Butler, Peter Saumarez

He was the elder son of Vice-Admiral Vernon Saumarez Butler DSO, of Ston Easton, Somerset, and Mrs Helen Nancy Montgomerie Butler (daughter of Admiral Sir Hugh Tothill KCB). He came to Winchester in 1930 from Copthorne.  He was a House Prefect in his last year, and shot for the school at Bisley.

He passed first into Cranwell in 1935, winning the Imperial and War Studies Prize, and received his commission in the RAF in 1937.  He was posted to 49 Squadron, which on the outbreak of war was flying Hampdens from the famous RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. In April 1940 49 Squadron helped to inaugurate the RAF’s sea-mining campaign. Soon afterwards it began to drop bombs as well as mines; on May 15th 49 Squadron participated in the first British bombing mission against the German industries of the Ruhr.

Butler was killed, aged twenty-three, in Hampden P1318 on a mission to Aachen on May 25th 1940. The aircraft took off from Scampton to attack railway targets between Aachen and Krefeld, but came down in the North Sea off the Belgian coast. Two of his crewmen were washed ashore but Butler has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial (panel 5), along with another crew member Sergeant 580653 John Harrison, who is commemorated in panel 15.


War: World War 2

  • Surname: Butler
  • Forenames or initials: Peter Saumarez
  • House: K
  • Years in School: 1930-1935
  • Rank: Flying Officer
  • Regiment: RAF
  • Date of Birth: 28th October 1916
  • Date of Death: 25th May 1940
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner G1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 5