Early and personal life
Alfred Butler was born in 1880 as the second son of Robert Frederick Butler of Lynford Gardens, Hampstead. In 1905, he married Grace Blunt, daughter of Mr. J. Hughes Blunt of Huntingdon, and had two daughters. Butler died on 22 December 1946 at St John's Wood in London, and was survived by his wife and daughters.
In the First World War, Butler served with the 8th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. While a temporary Second Lieutenant, he was awarded the Military Cross. The citation reads:
|“||For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of a raid. He took up his duties at short notice, and was responsible for the training, of the party. He repelled an attempted counter-attack, and after inflicting considerable casualties successfully withdrew his party some 450 yards to our line, in spite of an enemy barrage across "No Man's Land."||”|
Heraldic and genealogical career
At the age of 17, Butler became a clerk to Henry Burke, then Somerset Herald. In 1919, on Burke's promotion to Garter Principal King of Arms, Butler became his secretary, and continued in this post until Burke's death in 1930. Burke specialised in genealogy, and Butler learned a lot from him, eventually being regarded as the foremost genealogist of his generation. During this time Butler also edited Burke's Peerage, from 1922 – 1926.
Butler became an officer of arms in his own right, being appointed Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1926, and promoted to Windsor Herald of Arms in Ordinary in 1931. He was also made the Genealogist of the Order of the Bath in 1930, and Honorary Genealogist of the Royal Victorian Order in 1938. He resigned from both of these offices shortly before his death.
Other honours and appointments
Coat of arms
As might be expected of an officer of arms, Butler bore a coat of arms. This was blazoned
- (Arms) Argent on a chief indented sable 3 covered cups or
- (Crest) On a torse argent and sable a vine fructed proper supported by two eagles argent
- (Motto) Je sers
- Obituary in The Times, 24 December 1946
- "No. 30651". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 April 1918. p. 4997.
- The College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street : being the sixteenth and final monograph of the London Survey Committee, Walter H. Godfrey, assisted by Sir Anthony Wagner, with a complete list of the officers of arms, prepared by H. Stanford London, (London, 1963)
- "No. 33185". The London Gazette. 23 July 1926. p. 4868.
- "No. 33688". The London Gazette. 10 February 1931. p. 927.
- "No. 33653". The London Gazette. 17 October 1930. p. 6314.
- "No. 34579". The London Gazette. 13 December 1938. p. 7911.
- "No. 37760". The London Gazette. 15 October 1946. p. 5095.
- "No. 37774". The London Gazette. 1 November 1946. p. 5361.
- American Society of Genealogists: All Fellows.
- "No. 33618". The London Gazette. 24 June 1930. p. 3956.
- "No. 33618". The London Gazette. 26 June 1934. p. 4058.