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 Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:49 pm

Born in County Tipperary, Ireland in 1838 and educated in Dublin. At the age of 20 he entered the 69th Regiment at Fermoy and served between 1860-4 in Madras. He served as intelligence officer under Colonel Garnet Wolseley in the Red River Expedition in Canada in 1870. He stayed on in Canada to investigate conditions in the west at the request of the Canadian Government. One of his recommendations led to the establishment of the North West Mounted Police. His account of his time there was published in 'The Great Lone Land' in 1872. Wolseley employed Butler in Ashanti in 1873 and he was to make his first visit to South Africa in 1875 when he again served under Wolseley who was Governor and High Commissioner. He joined the staff of the War Office, and in 1877 he married Miss Elizabeth Thompson, the famous painter. He next saw service in the Zulu War and in Egypt. From 1893 to 1896 he commanded a brigade at Aldershot. At the end of 1898, he was placed in command of the troops at the Cape, but generated resentment for suggesting a large forces would be needed to subdue the Boers. He was criticised for his remarks and he resigned in September 1899. He was placed in command of the Western district in England. He retired in 1905 and died in Jun 1910.

He was born Oct 31, 1838. He has had a brilliant military career, including many years' service in different parts of The African Continent, since he joined the 69th Foot in 1858. His first active service was with the field force which repelled the incursion of the Fenians into Canada in 1870-1, and he was later employed as Special Commissioner to the Saskatchewan Indians. Sir William served throughout the Ashanti War, 1873-4; served in Natal in 1875, was DAQ MG to Army Headquarters, 1875-9, AAG and QMG South Africa, 1879-89; held the same appointments in the Western District, 1880-2; with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in 1882, and served in a similar capacity in the Nile Expedition in 1884-5. He commanded a brigade of the Egyptian Frontier Field Force in 1885-6, and held other appointments in Egypt till late in 1893. In November, 1898, he was appointed to the command of the Cape forces. It was during this command that he made the report as to the improbability of the available forces of the Cape being sufficient to successfully withstand an invasion of the Boers—a report or warning which was not well received at headquarters. General Butler took over the command of the Western District (Eng.) in Sep, 1899, and in 1905 took temporary-charge of the Second Army Corps during the absence of Sir Ian Hamilton in the East during the Russo-Japanese War. In the same year he relinquished his command. Sir Wm. Butler is a Liberal in politics, and a prospective candidate for East Leeds at the next election. Sir William Butler has written a considerable number of books, including The Great Lone Land—one result of his services in 1870—The Campaign of the Cataracts and the lives of General Gordon, Sir Chas. Napier, and Sir Geo. Colley. He married Miss Elizabeth Thompson, the distinguished painter of military subjects.


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PostSubject: Re: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:16 pm

Born at Suirville, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, 31 October, 1838; died 7 June, 1910, was the son of Richard and Ellen Butler. His family had been settled on their estates in Tipperary since Thomas Butler, tenth Earl of Ormonde, had received grants of land from Queen Elizabeth after the suppression of the Desmond rebellion in 1584. The great famine of 1847 and scenes of suffering and eviction were amongst his earliest recollections. He was educated chiefly by the Jesuits at Tullabeg College, King's Co. In 1858 he received a commission in the 69th Regiment, which he joined at the depot at Fermoy, and after two years he was sent to Madras. The regiment returned to England in 1864, and on the way Butler visited the Island of St. Helena, led thither by his profound veneration for Napoleon. In 1867 he visited Canada for the first time, and went back there again after a brief visit to Ireland, with a mission from Colonel Wolseley to find out the true state of feeling in the Red River settlement. In October, 1870, he was intrusted with a fresh mission to report on the need of troops, the fur trade, the Indians etc., in Saskatchewan, following the course of the Saskatchewan River from Carlton to the Rocky Mountains. The story of this winter journey and his share in the Red River expedition is told in "The Great Lone Land", first published in 1872.

Sir Garnet Wolseley made his famous expedition to Ashanti in West Africa in 1873. To Butler he entrusted the task of intercepting the Ashanti Army whilst retreating across the River Prah. This proved impossible, for though he induced 1400 Akims to move forward with him to within 20 miles of Coomassie they took alarm at the last moment and went home. The full story of his share in the Ashanti War is given in "Akim-foo, the History of a Failure" (London, 1875). Wolseley reported of him: "He has effected a most important diversion in favour of the main body and has detained before him all the forces of one of the most powerful Ashanti chiefs." He was now promoted major and made a Companion of the Bath. The opening months of 1875 saw him start for Natal on the staff of Sir Garnet Wolseley, who had been sent out as governor and high commissioner. Butler was named protector of Indian immigrants and had to report on the land system then existing in the colony. To the insight then gained into South African problems he attributes, to a great extent, the accuracy of certain warnings of his a quarter of a century later before the outbreak of the Boer War.

