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Francis Charles Joseph BUTLER (1915-1940)

Biographical Details

Francis Charles Joseph Butler (1915-1940) was the great-nephew of Eugénie Sladden, being the son of her nephew, Frank Butler.

Francis was born on 24th March 1915 at Carswell Manor, Faringdon.  His birth was noted in a letter written by his grandmother, Fanny Butler, on 29th March 1915, and by his aunt, Polly Robinson, on 2nd April 1915.

Francis was aged only two when his father was killed in Flanders.  He was brought up at Carswell Manor by his widowed mother and was educated at Charterhouse like his father and uncles.

Francis became a noted aviator and served as a Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Service.  He was posted to No 9 Squadron on 21st April 1940 from No 214 Squadron.  On the night of 18th/19th June he went missing in action.  Wellington N2897 took off from RAF Honington at 21.50 hrs on an operation to attack Barge and Leverkusen on the eastern bank of the Rhine.  Seven Wellington aircraft took off that day from RAF Honington on the same operation, but Frank’s aircraft was the only one that failed to return; it is believed it went down in the North Sea.

This situation prompted the legal case "Butler's Settlement Trust, Lloyds Bank Ltd v Ford" (as to whether being reported missing was sufficient evidence of death) and ultimately led to the sale of Carswell Manor when it then became a school.

Francis is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, Panel 7 and on the Charterhouse War Memorial.  There is also a memorial in the church of St Mary the Virgin, Buckland, where his father is commemorated.

Letters mentioning this person: