needed a sole-lift boot – apparently now known as “limb length discrepancy footwear”.

Insensitive as it seems now, for my brothers and I his disability made him different but unremarkable,  and it’s only now that I realise how debilitating his condition would have been throughout his life and, in particular, as a farmhand in a new country.

Peter left to start his new life in New Zealand, sailing for Wellington from London on MV “Rotorua” on 13 February 1913.  On the Passenger List, his age is given as 16 and his occupation “Farmers Assistant”.  It seems hard to believe that a partially crippled teenager would be allowed to travel halfway around the world on his own.  I have discovered that a Mr. and Mrs. Stevens were passengers on the Rotorua but have yet to establish whether or not they were related to the family with whom he later boarded in Paparoa but I’ll keep trying.  And I still have to find out how he came to know the Stevens family. Perhaps his parents arranged it all.  It would be comforting to know that they had.
Whatever the circumstances, one can only admire the courage that it took.

MV Rotorua
Image Credit: gorg8 | Flickr | License

After arrival in Wellington, he made his way to Paparoa, a small village close to the Kaipara Harbour, about 60 km south-west of Whangarei. There is some evidence that he stayed with friends of his, the Stevens family, at “The Pines”, Paparoa, Kaipara, as their address appears on a couple of postcards he received at this time. “The Pines” was for a time a B&B in the brochure for which WH Stevens for whom it was built gets a mention.  It is now privately owned.  On a visit to Paparoa in 2018, I was fortunate enough to be able to get this photograph of the property which shows that the new owners are restoring it to what must have been its former glory:

“The Pines” as it is today, Paparoa, Kaipara District, Northland
19 April 2018
Peter’s first horse – Paparoa Kaipara District, Northland
1914

In the absence of any oral or personal record,  I have had to rely on the  “Northen Advocate” article quoted earlier for information on his years at Paparoa:

“In a very poor state of health, he went to stay with friends at Paparoa. ‘Due to the advice of the local medical practitioner at Paparoa I was able to disappoint everybody, and I continued to live,’ he commented jocularly.
‘The doctor said he could assist me and, on his advice, I was able to take a job milking cows by hand for five shillings a week.  This was in 1915 and I then learned for the first time what work was like in New Zealand.’
After working on this farm for two years Mr. Butler, whose health had improved considerably, took a job in control of a four-horse team, used for ploughing, discing and cultivating.  He was called at 4:30 each morning and had to groom five horses before breakfast. ‘It was hard work, but I enjoyed it,’ he said.
Then in 1916 he took on a fencing contract and by this time his health had improved immeasurably, and he was able to do a hard day’s work with anyone.
He remained on the contract until May 1917, when he was accepted for home service with the NZMC records office at Featherston.”

He had talked about volunteering to serve overseas as an Ambulance driver but given his physical condition, it’s not surprising that the military would have seen clerical duties as being more appropriate.

Thanks to my niece Judy I now have a photo of Peter in his NZMC Uniform and a copy of a page from his Pay Book.  I wonder what the Kit deficiency was that required a £4 deduction from his pay.

Pte. C.P. Butler, New Zealand Medical Corps
1917
Extract from Pay Book – Pte. C.P. Butler NZMC

When searches of World War I personnel records in the NZ Archives or the Auckland Museum failed to find any trace of him, I was referred to the New Zealand Defence Force as a last resort.  Regrettably, as you’ll read in their response of 14 November 2019, this was no more successful:

“Thank you for your enquiry.
We confirm that there are no records held in our archive for your father. We have conducted searches under his name, service number and DOB separately, to ensure we didn’t miss anything.
The pay-book you have enclosed would indicate that your Dad served in NZ only (maybe as a Territorial soldier) and for some reason, his service file wasn’t retained and may have been lost over time.”

One positive outcome of my searches was, however, that his service is now recorded with the Online Cenotaph at the Auckland Museum., for which the link is:https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/185995?n=Cuthbert%20Peter%20Butler&ordinal=0&from=%2Fwar-memorial%2Fonline-cenotaph%2Fsearch

After four or five months when he was granted “leave without pay” he returned to farming, this time to a sheep station.  In April 1919,  Peter returned to England – sailing from Wellington on the SS “Athenic” and arriving in London on 18 Jun 1919.  What motivated him to make the trip is not known but perhaps he wanted to show the family how much his health had improved as a result of living in New Zealand.

RMS Empress of France

For reasons he never shared with us he only stayed six months in England.  He sailed from Liverpool on 7 January 1920 on the “Empress of France’s” maiden voyage disembarking in New Brunswick, Canada, on the 16th.  In what I presume was a happy coincidence, the engines of this ship were designed by Peter’s elder brother, Richard,  who was the engineer-designer for Beardmore’s the Scottish shipbuilders who built her.

