Archiver > IRL-CARLOW > 2010-01 > 1262474092

From: michael purcell <>
Subject: [IRL-CARLOW] Sir Thomas Butler, 12th Baronet Butler of Clogrennan,County Carlow. 1994.
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 23:14:52 +0000

*Transcribed by Mary Corcoran, Oct. 2009.
Obituary of Colonel Sir Thomas Butler of Ballintemple, Ardattin, Carlow, by
Michael Purcell, April 1994.
Colonel Sir Thomas Butler Bt. who died on the 9th April last was the 12th
Baronet Butler of Clogrennan, County Carlow. *
*He was born in Carlow in September 1910 at a time when the family doctor
was out riding with the Carlow Hunt , upon been told of the impending
delivery the doctor replied " tell them to delay the event until we've
killed the fox". *
*The Butler family settled in Carlow circa 1500. At one time they owned over
30,000 acres of land and several houses in Carlow. The late Sir Thomas
maintained a home at Ballintemple and up to a short time before his death at
the age of 83 he was fishing on the Slaney river with his friend Robin
Eustace Harvey.

During the Second World War Thomas served with the Grenadier Guards and was
engaged in action in France and Belgium. Following the surrender of Belgium
his mixed force of several surviving Guards battalions, with no transport
or weapons, withdrew to France from where they set sail to England. *
*He was then posted to Damascus and the Western Desert as an officer with
the 6th Battalion Grenadier Guards.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) for his gallantry
during the battle of Mareth in 1943. *
*Butler was the commander of the company leading the attack on the elite
German Infantry 90th Light Afrika Korps, which shortly before had been under
the command of General Erwin Rommel, holding the Mareth Line. His battalion
passed through minefields and mined wire whilst encountering the enemy whom
they fought with small-arms fire and bayonets. Half of Butler's company was
wiped out and during the battle he was wounded twice.*
*He was taken prisoner along with two fellow officers by the Germans . The
two officers were later shot dead as they attempted to escape. During his
captivity Butler was nursed back to health and later made several attempts
to escape.
Finally following the surrender of Italy, Butler along with another officer
managed to escape from the Modena prisoner of war camp. He had to walk for
over 400 miles, still in pain from his injuries , criss-crossing the
Apennines in freezing conditions before meeting up with the advancing
British army.
In 1946 his Battalion provided firing squads to carry out the death penalty
on German war criminals. Having learned of the extent of their criminality
he had no sympathy for those sentenced to death by the War Crimes
Commission. When he returned to London after the war he found that his
London home had been demolished during a German air raid on the city.
In 1952 Butler was appointed Assistant Quartermaster General, London. In
1953 under the command of The Earl Marshall for the Coronation of Queen
Elizabeth, he had responsibility for administration and quartering of the
16,000 Commonwealth officers and troops who were in London to take part in
the Coronation ceremony.
In 1954 he was invested with the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.).
Following the death of his father, Pierce Butler, in March 1955 Thomas
succeeded to the title 12th Baronet Butler of Clogrennan. In 1957 he became
Lieutenant Colonel in command of the Grenadier Guards. He visited Thailand
as military advisor to the Thai army, reviewing troops and inspecting
military installations. In 1959 he was appointed to head the defence staff
of the High Commissioner in New Zealand.
His next post was as Resident Governor of the Tower of London where he lived
with his family in the Queen's House, which had been built for Anne Boleyn
and was said to be haunted by her. Following the State Funeral of Winston
Churchill in 1965 Thomas was in charge of receiving the coffin into the
Tower for loading on a barge to carry the remains up the river Thames to
Waterloo Station. *
*In 1967 he oversaw the transference of the Crown Jewels to the newly built
Jewel House. *
*In 1968 he held the office of Keeper of the Jewel House and kept the keys
in a secret place in the house. During his time as Resident Governor of the
Tower many people from Carlow experienced his hospitality and were often
taken on "inside" tours of the Tower. Some local lads from the Carlow branch
of the FCA recall such a welcome on one of their visits to London. *
* In 1966 Corona Lecky-Watson from Altamont House and her new husband Garry
North on their honeymoon slept in Anne Boleyn's bed as guest of Thomas and
his wife. I am grateful to Corona and her sister Diana Lecky-Watson Curtis
for much of the information contained in this obituary
In 1970 Thomas was invested as a Commander, Royal Victorian Order (C.V.O.).
Following his retirement as Governor in 1971 Thomas and his family returned
to Ballintemple where, despite the fact that his family home had been
accidently burnt down in 1917, he spent many healthy and happy years
fishing, wildfowling and enjoying the company of his family and friends. He
was an advisor to the Imperial War Museum in London and was also active in
charitable work on behalf of the Cheshire Homes. He was the author of
three publications " Tower of London" " The Crown Jewels and Coronation
Cermony" and "Crown Jewels and Coronation Ritual", they are now collectors
items and are much sought after.*
*He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Liege, daughters, Caroline and
Virginia and his son, Richard Pierce Butler who now succeeds to the title
of 13th Baronet Butler, of Clogrennan County Carlow. M.P.

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