At the Antwerp Olympics in 1920, Butler won the silver medal in the individual 400 m and anchored the British 4x400 relay team to a gold medal in 3:22.2.
At the 1924 Summer Olympics, Butler won bronze in the 400 m and again anchored the British 4x400 m relay team, this time winning bronze in 3:17.4. In his final Olympics in 1928 he reached the quarter final of the 200 m.
Butler also won the British AAA championships in 440 yd (400 m) in 1919 and in 220 yd (200 m) in 1926. He also ran the 300 yd (270 m) world record of 30.6 in 1926.
After his athletics career, Butler was a schoolmaster, then an athletics journalist and was a pioneer of filming athletes in action.