Save the Date: Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Captain Harry Butler's Homecoming Flight August 3rd and 4th 2019
The Harry Butler Centenary Committee is organising a 100th anniversary event for August 3-4 at Minlaton.
Planned events include:
- Guided walks
- Book launch
- Dinner in Minlaton
- Mail drop and fly over (weather permitting)
- Stalls at the oval
- Plaque unveiling
- Model and vintage aircrafts, cars, machines etc.
Profits to the Royal Flying Doctor and local community projects.
Enquires to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Butler Centenary preparations take off ..
PREPARATIONS for the centenary celebrations of Captain Henry John “Harry” Butler’s historic homecoming flight to Minlaton are off to a flying start.
The Harry Butler Centenary Committee is organising a 100th anniversary event for August 3-4.
The weekend will celebrate Harry Butler’s air mail run from Adelaide across Gulf St Vincent to Minlaton, the first ever flight over the gulf, on August 6, 1919.
Courtesy of the Country Times
CELEBRATIONS... Harry Butler Centenary Committee members Julie Searle and Shirley Trevena are excited about the two-day celebration, marking 100 years since Harry Butler’s historic homecoming flight to Minlaton, later this year.
BY AEROPLANE TO MINLATON. Capt. Harry Butler, A.F.C. the brilliant South Australian aviator, who arrived in Adelaide recently, will begin his aerial journey across the gulf to his home at Minlaton this morning from a point north of Adelaide, at about 10.30 o'clock. He expects to reach his destination at 11 a.m. He will carry messages to officials in Minlaton from His Excellency the Governor, who will witness his departure.
OUR OWN AIRMAN Capt H. J. Butler, A.FC. Some of the readers of the PIONEER will call to mind the incident published in 1915 in reference to Harry Butler, of Minlaton. It will be remembered that he was one of a number of candidates waiting to go through an examination prior to proceeding to the Australian Flying School in Melbourne. Some of the students approached our hero, who at that time had not yet had an opportunity of proving his ability as an airman, and enquired his calling. On learning that Harry was a farmer from Minlaton they told him he had no chance in the world of passing the exam. It was a stiff one, they told him, and he had better get back to his farm. It took something pretty solid to damp the spirits of Harry Butler, of Minlaton. He sailed in and passed with flying colors—a regular top-notcher —the only one that got there. Now, after four years' service in the highest and most hazardous school in the world, where he has distinguished himself times without number, we are looking forward to welcoming home from the clouds Capt. Harry Butler, of the Royal Air Force. Capt. Butler has.arrived in Adelaide, and long interviews with him have been published in the daily press. He has brought a £2000 Bristol monoplane back with him, and intends to shun all trains, steamers, sailing ketches, and motor cars, and return home by the air route. He expects to accomplish the journey in less than half an hour. The landing ground will be Mr E. Correll's paddock at Minlaton. Special arrangements are being made for the event. The Captain will give a special aviation demonstration in the afternoon. The exact date and full details will be announced in next issue. An attractive programme for the day is being arranged. There will be a social and dance in the evening.
. . H O M E . .
Dedicated to CAPT. HARRY BUTLER, A.F.C.
Home, mother, home through the spaceless blue:
God sends me home once again to you;
Swift o'er the earth I fly strong and free,
Nearer to heaven—nearer to thee
High in the clouds, I feel thy prayer
Guiding me safely everywhere.
Thy dear face is a beacon light
Drawing me through the heavens bright.
Home my own, I return again
Safe through the winds and unborn rain
Gleams the sun on my monoplane :
Home to my dear old land again.
This proud hour is greatest to me—
Precious to hold in memory—
When angels rode with me to see
The mighty love you bear for me. —
OUR VICTORY IN THE AIR. Chat on Battle Tactics. [By our Special Reporter.] There was once a young farmer who lived on Yorke's Peninsula. At the beginning of 1915 he was following a plough on his father's property, but, if it may be put that way, his heart was not in the land but in the air. He was always dreaming of sailing among the clouds. Some times he did not know which way he was putting the harness on, and more frequently than not it was the wrong end. The furrow, too, was often very crooked. The lad's father thought he might eventually grow out of these anti-agricultural eccentricities, but he got deeper and deeper into them. When nights came he was never, or very rarely, one of the coterie of rural gossipers who gathered around the big fireside and chatted over farming topics. He used to place his hands over his ears and read books on flying. Early in 1915 this young man at last succeeded in breaking the chains of the family tradition and environment, and went across to the aviation school at Point Cook as an air mechanic. He was not long there before he saw there was little chance of getting to the front with the fighters on wings, so he paid his own passage to England, joined the Royal Air Force, became a group commander and fighting instructor, and returned home on Saturday with a row of ribbons. This was Capt. H. J. Butler, of Minlaton. South Australia has lost a good farmer, but gained a dashing young aviator.
It was not Capt. Butler who told me these things. All he would say was that five weeks after he reached England he was sent flying to France, and came back on 'Zepp straffing.' I got those earlier confidences from T. J. Richards, of Malvern, who, with Mrs. Richards, has taken a devoted interest in the captain's romantic career, and his proud host. Capt. Butler showed a determined hostility to the interviewer. He fought him as he would a Hun, only with courteous tactics. To talk of himself or his work was bad form, and unpardonable! Nothing would budge him from that obstinate reserve— it was a personal, not a newspaper, matter. 'I enlisted to do my bit. So far as I could I went and did it, as many others have done, and that's all I ought to say.' That was the defence and I could not break through it— admirable, certainly, but not business.