At the close of 1875 he joined the staff of the War Office, and in 1877 he married Miss Elizabeth Thompson, the painter of the "Roll Call", "Quatre Bras", and other famous battle scenes. After the disaster of Isandula in the Zulu War, he was sent again to Natal, but through ill luck was kept at the base and saw no fighting. Promotion to lieutenant-colonel followed on his return to England, for services in Natal, and the Marquis of Ripon, Viceroy of India, proposed him for his private secretary, but Gladstone refused his sanction on the score of Butler's being a Catholic. In the Egyptian campaign of 1882 he saw much hard service, and was present at the engagements of El Magfar, Tel-e-Mahouta, Kassassin, and the night attack on the Egyptian lines at Tel-el-Kebir.
After the campaign he returned to England and started once again for "the great prairies and the pine forests" of Canada. He visited many of the scenes of his earlier travels, but within a few months was back in London, and was discussing with Lord Wolseley the various routes by which the garrisons at Khartoum might be reached, and General Gordon saved. To Butler were entrusted, when at last the relief expedition was a certainty, the procuring of 400 boats, and the getting of these boats, with their troops and provisions, up the cataracts of the Nile. This was effected by almost superhuman efforts against time and the unfavourable state of the Nile, then rapidly falling. His task accomplished, he was sent on under General Earle, who led the river column of advance upon Khartoum. He took part in the heavy fighting at Kirbekam, and indeed the success of that action has always been attributed to his foresight. After the fall of Khartoum, he was left in command at Meroe, and brought the troops stationed there in safety to Dongola. In September, 1885, he was in command at Wady Halfa, and successfully kept the forces of the Mahdi at bay till re-enforcements arrived from England. He commanded the division of Gen. Stephenson's army engaged in the action at Ginniss and was mentioned in the highest terms in despatches. Finding no appointment open to him in England on his return, he betook himself to Brittany with his family, where he wrote "The Campaign of the Cataracts" (1887) and "The Life of General Gordon" (1889), and subsequently to Ireland, where he made the acquaintance of Parnell. During his stay in Brittany he was made K.C.B. (Knight Commander of the Bath) for his services in Egypt and the Sudan. In 1890 he returned to Egypt to take command at Alexandria, and was promoted major-general in 1892. During the intervals of leave from his duties at Alexandria he travelled a great deal, visiting, amongst other places, the sacred sites of Palestine, which had always had a deep interest and attraction for him. From 1893 to 1896 he commanded a brigade at Aldershot, being transferred in the latter year to the command of the South-Eastern district of England. In the autumn of 1898 he went to South Africa as commander-in-chief and high commissioner during the absence of Sir Alfred Milner. In the latter capacity he strove to avert a war which he saw was bound to result in calamity both for England and South Africa, and as commander-in-chief he tried to show the Government the inadequacy of their preparations and what a war with the Transvaal would really mean. His attitude did not find favour at home and he was severely criticised for having stated in his capacity as high commissioner that he considered South Africa in need of "no surgical operation".

In September, 1899, he resigned his command and came home. He saw no active service during the war, remaining in command of the Western District of England. He also commanded at Aldershot and in the Southern District. In 1903 he headed the commission of enquiry into the scandals connected with stores and supplies during the war, and in October, 1905, having reached the age limit of sixty-seven, he was placed on the retired list. The few years of life which remained to him he spent in Ireland, devoted chiefly to the cause of education. He was a frequent lecturer both in Dublin and the provinces on historical, social, and economic questions. He was a member of the senate of the National University of Ireland, and a commissioner of the Board of National Education. In June, 1906, he was appointed Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, and in 1909 he was made a member of the Irish Privy Council. He died fortified by the rites of the Church, and was buried with full military honours at Killardrich, Co. Tipperary. Besides the books already mentioned, Sir William Butler was the author of several important works, chief among which are the military biographies of Sir Charles Napier (1890) and Sir George Colley (1899). The latter appeared a few months before the outbreak of the Boer War. He was working at the last chapters of his autobiography at the time of his death.
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PostSubject: Re: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:39 pm

No 3 Tregunter Road Finborough Theatre.
from 1878-80 - General Sir William Butler (1838-1910) and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Butler (1850-1933), military painter. Sir William Butler, an Irish Catholic, fought in Canada, the First Ashanti War, the Zulu War, Egypt and the Sudan. In 1898, he was Commander-in-Chief in South Africa. From December 1898 until February 1899, he acted as High Commissioner for South Africa, and expressed views on the subject of the probabilities of war which were not welcome to the government in Westminster, who were then doing their best to provoke the Second Boer War. He was consequently ordered home, where he held the Aldershot command for a brief period in 1900 to 1901, and then the Western District until 1905. He was also an author, and a supporter of Irish Home Rule.