Since discovering that his brother Wilfred was in Canada and probably still in hospital in Toronto at this time it seems highly likely that this was the reason for his visit.  Given what we now know of Wilfred’s decision not to join Peter in New Zealand, I have to wonder whether Peter knew of this before travelling there.  If not, I am sure it would have been a great disappointment to him.  If he did know, I wonder whether it was on his own behalf or that of his family, that he made the trip in an attempt to dissuade him from what he eventually did.
I cannot recall Peter ever making any mention of his visit to Canada let alone what may have occurred while he was there, but perhaps he just didn’t want to talk about it.

RMS Makura

And if it had not been for that “Northern Advocate'” article I would not have known that while crossing Canada he developed pneumonia and spent three weeks in hospital in Vancouver.  He sailed home on the RMS  “Makura” which left Vancouver on 23 February 1920, arriving back in Auckland on 16th March.

We can only hope that despite whatever happened in Toronto and his subsequent bout of pneumonia he had the opportunity to explore something of Canada.  It is likely that he would have crossed Canada on the then famous Canadian Pacific Railway.  And to get a taste of what he may have experienced, this rare old movie clip is worth viewing.

 

After this short spell in England, he returned to New Zealand and purchased a small dairying property at Waipu, naming it, perhaps nostalgically, “Garlinge Farm”.  By his own admission, this was not altogether a success and he moved to Whangarei where he joined a local Motor Dealer and Engineer, RA James, as a book-keeper.   Whether before or after his move, I presume Peter must have undertaken some accounting studies to qualify him to take up such a position.

We can only surmise that he met Mary Somner, daughter of a well-known Waipu farming family, about this time.   Without reading too much into it, we wonder if he chose to move to Whangarei to live before or after Mary’s parents moved in 1923 to a new farm near Whangarei.

Soon after this, he was, as reported in Whangarei’s daily newspaper, the “Northern Advocate”, on 22 December 1924, appointed Secretary of the Whangarei A and P Society – a role he filled for 22 years. For some unknown reason, C.P. Butler became P.C. Butler.

This Article appeared on 22 December 1924
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License

The A&P Society held both a summer and winter show and, as a result of his role, for a number of years, I proudly wore the “Steward” ribbon he pinned on me – and gained free entry to the shows.  I must admit that, until recently I didn’t know that he held this position for as long as he did, but thanks to the current Secretary, I now have not only a brief history of the Society (which includes a number of references to him) but a photo of him in the group photo of the Executive taken in 1926 – which just happens to be the earliest photo I have of him.

Image Credit: Whangarei A & P Society | A Social Icon | License

It is said that the path of love never runs smooth, and I can’t help wonder if this was the case with Peter and Mary.  In any event, she sailed for the UK on 26 August 1925 on the SS “Arawa” – arriving in Southampton on 23 November. According to the entry on the Passenger List, she was going to stay at 9 Findhorn Place, Edinburgh.  The owner of the property was Andrew Geddes Scott who happened to be an uncle by marriage.
She was away for nearly 12 months, returning on the SS “Ruahine” which left Southampton on 11 February 1927.  She arrived back in Auckland on 19 March.

The surprising thing, perhaps, was that she and my father married only a month later, on 19 April. Perhaps they needed the break to make sure that marriage was the right thing for them both, particularly given his relative physical disability.  And there is no doubt that Peter was severely disabled.

Emily Merinda Underwood, Cuthbert Peter Butler, Mary Somner, Alex Clarke and Gladys Margaret Jones

Fortunately, we have copies of their Wedding photographs and of the cutting from the “Northern Advocate” reporting the occasion.

This Article appeared on 22 December 1924
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License

Photos: Peter and Mary’s Wedding Day – 19th April 1927

According to the 1925 and 1928 Electoral Rolls they lived somewhere on Kamo Road, Whangarei and, presumably, were still there when Dick was born on 29 November 1929.

Birth Notice – Richard Butler The “Northern Advocate”, 30 November 1929

Peter’s secretarial and accounting business must have grown apace around this time as, in addition to some private clients, he came to hold quite a number of secretaryships.  These included the Maungatapere Sports Committee, the Waikiekie Lime Company, the Whangarei and Northland Sheep Dog Trial clubs, Northland branch of the NZ Pig Breeders’ Association, the Whangarei Acclimatisation Society, the Northland District Pig Council, the Whangarei District Primary Production Council and the Whangarei Jersey Club.

A gathering of Whangarei Acclimatisation Society – 1937-38
Peter and Mary are 4th and 5th from the right, Norm and Dick at the front right.

These, as well as the sampling below of cuttings from the “Northern Advocate”, provide a glimpse of how closely linked his work was with the farming community.  I for one could be forgiven for thinking that he may have bitten off more than he could chew with the number of the secretarial positions he held in addition to his individual client accounts.

