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  • Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
08 Jan 1892
Leeds Yorkshire
Brian Harper was the son of the Reverend Henry Alexander Butler and his wife Annie (née Brinton). His father was born in Cranbrook, Kent, in 1852, the son of Rev. Alfred Stokes Butler and his wife Jane. His father was later rector of Markfield parish church, near Market Bosworth, Leicestershire (d. 1899). His mother was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, in 1855, the daughter of Henry Brinton, a manufacturer, and his wife Martha Eliza. Henry and Ann were married at the The British Consulate Geneva, Switzerland, and afterwards at the English Church, on 10 August 1880. Henry (28), who was in Holy Orders, and Ann (25, no occupation - 'Lady') were both residents at Interlaken. They had at least seven children: Reginald Henry Brinton b. Slingsby, Olive Mary b. 1883, Francis Arthur Henry b. 1884, Robert Whinerey b. 1886 and Joan b. 1888 who were all born in Coventry, and Brian Harper b. 8 January 1892 and Cyril Alexander b. 1895 who were born in Leeds. All the children were baptised at the churches where their father father was either curate or vicar. In 1881 Henry was curate at Slingsby All Saints, Malton, Yorkshire, and later vicar of Coventry St Peter, where four of his children were born between 1883 and 1888. At the time of the 1891 Census, Henry was vicar of Carrington St Paul, near Boston, Lincolnshire. He and Ann had five children, Reginald, Olive, Francis, Robert and Joan, and employed a governess, a cook and a housemaid. Henry was probably appointed vicar of Christ Church, Hunslet, Leeds, later that year, and his sons Brian and Cyril were both born in Leeds. Brian's baptismal record (1892) gave his parents' address as 22 De Grey Road, Leeds. On the 1901 Census, Henry, 'priest in Holy Orders', his wife and three of their sons, Reginald, a civil engineer, Robert and Cyril were living at 2 Crown Point Road, Hunslet. Henry employed a general domestic servant and a housemaid. Of their other four children only Brian has been traced on the census and he was at school in Earlsworth, Monmouthshire, a boarder in the home of one of the school mistresses, Mary Senior, and her husband, a retired farmer. Brian later attended Leeds Grammar School, home address The Vicarage, Meadow Lane, Leeds. Henry Alexander and his wife and at least their six youngest children emigrated to British Columbia, Canada, in 1908. It is possible that their eldest son, Robert, remained in England for a period as there is a record of his marriage to Dorothy M Binns at Holy Trinity, Essex, in 1912. The family may have settled initially in Fort Langley, British Columbia, as Brian was commemorated on its war memorial and a website about the St Andrew's Manse of the Presbyterian Church, Fort Langley, mentions that 'Rev. Henry Butler lived in the house and had some major renovations done in about 1913.' (See 'Extra information' for St George, Fort Langley) Brian was was probably living in the North Thompson River district of British Columbia when he enlisted in 1915. His parents later lived in Kamloops, British Columbia, where Henry Alexander died on 6 June 1938. There is a UK record of Probate as he had modest assets in England; administration was awarded to his married daughter, Joan Watt. Henry's wife Ann also died in Canada. Brian's siblings settled in either Canada or USA. Reginald emigrated to the USA and took US citizenship. Olive married Edgar Phillips Jackson (b. 1874 England) in Canada; he died in Kamloops in 1930 and she died in Victoria BC in 1956. Francis married Margery Ruth (b. Bromsgrove Worcs) and died in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington in 1974. Robert died in Oregon USA in 1952. Joan married Herbert Gordon Watt in Canada; her husband served with the CEF. Cyril may have died in Oregon, USA.
Educated at Leeds Grammar School (1903-1905) and Worksop St Cuthbert College. Emigrated to Canada 1908 and gave his occupation as woodsman when he enlisted in 1915.
23 Apr 1917
167869 - CWGC Website
British Columbia, enlisted Vancouver.
