April 26, 2012
I was with Butterfield the day before he was killed. Happy to give any info you need.
Richard James Weston, WX 7224--- 24th a/tk Co . [ Our company was later disbanded in Lebanon, and we were
I would be pleased to have anything about Albert that you care to share and we will add it to AHOY.
In reply to your request for information re Albert Butterfield.
Albert was in the 24 th Anti-Tank Coy. of the 9th Division AIF.
We sailed from Fremantle early January1940 on the troop ship Aquitania.
fter arriving in Palestine we spent some time preparing to go across North Africa to occupy territory recently captured from the Italians by the 6 Aus Div AIF.
We reached Tobruk, where our Company was issued with captured Italian 47mm anti-tank guns and trained in their use. It was very hot work, and we quenched our thirst with Italian Vichy water which was stacked everywhere. Albert over-did it a bit and the result was like having a dose of Epsom salts. It effected all of us, but Albert worst of all. We never connected our condition with the Vichy water.
As if that was not enough, the news came through that a large German army had landed well West of Benghazi.
So the whole division packed up and immediately proceeded to Benghazi to greet them. All except our gun: Sgt Jim Thompson, Cpl Bill Beasley, Frank Mann, Dick Martin, and me as junior apprentice. Capt H B Norman told us we were to be ‘rear-guard’ and to wait for a day before leaving.
We were all relieving ourselves regularly, and Alby was a cot case. We took him to the doc. who diagnosed the problem and gave him some pills. And to sleep overnight in the hospital.---Next morning we had to leave, but the doc refused to let Alby come. So we had to go without him.
Later we heard the sad news that while he was still in the hospital tent [which had huge red crosses on the roof], Axis bombers deliberately bombed the hospital, and Albert was killed.
It was our first casualty, and affected us all.
Richard J Weston,
My thanks for the information about Albert.