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Picture of Martin Butler
Martin Butler
Lance Corporal - Service Number 12/3571

Martin Raymond Butler was the son of Martin and Annie Butler of Pukeroro Cambridge. After schooling he became an engineer and then he enlisted in the Second Battalion of the Auckland Regiment. He sailed with the 9th Reinforcements on the 8th of January, 1916, on the SS Maunganui, HMNZT 37 for Suez. From there, he travelled to France in time for the battle of the Somme.
The battle of the Somme started in July 1916. By September the battle had moved up to a position between High Wood and Flers. The Second Battalion took over a part of Flers trench adjoining Goose Alley, part of these were held by the Germans, on the night of the 18/19th. The Second Battalion was holding about a 1,000 yards of trench. Over the next three days and nights continuous rain turned the trenches into quagmires collapsing the trenches. The troops got cold and miserable. Shelling by German artillery only made things worse. On the night of the 20th of September, the 2nd Canterbury came up to Goose Alley and attacked the German lines. On the morning of the 21st, the Germans counter attacked but were driven back after fierce fighting. They attacked again in the afternoon but were driven back. During the fighting this day, Martin Butler was killed. He was 20 years of age and is commemorated on the Catapillar Valley Memorial, Longueval in the Somme region.