This Article appeared on 12 September 1930
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License
This Article appeared on 28 February 1931
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License

He resigned from the secretaryship of the show society in order to accept a position as the accountant to the Cheaper Mutton Company, which was inaugurated by Mr. C. H. Finlayson during the depression years.  But after only a little more than a year there returned to the A & P Society in 1932:

This Article appeared on 24 December 1932
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License
This Advertisement appeared on 29 September 1934
Credit: APN New Zealand |“Northern Advocate” | License

Sadly, Mary lost her first child, a son, stillborn, on 28 February 1928.  She lost another child, a daughter, also stillborn, on 23 May 1935.  As I assume was customary at the time, my brothers and I were never told of these losses and I only learned about them recently.

Peter’s father, Richard Jago Butler died at 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, on 4 March 1931.  He was aged 82.  His widow, Ethel, and Peter’s stepmother was 62.

Norm was born on 20 August 1933 and named Norman John,  I believe after my adopted Uncle Norman, of the Stevens family of Paparoa, mentioned earlier.

Birth Notice – Norman Butler The “Northern Advocate”, 21 August 1933

My earliest memories of where we lived are of a house high on the hill in Jessie Street, Whangarei, New Zealand, which my parents bought from my maternal grandmother, Maria Somner in 1932.  Maria had purchased the property three years earlier.  Whether she moved there when she bought it or later when my parents moved, we do not know, but she certainly lived with them until at least 1935 and perhaps up to the time of her death in 1937.

In the Electoral Rolls, the property on which they lived is just listed as being in Jessie Street, Whangarei. I had always wanted to know where exactly it was and view it if possible but, on more than one visit to Whangarei and any number of drives along the street, I failed to identify it. However, in the “treasure trove” collection of old photographs given to me by my niece, Judy Ward-Butler, were a number of the Jessie Street property. Closer study of these helped me narrow it down to a couple of lots on one of the deposited plans I had obtained from LINZ (Land Information New Zealand) of which DP 8858 proved to be the right one. In fact, it turned out that the “Wharepuke” property comprised three lots, namely 4,5 and 6 on that plan, and totaled a little over two acres. A map showing its actual location appears below:

Location of “Wharepuke” property on Jessie Street, Whangarei

And before you ask, Wharepuke is Maori for “house on the hill”. The property which could best be described as a farmlet shared a boundary with a bush reserve and was overlooked by Mount Parahaka, an old bush-clad volcanic cone that is a Whangarei landmark.

“Wharepuke” I – Jessie Street, Whangarei – Maria Somner, Mary and Dick or Norm on the veranda – c 1932

The weatherboard house was built in the early 1920s and painted a chocolatey brown not unlike the once popular “Mission Brown “of the 1970s.  I have no idea of how big the house was but recall it as having an expansive lawn on which my mother spread newly-bought unbleached calico sheets to be whitened by frost and sun.

At a little over two acres, the property was much been bigger than I recall because there was certainly room enough for it to be run as a small poultry farm from which we sold eggs under the Wharepuke name.  If it was required or not at that time, the eggs were individually rubber-stamped with an oval-shaped “Wharepuke” brand mark.  It is likely that we also sold dressed poultry but, whether we did or not, one of my mother’s specialties, roast chicken with thyme and onion stuffing, appeared on our dinner plates on most Sundays.  My father never used an axe to despatch the chicken chosen for sale or our consumption, relying on the skill he had acquired somewhere of breaking its neck with what appeared to me to be a mere flick of the wrist.

Photos: “Wharepuke”, Jessie Street, Whangarei (1932 to 1941)

Of the few memories I have of the home, I do remember the laundry, the pale green distempered walls and ceiling of which were, much to my mother’s annoyance, discoloured sometimes by the contents of my father’s home-brew bottles that blew their caps.  All such accidents were however forgiven on the arrival of a Beatty electric washing machine with wringer, the cream and pale green enamel of which matched the décor beautifully.

“Desert Gold” Tobacco Tin

The only other room I can recall with any degree of clarity was the large kitchen which, as often was the case in rural areas, was the heart of our home. Here, the large well-scrubbed timber table served as a dining table, desk and workbench for a range of activities including a cigarette production line.  My father was a smoker and, as many did at the time, “rolled his own”.  Always on the look-out for some new gadget he bought a Cigarette Rolling Machine/Cigarette Case and, helped by my mother, each week produced enough to fill it.  His tobacco of choice came in a quite large cylindrical tin which had a horse’s head on it.  That horse, I recently learned, was “Desert Gold”, a famous thoroughbred who raced successfully from 1914 to 1920.

At this time we had what I assume was our first car – an Austin Seven.

 

Peters first Austin 7, perhaps – early 1930

From some recently unearthed photographs, it appears that the first “baby” may have been replaced at least once by a younger sibling:

Photos: “Baby Austin” Family Members – 1932 to 1941

As was the custom of the day, detached from the house was the gable-roofed “motor shed”, as it was then called, to house our black box-like Austin Seven.  Back then in New Zealand anyway, the term garage was used only for the place where you took your motor vehicle for service or repair.  As was not unusual my father did his own “grease and oil changes” and used the trench-like pit in the floor of the garage to do so.  When not in use, the pit was covered with what I remember as very oil-stained planks, that my brother and I were warned never to go near – but we did, of course.