29th Bn British Coliumbia Regiment Canadian Infantry
CWGC: 29th Battalion Canadian Infantry. The 29th Battalion (Vancouver) Canadian Expeditionary Force, was an infantry battalion authorized on 7 November 1914 and recruited in Vancouver and New Westminster, British Columbia. It embarked for Britain on 20 May 1915 then moved to France where it disembarked on 17 September 1915 as part of 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division. The Canadian CEF was later formed into the Canadian Corps (four Divisions). Brian enlisted in Vancouver, Canada, on 27 May 1915. A newspaper report of Brian's death recorded that he had taken part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-12 April 1917). Vimy Ridge was an escarpment 8km from Arras on the western edge of the Douai Plain and gave unobstructed view for tens of miles in all directions. The ridge was held by the Germans from October 1914 and taking and holding the ridge in April 1917 cost the Canadian Corps over 10,000 casualties. The French government ceded Vimy Ridge and the land surrounding it to Canada in perpetuity. The Vimy Memorial was unveiled in 1936. (www.warmuseum.ca/the-battle-of-vimy-ridge) Brian was seriously wounded in action, apparently on 22 April 1917 although his injuries may date to the earlier action on Vimy Ridge. He was admitted to hospital in Boulogne (approx. 95km from Arras) and died in hospital on 23 April following an operation to amputate his arm as a result of gas gangrene. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France (grave ref. IV.C.20). CWGC - History of Boulogne Eastern Cemetery (extract): This is a large civil cemetery which also has a Commonwealth War Graves plot; the headstones are laid flat due to the sandy soil. 'Boulogne, was one of the three base ports most extensively used by the Commonwealth armies on the Western Front throughout the First World War. It was closed and cleared on the 27 August 1914 when the Allies were forced to fall back ahead of the German advance, but was opened again in October and from that month to the end of the war, Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas.' (www.cwgc.org)
Leicester Journal and Midland Counties Advertiser, ‘Marriages’, 20 August 1880: ‘On the 10th inst., at (-) Consulate, Geneva, and afterwards at the English Church, the Rev. Henry Alexander Butler, third son of the Rev. Alfred Stokes Butler, rector of Markfield, Leicester, to Ann, second daughter of the late Henry Brinton Esq., of Francha House, Kidderminster.’ (www.findmypast.co.uk) www.leedsindexers.co.uk/Churches: 'Christ Church Meadow Lane, Hunslet (dem. 1971). The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £260, with residence, erected in 1862-3 in the gift of the vicar of Leeds, and held since 1891 by the Rev. Henry Alexander Butler, of the University of London.' Church of St George, Fort Langley, British Columbia. The present building was completed in 1901 replacing earlier buildings dating from 1859 when the church was founded by a chaplain of the Hudson Bay Company. The church was consecrated in 1908. Until 1987 it was part of a multi-church parish that included St Andrew’s, St Alban’s and St Dunstan’s. (stgeorgeanglican.ca/history) The Province, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 27 April 1917: ‘The name of Pte Brian Harper Butler, son of Rev. HA Butler of Langley Fort, has to be added to the roll of honor of those who have given their lives for their country. He was mortally wounded in action on Sunday, April 22, and conveyed to Boulogne, where he died the following day following gas gangrene, necessitating amputation of the arm. The late Pte. Butler was educated at Leed’s Grammar School and Worksop College, and came to British Columbia in 1908, later settling in North Thompson River district. A friend pays this tribute to him: ‘He loved British Columbia and died for her.’' (www.findagrave.com/memorial/228301990/brian-harper-butler) Yorkshire Evening Post, 28 April 1917: ‘Yorkshire Men Who Have Fallen. The death in hospital is announced from wounds received in action of Brian H Butler, Canadian Battalion, fourth son of the Rev. HA Butler, late vicar of Christ Church, Leeds, and nephew of the Rev. CB Butler, headmaster of Barnsley Grammar School.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) www.langleyheritage.ca: 'Langley’s Brian Harper Butler was born in Yorkshire and enlisted at age 23 with the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles, describing himself as a “woodsman”. He assigned his $15 monthly pay to his father, a minister at Gibsons. Brian Butler served with the 29th Battalion at Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 1917 but died on April 23rd from a gunshot wound in the back. He is buried in the Boulogne East Cemetery at Pas de Calais, France. Learn more about those who sacrificed during the Great War in Warren Sommer’s book, Canucks in Khaki.' www.fortlangleychurches.ca – Service of Remembrance, 11 November 1918, War Memorial, Fort Langley, Vancouver, British Columbia. The names on the order of service of those commemorated on the town's war memorial include that of Brian Harper Butler. gsal.org.uk/alumni [The Grammar School at Leeds]: The website has a Roll of Honour which was created as part of the school’s WW1 centenary commemorations. Brian Harper Butler's name is included on the ROH.
Remembered on


  • Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    Brian Harper Butler - Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. (www.cwgc.org)