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Where They Kill Captains: Memories of War 1914-19

Douglas H. Butler

A poignant account of life at the Front during the Great War, vividly relived by the author. Reflecting on his time as a teenager he related, ‘I was very young to be in command of a company at Passchendaele and, looking back, I realise that we were all so very young'.

With anecdotes of the horrors of experiencing the unimaginable scale of death and destruction, interspersed with humour, such as witnessing somebody painting the hairy bits of their body with creosote to discourage the ubiquitous lice, only to end up in hospital! The book also includes some very interesting advice on sex, love and marriage, which were usually far from the thoughts of the men; food was uppermost.

Time moved along its endless groove of boredom, terror, discomfort and good fellowship. The author recalls the pain of writing to families of those killed and, remarkably, meeting one man ‘returning from the dead', very appreciative of the letter's glowing tribute sent to his mother!

Paperback  |   Hardback   |   eBook

ABOUT DOUGLAS H. BUTLER


Douglas Butler was born in September 1896, the youngest of six children. His father was a brewer/wine merchant/publican in Reading and the pub still retains the name ‘The Butler’.

In 1912 he joined the local Lloyds bank as a junior clerk, and later moved to Bristol.

In November 1914 he enlisted in the 4th Gloucester’s, and in March 1919 he returned to the bank.

In November of that year he married Gertrude Smee.

In 1921 his father died and, with the inheritance, he bought a smallholding in Old Windsor, Berkshire, where he kept bees and was a market gardener.

In 1923 his daughter Ruth, (now Ruth Hadman) was born.

He bought Calfway Farm near Bisley, Gloucester, in 1936, and took up dairy farming.

In 1939 he set up the local defence volunteers (to become the Home Guard), as captain.

He sold Calfway Farm in 1945 and bought properties in Torquay and Dartford in Devon, and in 1948 he sold these to buy the Coach House in Burghfield, Berkshire, and became a Bee Disease Control Officer.

In 1970 his wife died of lung cancer, and in 1975 he moved to Bedingham in Norfolk, where he too died of lung cancer in 1978.