My younger brother, Peter, was born at “Beaulieu”, Dr George Walker’s Hospital in Maunu on 11th July 1940.

Birth Notice – Peter Butler The “Northern Advocate”, 12 July 1940

Peter’s stepmother, Ethel, passed away on 5th April 1940 leaving Peter over £5000 in her Will.  I have little doubt that, given his plans to move closer to the centre of Whangarei – and a new son, too – this could not have been a more timely bequest.

In July 1941, we did move into Whangarei, where Peter built an office to accommodate his growing secretarial and accounting business.  It was unlikely to be a coincidence that the vacant block on which the office was built was right next to their new home.

117 Bank Street, Whangarei
Butler’s Building 117 Bank Street, Whangarei

I have little recollection of the move or, for that matter, much about our home.
I do remember, however, a few things about the building of the office and its occupants.  And, for some unknown reason, I still remember the name of the builder – Doug Kemp of Kemp & Rennie.  A particular memory is of the long discussions Peter had with the builder about what timber was to be used on the floor.  In the end, Jarrah was selected, which the builder had argued against because in his view it was outrageously expensive and, as it was so dense a wood, difficult to nail and sand.  Much to my father’s delight, once laid, sanded and polished, it looked magnificent.

And this was how the Northern Advocate reported its impending completion on 12 April 1941:

The report in the “Northern Advocate” of 12 April 1941 on the impending completion of Butler’s Building

And then the opening on 21 May 1941:

The report in the “Northern Advocate” of 21 May 1941 on the Opening of Butler’s Building

This is the office from where Peter ran his business.  He employed three staff, Nancy Anderson, Marie Povey and Ngaire Woods.  Nancy was “mother hen” to the girls (recruited from the Convent, I suspect), and was in some way related to the Drummonds, who ran a successful Hardware business in Cameron Street.

He later employed, I think straight from Whangarei Boys High School, a trainee Accountant, Fred Philpott.  Fred was called up and served in the Middle East but was captured when Crete was over-run and spent the rest of the war years in one of the Stalag prisoner-of-war camps.  My parents sent him “food parcels” for the rest of the war.  For each one, my mother bought or was given items of clothing as well as food which my father then soldered into a tin before it was wrapped in hessian for despatch.

On his return from overseas, Fred re-joined the business – and later acquired it from my father when he retired in 1947.

I am not sure whether Fred still had the business when the second photo was taken in 1966, but it was certainly still being occupied by an Accountant or Taxation specialist, as the sign over the door proclaims.

Office Building 117 Bank Street, Whangarei, NZ – 1966

The building is no more, having been demolished along with several adjoining properties in the early nineties to make way for a larger development.

During the war, my father was appointed Secretary of the EPS (Emergency Precautions Scheme).  The EPS was set up by the New Zealand government in 1935 to coordinate a national response to natural disasters or enemy attacks. It was mainly concerned with air raids, fires, poison-gas attacks, and earthquakes and was the forerunner of Civil Defence.  In any event, I can recall there being a bucket of sand and a long-handled shovel in the meeting room of the office which was to be used in dealing with incendiary bombs.

Although borrowed from the UK, the office displayed a number of notices like this

Working as they did in what I assume was the Headquarters of the EPS, the “girls” were decked out in a, totally unofficial, khaki military-type uniform and cap.

Moira Povey, Ngaire Woods and Nance Anderson in their EPS Uniforms

Another of Peter’s wartime projects was as Honorary Organiser of the “Allies Fair”, a three-day carnival held in the Whangarei Town Hall to raise funds for the Whangarei Women’s Patriotic Sub-committee.  The Fair’s success was reported in the “Northern Advocate” as follows:

The report in the “Northern Advocate” of 7 November 1941 on the success of the “Allies Fair”

Peter was also an active member of the Rotary Club of Whangarei as evidenced by the following photo and was its President in 1943/44.

Rotary Club of Whangarei – 1938 Peter is at the extreme right of the 3rd row.

The office and our home were within walking distance of St Francis Xavier’s RC Church which we attended – and of St Joseph’s Convent where Dick and I and, I think, Peter received our primary education. Being so close, I seem to remember that my father and I went to Mass every morning – and when I was old enough, served as an altar-boy there. The priests serving in the Whangarei parish were from the Society of Mary who, coincidentally, also ran the two St Patrick’s Colleges in Wellington, one of which, Silverstream, we three boys attended.

One of the priests, a curate I think, was Father Joe Cullen who endeared himself to the congregation by giving short but wonderful sermons. And, if it was a really wet day, would somehow or other shorten the mass so that his parishioners could get home to warmth and their obligatory Sunday roasts. I can certainly recall a sermon he gave on the anatomy and structure of a butterfly’s wings which, given the unusual subject-matter for a sermon, was perhaps surprisingly rewarded with his congregation’s rapt attention.

