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BUTCHER, Eric Thomas (1918-1941) +

BUTCHER, Eric Thomas (1918-1941)

Eric Thomas Butcher was born on 8 February 1918, the son of Revd. Thomas William and Grace Eliza, nee Trevena), of Coburg. He was enrolled at Geelong from 9 February 1927 to March 1930 College after previously attending Flinders State School, Geelong. His address at enrolment was 223 Pakington St, Geelong West.

When his family left Geelong, he went to Launceston Grammar School and later Wesley College. In 1936, he joined the staff of the Bank of New South Wales, and was for a time in the Geelong Branch. He was studying Commerce at the University and joined the Militia, enlisting (No. VX 15913) as a private in the AIF early in 1940.

He went overseas with D Company, 2/2nd Pioneers, and was killed in action in Syria on 27 June 1941, after a fortnight of active service. D Company suffered heavily in the attack (on Merdjahoun) losing two officers, including D Company commander Captain Richard Andrew Camm. Twenty-three other ranks were killed and two subsequently died of wounds, in addition to the men who had been wounded and those captured. Eric Butcher was buried in the Damascus British War Cemetery, Grave P.25.

His brother, Alfred Dunbavin Butcher CMG AO (1915-1990), was also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: 'Geelong Collegians at the Second World War and Subsequent Conflicts p12-13 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; E F Aitken, 'The Story of the 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion'; Photo - The Pegasus).

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