The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7460) Private Edward Butt, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2016.2.125
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 4 May 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted byRichard Cruise , the story for this day was on (7460) Private Edward Butt, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

7460 Private Edward Butt, 3rd Battalion, AIF
KIA 23 August 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 4 May 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Edward Butt.

Edward Butt, known as “Ted”, was born in 1898, the eldest of 11 children born to John and Isabella Butt of New South Wales. His father worked for the government on the Main Roads Board at Yass for more than a decade, before taking on a position on the Murrungal Shire Maintenance Staff at Boorowa. Edward was brought up in the district of Rye Park, where he attended the local school and went on to become a labourer. It was reported that he “was thought a great deal of by all who knew him”.

Edward Butt enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in May 1917 at the age of 18. His decision to enlist seems to have come fairly suddenly, but despite the short notice a good number of people from Rye Park were able to gather together to give Butt and his fellow enlistee Henry O’Keefe a send-off to “wish the lads God speed”.

Butt was posted to the 3rd Battalion and, after a period of training in Australia, left for active service overseas in October 1917. He continued his training in England, and finally arrived in France to fight on the Western Front in April 1918.

Butt wrote home regularly during his time overseas. By mid-1918 he had related being under severe fire several times, and that he had lost several of his mates. Nevertheless, he expected the allies to launch an extended campaign against the Germans soon, and was “looking forward to getting some of his own back in the Big Push”.

In early August 1918 the 3rd Battalion participated in the battle of Amiens, a stunning victory against the Germans that advanced the front line by several miles. The battalion continued the fight with only a few days out of the line for several weeks. On 23 August 1918 it was called on to attack the village of Proyart. Despite sustaining a number of casualties from heavy machine-gun fire, the 3rd Battalion was able to capture all of its objectives.

One of the 28 men killed during that operation was Private Edward Butt. Little is known of the exact manner of his death, but his body was removed from the battlefield and buried in the Heath Cemetery at Harbonnières. Private Edward Butt was 20 years old.

He was not the only one in his family to die serving Australia during times of war. In November 1942 his younger brother Private Frank Henry Butt was killed in action in Papua at the age of 33, and is buried in the Bomana Cemetery in Port Moresby.

Private Butt’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Edward Butt, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7460) Private Edward Butt, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)