Interior of Meeanee Observatory 1907

Only recently I learnt that in 1910 the same Father Joe Cullen was one of two seminarians at Mount St Mary’s Seminary at Meeanee, near Greenmeadows, Hawkes Bay (trained by the then rector of the St Patrick’s College, Wellington, and noted astronomer, Father Kennedy) calculated the arrival of and photographed Halley’s Comet.
Their photographs rank among the best in the world for that passage of the comet: NASA republished them in the United States in 1986.

Photo of Halley’s Comet taken from the Observatory attached to Mount St Mary’s Seminary – 15 May 1910

When in 1947  ill health forced him to relinquish many of his posts, Peter sold the business and retired, and he and my mother bought a property at Kamo.  The original purchase comprised some 21 acres and was certainly large enough for my mother to keep horses. The address then was 216 Bay of Islands Road.  It too was called “Wharepuke” – and it was on the top of a hill.

“Wharepuke” II – 216 Kamo Road, Kamo

And, here, thanks to young Peter, is an aerial photo of the property as it was in October 1955.

Wharepuke, Kamo – October 1955

If my memory serves me correctly, they had an old army house moved from somewhere up north – and to all intents and purposes rebuilt it. As you’ll see from the photograph, the house was set quite a long way back from Kamo Road but adjoined the sports ground – where Dick later played football and, certainly later, refereed.  I guess I remember it as being long as one of my boyhood jobs was to mow each side of the drive with a green Bolens Huski Gardener w/ 42″ Sickle Bar which I treated as my own toy!

In early 1948, the first of two subdivisions was completed.  This one involved the creation of 13 building lots fronting Kamo Road leaving some 17 acres which were plenty large enough for my mother to keep a horse or two.  Underlining my parent’s “Catholicity” – or more likely my father’s – two of these lots were given to the church as potential sites for a local church and presbytery.

There had been some thought that part of the property could be cultivated to grow vegetables and, to this end, the Trusty Tractor shown below was bought.

Our trusty “Trusty” tractor

As I only came home from Silverstream during the longer Christmas holidays, I missed out on a lot of what happened during those years.  I don’t think the market garden idea ever came to fruition, but I do have clear memories of Dick ploughing and harrowing “the top paddock” with the trusty “Trusty”!

Whether or not it had been part of their original intentions for the property they subdivided the 17 acres they had retained into two lots, selling the larger 10-acre Lot 1 to John Alfred Brooks on 28th September 1951 perhaps to supplement their income.  During those years, I was still at Silverstream and young Peter was to follow me there for four years from 1951 – and the costs of this alone must have been a considerable drain on their retirement funds.

One of NAF’s Advertisements for a Hillman Minx from 1934

In any event, Peter returned to work in 1951 joining the North Auckland Farmers Co-operative initially as a Stock Clerk and later as head of the Wool Department.  NAF, as it was known, was a traditional stock and station agent offering services to farmers ranging from managing the sales of property, stock and wool as well as selling animal feed, fencing materials, fertiliser, farm machinery trucks – and even cars.

Having to travel into Whangarei itself every day and in need of economical transport, it was about this time that the Hillman must have been replaced with a VW Beetle.   If my memory serves me correctly, it was cream, but with reddish-brown contrast around the windows and over the engine hood.  Here is a photo of it taken in front of their first Kamo home.

That Two-tone VW Beetle outside Peter and Mary’s first Kamo home – and second “Wharepuke”

He was able to lessen his travelling time and work much closer to home when, in 1958, he joined the long-established family-owned Wilkinson’s Bakeries, as their accountant.  He later became Managing Accountant of Northern Bakeries – the result of a merger with another family-owned Whangarei bakery, Davidson’s.  He held this position until his retirement in 1965.

Peter reportedly examining a loaf of bread with Eddie Wilkinson
Courtesy Whangarei Photo News, December 1962
But what I really think he is asking Eddie is “Do you seriously call this a loaf?”

His move to Wilkinson’s had another advantage too in that he could keep an eye on the progress of the second sub-division which was undertaken late in 1961.  It comprised 24 lots most of which were either side of a dog-leg cul-de-sac appropriately named “Butler Place”.  They built a new house on Lot 3 of their subdivision, which became No 5 Butler Place.  And I think I’d be right in saying that this was the only new house they had ever lived in.

5 Butler Place, Kamo – Soon after it was built

Peter had an extensive workshop under the house where he continued his hobby-making.  I do recall he made clocks – at least one grandfather I think – including the mechanism and the cases.  One recollection of this was the use of dentist drill bits that he salvaged from a local dentist named Mac Miller to drill the diabolically hard clock spring metal.  Later he applied his model-making skills to building wooden toys for Dick’s children.

As you may have gathered, my father was an inveterate hobbyist and amateur inventor.  One item that I can recall him making was carving a wolf’s head (to represent Akela) on a piece of red cedar that he mounted on the stave he made for the Cub Master of my Troop.  My brother Peter recalled recently his father developing a tablet-like pad with a form of continuous stationery for NAF Stock Auctioneers to enter the price achieved for each lot rather than dozens of single sheets they used earlier and were prone to be muddied or mislaid.