His wife, Lady Elizabeth, was the sister of the poet Alice Meynell, and one of the nation's leading painters of military scenes. Her Calling the Roll After an Engagement, Crimea (1874) was so popular that crowds had to be held back to protect it, and it was eventually bought by Queen Victoria. Other military scenes which followed included Quatre Bras (1875), the moving Balaclava (1876) and the much reproduced Scotland for Ever (1881). In 1879, she failed by two votes to be elected to the Royal Academy.

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PostSubject: Re: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:12 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:38 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Butler, Lieutenant-General Sir William Francis Butler, KCB   Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:09 pm

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"Elizabeth Thompson was born in Lausanne in 1846. Her sister, Alice Thompson, was born the following year. Both Elizabeth's parents were interested in art and at an early age she was encouraged to paint and draw. At first Elizabeth concentrated on painting portraits and landscapes but after visiting France, where she saw paintings inspired by the Franco-Prussian War, she began to paint military subjects.

In 1874 submitted a painting entitled the Roll Call to the Royal Academy in London. The selection committee were impressed and decided to include it in the Academy's yearly exhibition. The painting caused a sensation. Crowds flocked to the Academy to see the painting. It was so popular that it was decided to take the painting on a tour around the country. Wherever it went, large queues formed to see the picture.

There was also great competition to buy the Roll Call but when Queen Victoria made it clear that she wanted it, the other bidders agreed to withdraw their bids. However, Victoria did agree that an engraving should be made of the picture. Prints were made from the engraving and this allowed thousands of people all over Britain to have their own copy of the Roll Call hanging on their wall.

The main reason why Elizabeth's painting created such a sensation was that she had taken a completely new approach to military paintings. Up until this time military paintings had shown "panoramic views of battles or scenes of gallant officers performing heroic deeds". However, Elizabeth had painted a picture of a group of British soldiers after they had taken part in a battle during the Crimean War. Unlike previous military painters, Butler was interested in recording the pain and suffering of ordinary soldiers.

Roll Call also caused a sensation because it was painted by a woman. In the nineteenth century there were few women artists. Those that did paint, did not paint military subjects. Elizabeth Thompson helped to change peoples' attitudes towards women artists. John Ruskin, Britain's leading art critic at the time wrote: "I have always said that no women could paint." After seeing Roll Call Ruskin admitted he had been wrong.

By 1875 Thompson was the most popular and well-known painter in Britain. For the next five years large sums of money were paid for her military paintings. Elizabeth always took great care to make sure details of her picture was correct. Soldiers who had taken part in the battle would visit her studio in Portsmouth. These men would pose for her wearing the uniforms and carrying the weapons that they had used during the battle.

In 1877, Elizabeth married Major William Butler. Her husband came from a poor Roman Catholic family from Ireland. William had strong opinions about the way the Catholics had been treated in Ireland. His views had an influence on Elizabeth. For example, while living in Ireland, Elizabeth Thompson heard of a Catholic woman who was about to be evicted from her home. Elizabeth hurried to the scene and arrived to find the women's cabin had been destroyed by the landlord. While the women searched the ruins for her belongings, Elizabeth set up her easel and began to paint the scene. For historical reasons the British public had little sympathy for the plight of the Catholics in Ireland. Elizabeth's painting Evicted was unpopular in Britain and failed to find a buyer.

The public were also beginning to turn against Elizabeth's military paintings. During the first Boer War (1880-81) people in Britain became very patriotic. They now wanted pictures that glorified British victories. Some people began to complain that Elizabeth's paintings undermined the morale of the British soldiers. Paintings that emphasised the pain and suffering of soldiers were unlikely to encourage men to join the British army. After 1881 Elizabeth found it very difficult to sell her paintings. Although Elizabeth Thompson continued to paint military pictures until her death in 1933, she was never again to achieve the popularity that she enjoyed in the early part of her career."

Elizabeth Thompson described the painting of The Defence of Rorke's Drift in 1879.

"I reproduced the event (the Battle of Rorke's Drift) from the private's point of view - not mine, as the witnesses were from the ranks".

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