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Person Details
12 Nov 1895
Belper Derbyshire
Amos Butler was the son of James Butler and Hannah Butler nee Flint. His father James was born in 1855 in Belper, Derbyshire, the son of James Butler, a collier. His mother Hannah Flint, the daughter of William Flint, was born in 1856 also in Belper. They were married in the parish church of Duffield, Derbyshire, on 30 August 1875. James and Hannah and both their witnesses signed the marriage certificate with their marks. James and Hannah had thirteen children of whom only nine survived infancy and childhood. Nine children were named on the census between 1881 and 1911: Mary b. abt. 1877, Walter b. 14 September 1878 (O/N/D Belper) bap. 7 September 1879 Belper St Peter, Martha b. 1881 bap. 29 July 1884 Belper Christ Church, John b. 1882 bap. 29 July 1884 Belper Christ Church, Elizabeth b.1884 bap. 6 September 1885 Belper St Peter, James b. 1891 (A/M/J Belper) bap. 10 January 1892 Belper St Peter, Amos b. 12 November 1895 and Albert b. 1899 (J/A/S Basford). In 1881 James (25), a collier, and Hannah (23) were living at Openwoodgate, Denby, Derbyshire, with their three children Mary (4), Walter (2) and Martha (4 months). They were still living in Derbyshire ten years later in 1891 and they now had six children: Mary (14) who was in work, Walter (12) a coal miner, Martha (10), John (9), Elizabeth (5) and James (1 month). Also living in the household was the widowed Martha Butler (70) who was described as the grandmother but was probably the mother of James senior. Martha probably died later that year (1891 O/N/D Belper, aged 70). The three youngest children - Lucy, Amos and Albert - were born between 1893 and 1899, the youngest, Albert, in Kirkby. The family was registered in East Kirkby at the time of the 1901 Census although only Elizabeth (16) who was in work, James (10), Lucy (8), Amos (7) and Albert (1) were in the home with their parents on the night of the census. By 1911 James (56) and Hannah (54) were living at 36 Ellis Street, East Kirkby; only their two youngest sons, Amos (15) a pit bank boy and Albert (11) were still at home. Amos' parents were still living at 36 Ellis Street when he was killed in 1916.
In 1911 he was a pit bank boy above ground. He gave his occupation as coal miner when he joined the Army in August 1914 but as a pit pony driver when he joined the Royal Navy in February 1915.
31 May 1916
2876016 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
HMS Black Prince Royal Navy
Amos enlisted in the Army at Hucknall on 28 August 1914 giving his age as 18 yrs and 270 days and his occupation as coal miner. He was posted to the Royal Field Artillery (90448 Driver). However, he was discharged from 'A' Battery 49 Bde RFA on 16 February 1915 having served only 173 days, as he was a recruit deemed 'not likely to become an efficient soldier' as in the medical officer's opinion Amos 'had a depressed fracture of skull through an accident several years ago, since when he has suffered constantly from headaches which render him quite useless for active service.' However, days later on 26 February he enlisted in the Royal Navy on a 12 year engagement (5 years regular service, 7 years Royal Fleet Reserve). He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II, 26 February 1915-29 June 1915 (Stoker 2nd Class), HMS Black Prince, 30 June 1915-31 May 1916 (Stoker 1st Class 23 February 1916). Amos died when HMS Black Prince was lost with all hands at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1915. His Naval record was annotated: ‘NP 4065.1916. [discharged dead] 31st May 1916: Killed in action.' His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. The circumstances surrounding the loss of HMS Black Prince were unclear for many years because there were no positive sightings of the ship after 17.42. Recent historians hold to the German account of the ship's sinking. Black Prince briefly engaged the German battleship Rheinland at about 23:35 GMT, scoring two hits with 6-inch shells. Separated from the rest of the British fleet, Black Prince approached the German lines at approximately midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1500 yards of Black Prince - effectively point blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. Black Prince was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from Black Prince's crew, over 850 being killed.
Amos' Army Attestation papers and the RN Registers of Seamen's Services describe distinguishing features as heavy tattoos on his right and left arms including a woman's head, sailor and a bird (left arm), a horse's head and clasped hand (right arm) and an anchor and star on the back of his right hand. Both records describe a depressed scar on the back of his head, presumably from the fractured skull which was referred to in his Army discharge documents. Mansfield Reporter 16 June 1916: ‘North Sea Battle. At present we [have] ascertained there are four Kirkby sailors who sacrificed their lives in the recent Jutland naval battle. These are: Petty Officer (-) Otter of the Invincible, who had been (-) years in the navy, and took part in the Falkland Islands and North Sea Battles, Stoker E Wood, of the Tipperary, Stoker B Atkins, of the Black Prince, and Stoker Butler also of the Black Prince. There were a number of other men engaged in the fighting, but these are all the dead [as far] as we know.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Two of his brothers, John and Albert, also died in the war. Albert was under-age when he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in August 1914 (34707 Private). He served in Gallipoli from 7 August 1915 but ten days later suffered gunshot wounds to his chest on 17 August. He was repatriated to England when his true age was discovered and he was discharged from the Army on 17 November 1915 aged 16 years and 91 days. He died on 30 November 1918 and is buried in Kingsway Old Cemetery, Kirkby in Ashfield (CWGC). John served in the 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters and died from a heart condition on board the Hospital Ship St David on 24 September 1915. He is buried with his younger brother Albert in Kingsway Old Cemetery, Kirkby in Ashsfield (CWGC). All three brothers are commemorated on the Kingsway Memorial, Kirkby in Ashfield. The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History, Dresden: Painting, oil on canvas: ‘SMS Thueringen destroys the English cruiser Black Prince in a night battle at 2am on 1 June.’ Clause Bergen (1885-1964). Caption: 'Present given by the commander of Thueringen, Captain Hans Kuesel, to his nephew in 1921. Bergen established his reputation as a marine painter with depictions of the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June 1916). When the Imperial German Fleet returned home, he was in Wilhelmshaven and asked officers involved in the battle to give him detailed accounts of the events.'
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