Peter also recalled Peter senior making a clock for which the pendulum mechanism was powered by magnetic forces.  Today I guess it would be called a clock with an electro-magnetic pendulum.  It could well have been a Gents Pulsynetic Electric Clock that he was rebuilding or a building from scratch.  Whichever it was, he did complete it, and it worked.  But nobody seems to know what happened to it.

And, then there was a self-paced Memory Improvement Learning System which he bought, passed on to me and, later, to Peter and Sue.  It was called the Trent Mind and Memory Development Course and came in a set of seven A5 Lecture Booklets.

On his retirement from Northern Bakeries in early 1965, my parents moved to Russell, buying a one-bedroom bach at what was then 32 Long Beach Road.  Located as it was on what was – and still is – a beautiful and safe beach, Pat, Michael, Carolyn and I made at least one visit there before we moved to Australia in May 1966.  We have a photo or two to prove it, as does one of Dick’s daughters, Judy Ward-Butler, who let me have a number of them taken when they visited in December 1965.

32 Long Beach Road, Russell Bay of Islands – May-June 1966

Photos: 32 (now 145) Long Beach Road, Russell – 1965 to 1969

Beautiful, peaceful and sunny a spot to retire to as any of us could wish for, it seems that the availability of convenient health and ageing support systems in a community as small as Russell’s became a concern.   And it must have been only after much soul-searching that they took the decision in early 1969 to move back to Kamo.

When they returned from Russell they lived in another modest new home which they had built on land they had donated to – and now leased from -the Catholic Church.  Quite apart from the stress of moving itself, this must have been made even more so because, although the Kamo lease ran from April, the Russell property was not sold until the November.

No. 1C Butler Place, Kamo

In May 1971, when his health deteriorated to the point that he needed constant care, Peter moved to St Mary’s Hospital in Onerahi and was cared for by the Sisters of Mary.  The onset of pneumonia exacerbated his polio-damaged lungs and he moved to the Whangarei Public Hospital in early 1972 where he passed away on 25 January.  He was buried the following day at Maunu Cemetery.

The gravestone marking the burial place of Peter and Mary Butler. Maunu Cemetery, Whangarei, Northland.,

ANECDOTES & STORIES

LOCATIONS

Census Data – Cuthbert Peter Butler

Electoral Roll Data

Maps or photos

PICTURE GALLERY

Thanks to Judy, I now have a few more photos of my parents – and these will appear here, as and when…

Peter, Norm, Peter, Dick and Mary – 1942
Dick, Norm, Peter, Mary and Peter – Bank Street, Whangarei – 1946-47
Norm, Mum, Peter and Dad at Norm’s Wedding to Pat Barnes – 10 January 1956

This one was taken I think while they were visiting Dick and Gwen and family – perhaps in Mount Albert in the mid-1980s.

Peter and Mary at Dick and Gwen’s home at Mount Albert Auckland.

DOCUMENTATION

Retirement

“The Northern Advocate”, 10 April 1947

MR BUTLER RETIRES FROM PUBLIC LIFE

RETIRING from public life at the end of last month, Mr C. P. Butler, secretary of a number of important societies and associations with headquarters at Whangarei, can indeed look back on a varied career.

A victim of infantile paralysis at the age of 14 he came to New Zealand 34 years ago when doctors in the Old Country had stated that his only chance was a complete change of climate.

His plans to become a marine engineer went by the board and he tried his hand at various agricultural pursuits before becoming secretary to the Whangarei A. and P. Society in 1925.

Indifferent health necessitated his retirement from that post, and from a number of other important secretary-ships which he had taken up during the past 20 years.

In an interview with an Advocate reporter, he was reluctant to talk about himself and his career, but he eventually unfolded an arresting story of ups and downs and a long fight against poor health.    

Born at Croydon in 1897, Mr Butler, was the son of the late Richard Jago Butler, C.B., who started as a boy in the dockyards and eventually became engineer-controller at the Admiralty—a post which carried with it control of every dockyard in England,

AT SCHOOL IN BELGIUM

One of a family of four boys and one girl, Mr Butler attended the Whitgift Public School at Croydon for a short time and then went to the college of St Francis Xavier, Bruges, Belgium. He remained there until, at the age of 14, he was stricken by in­fantile paralysis.

During his college career, he gained some distinction as a soccer player and as a fast bowler in the cricket team.

For six months he was unable to walk. On his recovery he worked on a large poultry farm near Margate to learn something about a light job, having been told he would never be able to undertake heavy work.

His health deteriorated, and it was decided that his only chance was to send him to “sunny New Zealand,” as it was then called.

Mr Butler arrived in Wellington in 1913, travelling out on the old Rotorua.

In a very poor state of health, he went to stay with friends at Paparoa. “Due to the advice of the local medical practitioner at Paparoa I was able to disappoint everybody, and I continued to live,” he commented jocularly.

5/- A WEEK

“The doctor said he could assist me and, on his advice, I was able to take a job milking cows by hand for five shillings a week.

