George Albert Butler signature

On this day in 1916 George Albert Butler, a civil engineer, signed up in Montreal. He was born near Deseronto on October 31st, 1876 (probably 1874), the son of Tobias Butler, a lumberman for the Rathbun Company, and Elizabeth (née McVey). Tobias died in 1896 and Elizabeth was living in Belleville at 268 George Street when George enlisted.

George joined the No. 1 Construction Battalion with the regimental number 1081681. He was five feet seven inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. His service record shows that he arrived in England on the SS Northland on September 23rd, 1916 and was promoted to be a sergeant on October 21st. He arrived in France four days later. In February 1917 the No. 1 Construction Battalion’s name was changed to 1st Battalion Canadian Railway Troops. On May 22nd 1917 Butler was promoted to the rank of temporary lieutenant.

On October 3rd, 1917 Butler was arrested and kept in confinement until October 13th, awaiting trial. His service file records the details of his offence and court martial:

George Albert Butler court martial

1.11.17 1st C.R.T In confinement awaiting trial, 3.1017 to 14.10.17
Tried & convicted by F.G.C.M. [Field General Court Martial] of ‘When on Active Service’
(1) A.A. Sec. 19 – Drunkeness, in that he, in the Field, on 3.10.17 was Drunk.
(2) A.A. Sec. 15 (1a) – Absent without leave, in that he, in the Field, 3.10/17 was absent from parade at 6.45 p.m.
Proven guilty on both charges & sentenced to be dismissed from His Majesty’s Service, 14.10.17
Confirmation of sentence recommended by Lieut. General The Earl of Cavan, 18.10.17, and General Sir H. de la P. Gough, 22.10.17.
Sentence confirmed by Sir Douglas Haig, Commander in Chief, British Armies in France, 27.10.17.
(Accused kept in confinement from 3.10.17 until handed over to A.P.M. [Assistant Provost Marshal] XIX Corps on 31.10.17)

George Butler was sent back to England on November 2nd, 1917. It is not clear what happened to him after that.

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