John Fitzhardinge Paul Butler

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John Fitzhardinge Paul Butler
Born (1888-12-20)20 December 1888
Berkeley, Gloucestershire
Died 5 September 1916(1916-09-05) (aged 27)
Matombo, German East Africa
Buried Morogoro Cemetery, Tanzania
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1907–1916
Rank Captain
Unit King's Royal Rifle Corps

First World War

Awards Victoria Cross
Distinguished Service Order
Relations Edric Gifford, 3rd Baron Gifford VC (uncle)

John Fitzhardinge Paul Butler VC, DSO (20 December 1888 – 5 September 1916) was a British Army officer during the First World War and an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Butler was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, on 20 December 1888 to Lieutenant Colonel Francis John Paul Butler and the Hon. Elspeth Butler (née Gifford), daughter of Robert Gifford, 2nd Baron Gifford. Butler was thus the nephew of fellow Victoria Cross recipient Edric Gifford, 3rd Baron Gifford.

In February 1907, Butler was commissioned into the King's Royal Rifle Corps.[1] He was married, to Alice Amelia of Portfield, Chichester.

Military career[edit]

Butlerwas 25 years old, and a lieutenant in The King's Royal Rifle Corps, attached to Pioneer Company, Gold Coast Regiment, West African Frontier Force, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 17 November 1914 in the Cameroons, Nigeria.


For most conspicuous bravery in the Cameroons, West Africa. On 17th November, 1914, with a party of 13 men, he went into the thick bush and at once attacked the enemy, in strength about 100, including several Europeans, defeated them, and captured their machine gun and many loads of ammunition. On 27th December, 1914, when on patrol duty, with a few men, he swam the Ekam River, which was held by the enemy, alone and in the face of a brisk fire, completed his reconnaissance on the further bank, and returned in safety. Two of his men were wounded while he was actually in the water

— The London Gazette, 23 August 1915[2]

He was awarded the DSO the following year. He later achieved the rank of captain, and was killed in action at Motomba on 5 September 1916. [3]


His medal is displayed at the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum in Winchester.


  1. ^ KRRC Association Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "No. 29272". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 August 1915. p. 8373. 
  3. ^ Butler, John Fitzhardinge Paul, Commonwealth War Graves Commission