“This was in 1915 and I then learn­ed for the first time what work was like in New Zealand.”

After working on this farm for two years Mr Butler, whose health had improved considerably, took a job in control of a four-horse team, used for ploughing, discing and cultivating.

He was called at 4:30 each morning and had to groom five horses before breakfast. “It was hard work, but I enjoyed it,” he said,

Then in 1916, he took on a fencing contract and by this time his health had improved immeasurably, and he was able to do a hard day’s work with anyone.

He remained on the contract until May 1917, when he was accepted for home service with the NZMC records office at Featherston.

“This was my first experience of office work and, as a result of it, my health became worse,” Mr Butler said.

After four or five months he was discharged and returned to farming, this time to a sheep station.  In April 1919, he went back to England, but the intense cold and fogs soon convinced him that New Zealand was the only place for him.

He booked his passage back to the Dominion in January 1920.

The return trip across the Atlantic was made in the Empress of France which was making her maiden voyage. The engines of this ship were designed by Mr Butler’s eldest brother who had become engineer-designer for Beardmore’s on the Clyde.

BACK TO N.Z.

While crossing the American continent Mr Butler developed pneumonia and spent three weeks in a hospital at Vancouver

He eventually got back to New Zealand and, in 1921, bought a small property at Waipu, where he started dairying. This venture was not successful and at the end of 1923 Mr Butler left his farm and came to Whangarei where he obtained a position as bookkeeper for Mr R. A. James, who was a motor mechanic.

He was in this position for 14 months. During the presidency of the late Mr H.W. Crawford, Mr Butler was appointed Secretary of the Whangarei A and P Society.

In 1927 he was married to Miss Mary Somner.

He resigned from the secretaryship of the show society in order to accept a position as the accountant to the Cheaper Mutton Company, which was inaugurated by Mr C. H. Finlayson during the depression years.

After more than a year in this job, he returned to his former position in the A and P Society.

MANY SECRETARYSHIPS

Gradually he took on other secretaryships. The Maungatapere Sports Committee was the first of them, then came the Waikiekie Lime Company, the Whangarei Sheep Dog Trial Club and the. Northland Centre of Sheep Dog Trial clubs, the Whangarei Jersey Club, the Northland branch of the New Zea­land Pig Breeders’ Association, the Whangarei Acclimatisation Society, the Northland District Pig Council. the Whangarei District Primary Produc­tion Council, the EPS and other hon­orary organisations.

About six months ago, his health began to deteriorate again and, acting on medical advice, he decided to re­sume the occupation which had in the past proved so beneficial.

Mr Butler is now awaiting confirma­tion of the purchase of a 20-acre prop­erty near Kamo, which he intends to develop into a model smallholding.

The Bank Street property’ has been sold and, with the exception of the A. and P. Society and the Acclimatisa­tion Society, all other organisations have transferred their secretaryships to Mr F. J. Philpott, a returned ser­viceman who is continuing in practice at the premises.

The secretaryships of the A. and P. and Acclimatisation Societies have been taken over by Mr H. F. James.

“The Northern Advocate”, 8 May 1947

WHANGAREI TRIBUTES to Mr and Mrs C.P. BUTLER

TRIBUTES and presentations were made last night to Mr and Mrs C.P. Butler at a social evening to mark Mr Butler’s retirement from active business life in Whangarei.

Representatives from various organisations to which Mr Butler had been secretary wished him and his wife good luck and thanked him for the wonderful work and keen interest he had always shown.

During his stay in Whangarei, Mr Butler was connected with the following organisations all of which were represented last night.

The Whangarei A and P Society, Hibernian Society, Boystown, Primary Production Council, EPS, Whangarei Acclimatisation Society, Northland District Pig Council, Lloyds Insurance, Waikiekie Lime Company, Whangarei Jersey Club, Northland Branch of the New Zealand Pig Breeding Association, Crippled Children’s Society, Rotary Club of Whangarei, Whangarei Cooperative Milk Marketing Company, Northland Sheepdog Trials Club and Meat Export Buying and Transporting Company.

The guests drawn from Mr Butler’s friend and business associates applauded each speaker as he told how Mr Butler had unsparingly laboured to advance these bodies.

In proposing Mr and Mrs Butler’s health, the Mayor (Mr W. Jones) said that in the years that he had known Mr Butler he had found that whenever he was needed he was ready to help and advise.

He had fought his own adversities successfully and had been ever ready to help others.

Mrs Butler he knew was a very kind lady.

To them both, the Mayor extended very best wishes for future happiness.

DIFFICULT PROBLEMS

Mr Butler replied to all the speakers and to his friends, saying that during the years in which he had the privilege of trying to help the district progress he had met some difficult problems, but none so hard as to express what was in the hearts of his wife and himself.

“In connection with my work, you have said many good things, but the success of these various organisations has not been due to me but their chairmen and executive officers,” he said.

