Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
14 Mar 1917
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Second-Lieut Ralph Wycombe Butcher, 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment (attached 22nd Battalion), was killed in action in France on March 14th, 1917. The 21-year-old had initially been reported wounded and missing.
Parents William Joseph and Lily Rhoda Butcher, of Bendrose, Braithwaite Road [later part of Malzeard Road], Luton, were told by their son's commanding officer that Ralph's body had been found by a search party close to the enemy's wires.
He had earlier been seen to have been wounded in the wrist and to have retired to a small bank, where he bound up the wound with his revolver lanyard. He rejoined his men, but was hit by the bursting of a shell nears the German lines. He was buried alongside another officer and several of his men who were killed in the same action.
At the outbreak of war, Lieut Butcher joined the 1st Battalion of the University and Public Schools Corps (Royal Fusiliers). In May 1915 he was gazetted to the Manchester Regiment, and for eight months was superintendent of the Humber Garrison Range-Finding School. He left for France on December 15th, 1915.
He was educated at St Gregory's School in Luton, Mill Hill School and at Neuchatel, Switzerland. His father was a Bute Street pawnbroker and jeweller.
The Butchers had already lost their eldest son, Second-Lieut Richard Norman Butcher, of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, who died on August 5th, 1916, from wounds received six days previously on the Somme.