I would like to thank my staff for the wonderful assistance they have given me and to state the success of my efforts has been largely due to the cooperation and help of my good wife.

“I sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

“LOYAL, GOOD SERVANT”

On behalf of the Whangarei A and P Society, the chairman (Mr H.W. James) who presided at last night’s gathering, thanked Mr Butler for his long association of nearly 21 years with the Society.

“We are losing a very loyal and good servant,” he said.

Mr James presented Mr Butler with a fire screen and dinner wagon from the A and P Society.

Mr James also told of Mr Butler’s association with the Northland District Pig Council and how he had been the secretary since the council’s inception.

As a gesture to the memory of the late Mr H.E. Johnson, one of the council’s original members who had rendered valuable service to the industry, Mr James asked Mrs Johnson to present Mr Butler with an easy chair from the council.

“The Northern Advocate”, 31 March 1965

“Northern Advocate” – 31 March 1965

Obituary

“The Northern Advocate”, ?? January 1972

Obituary – “Northern Advocate” -January 1972

ANCESTORS

Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
b: 24 Mar 1897
d: 25 Jan 1972
Biography
See attached sources.(Research):Certified copy of Birth Certificate (dated 7 Nov 1988) held.(Medical):Certified copy of Death Certificate (dated 7 February 2005) held.
Facts
  • 24 Mar 1897 - Birth - ; Croydon, Surrey, England
  • 26 Jan 1972 - Burial - ; Maunu Forest Lawn Cemetery, Maunu, New Zealand
  • 25 Jan 1972 - Death - ; Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Ancestors
   
Stephen Butler
- 26 Jun 1863
 
 
Richard Jago Butler
11 Dec 1848 - 4 Mar 1931
  
  
  
Jane Jago
1809 - 18 Nov 1902
 
Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
24 Mar 1897 - 25 Jan 1972
  
 
  
Peter Greetham
20 Sep 1830 - 21 Apr 1883
 
 
Elizabeth Ann Greetham
1 Oct 1859 - 19 Aug 1902
  
  
  
Rosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
Abt 1837 - 30 May 1883
 
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Richard Jago Butler
Birth11 Dec 1848Plympton, St Mary, Devon, England
Death4 Mar 1931 17 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington South, London, England
Marriage9 Jul 1907to Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell at Church of Our Lady and St Philip Neri, Lower Sydenham, Lewisham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Elizabeth Ann Greetham at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherStephen Butler
MotherJane Jago
PARENT (F) Elizabeth Ann Greetham
Birth1 Oct 185922 North Kent Terrace, Woolwich, Kent, England
Death19 Aug 1902 Brinscall, Mayow Road, Sydenham, London, England
Marriage13 Dec 1879to Richard Jago Butler at Parish Church Of St John, Battersea, Surrey, England
FatherPeter Greetham
MotherRosina ("Rose") Ann Nibbs
CHILDREN
FRose Greetham Butler
Birth15 Apr 188126 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death23 Mar 1954Victoria Hospital, Deal, Kent, England
Marriage18 Oct 1906to Reginald Francis Butler at ChristChurch Parish Church, Ealing, Middlesex, England
MEdward Butler
Birth6 Apr 1888Battersea, Surrey, England
Death
MWilfred Joseph Butler
Birth12 Feb 189510 Bartley Road, Croydon, Surrey, England
Death
MCuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
MRichard Jago Butler
Birth16 Feb 188027 Cologne Road, Battersea, England
Death5 Sep 1956Duart Avenue, Prestwick, Scotland
Marriage4 Jun 1907to Christina Edith Whereat at The Church of the Sacred Heart, Norton Road, Hove, Sussex, England
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Cuthbert "Peter" Butler
Birth24 Mar 1897Croydon, Surrey, England
Death25 Jan 1972 Public Hospital, Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Mary Somner at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherRichard Jago Butler
MotherElizabeth Ann Greetham
PARENT (F) Mary Somner
Birth28 Oct 1898Waipu, New Zealand
Death13 Aug 1989 Kamo Home, Kamo, New Zealand
Marriage19 Apr 1927to Cuthbert "Peter" Butler at St Francis Xavier''s Church, Whangarei, New Zealand
FatherFrancis Somner
MotherMaria Campbell
CHILDREN
MNorman John "Norm" Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Carol Anne Wendy Scott
Marriageto Patricia Anne Barnes
MRichard "Dick" Butler
Birth29 Nov 1929Whangarei, New Zealand
Death20 Apr 1998Whangarei, New Zealand
Marriage18 Jan 1958to Gwenyth Julia Forsyth
MPeter Butler
Birth
Death
Marriageto Sue Fendley
Evidence
[S5]Private Family Reseach
Descendancy Chart

EVIDENCE

Sources and citations

Copy of Birth Certificate – Cuthbert Peter Butler
Copy of Death Certificate – Elizabeth Ann Butler (born Greetham)
Copy of Marriage Certificate – Richard Jago Butler and Ethel Emily Northcott Cottell
Citation for Hildegarde Slock-Cottell