—Pluck and Luck.—
'Generalize,' I insisted. 'What did you have to do?' 'My duties,' he relaxed a little, although nothing to speak of, ''Were to fly over to France, attach myself to a fighting squadron, scrap with it, and see whether the Huns had developed any new tactics, and come back to my school, where I gave instructions in aerial warfare. My stay in France would extend over eight weeks at a time, and I made seven trips altogether.' ''What is the secret of a successful air fighter? Tell me that.' 'Luck, pluck, and ability. You've got to have all three or something happens. You got into a tight corner, but, if your turn hasn't come, Providence brings you out safely. That's all about it. I always say the whole thing is controlled by Providence — He does the guiding. You want some sort of feeling like that when you are up from 15,000 to 18,000 ft., and some times as high as 20,000 ft.— because these were the altitudes we began fighting in about the middle of 1917— and a mob of Huns catches sight of you. The Germans never attacked if they saw the odds were against them, but a British flier would go up single-handed and tackle a heap of them. I've seen that myself over and over again. Of course, it may have been that they wanted to save men and machines, because the chances of a fellow coming through a scrap like that were a thousand to one — more than that, perhaps. If he had luck he would shoot a few of the enemy machines down and get home with honours, but, if not, the man and the machine would be lost. Probably the Germans took that into account, but I fancy our chaps always had just that bit of extra daring the other side never had. But don't imagine these Hun fliers were cowards. They were mrvellous, brave fellows, lots of them.'
—Behind Scratch And Won.—
'But the Allies' started behind scratch and beat them in the air?' 'Undoubtedly they did, and, if the armistice had not been signed when it was, the Huns would have got it 'fair in the neck.' You have heard about the projected bomb attack on Berlin. Well, everything was ready. Five squadrons of Handley-Pages, 20 machines in each squadron, would have started away at 2 o'clock on the afternoon hostilities ceased. They would lave dropped from 200 to 300 tons of bombs on the Kaiser's capital, and there was nearly a riot among the men who were going when the armistice was announced. They wanted the officers in charge to wink at the armistice, and let them off. I never saw fellows in such a rage. You think of their bad luck for a moment. On November 9 we had all the squadrons ready, at the back of Bruges, for the job. Then a fog set in, and was so thick that air work was stopped until the morning of November 11. The 100 machines would have sailed merrily away at 2 p.m., but the armistice was signed at 10 o'clock. Mind you, the Germans might have given us some trouble, too. They were putting some new and more formidable machines into the business just before the war ended. No doubt we would have beaten them, but they might have given us bother.'
---How We Beat Them---
'How did the Allies get their superiority in the air?' 'By superior machines. In the end they were of better fighting quality than those of the Huns, and tremendous care was taken by the British authorities to make the various types as perfect as possible. Then our fliers were specially selected. In the final months, though, any man who got successfully through his examination was sent over to France, because numbers were wanted, and it was considered that every one would be useful somehow or some where. Do you know how many machines we had at the start of the war? Only 70, and we finished up with 60,000. In the end we developed new and wonderful types, and the one known as the Bristol flier was a marvellous factor in the last and final stages of the combat. While extraordinary advancement was made, and a very reliable engine was manufactured, there is such a wide field of opportunity and experiment here that it may be found in the course of a few years that in 1919, at the end of a great victory in the air, we had still much to learn, and that, so far as some important phases are concerned, the science is still in its infancy.'
—Nothing to Stop Them.—
'Air tactics have presented dramatic changes?' 'They were always changing in some particular. The big point that we had to learn when we began the aerial battles was how to control the machine. It was a mechanical rather than a tactical consideration. The standing nose dives were a great source of worry. We did not know properly how to get the machine out of them. Yet, in the end the standing nose dive developed into a method of escape from the Germans. But when our fellows got, you may say, into, their stride, there was nothing that would stop them. Two or three Huns would scuttle away from one of our squadrons, but I've seen one of our chaps go up and take on 16 of them. My best pal was shot down in this manner just before the armistice. He tackled 16 machines by himself, and shot down eight. That was Major Callahan, and he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. But the most popular of all the great fliers was an Irishman named Capt. Mannicks, who came from Blackrock near Dublin. He shot down a tremendous number of Hun machines, but he never claimed all he got. If he went out with another officer and knocked over two he would pass one of them on to him— that's the sort of soul he was. Mannicks had a fine string of ribbons to finish up with, and he deserved every one, and more beside.'
—To Minlaton in 20 Minutes.—
'Is it true that you are going to fly home to Minlaton?'. ''Yes, I have brought a 'Bristol monoplane back with me. As a matter of fact I sent it on ahead so as to be ready for me when I reached Adelaide, and I was bitterly disappointed on arriving in Melbourne to find it stored away owing to the strike. But I intend to wait in Adelaide until it comes. I said I was going to fly home, and I do not intend to sneak in by the back door now.' 'How long will it take you to set across to Minlaton?' 'My machine is one of the three fastest in the world. With fair weather I ought to do the trip in 20 or 25 minutes.
BY AEROPLANE TO MINLATON. Capt. Harry Butler, A.F.C. the brilliant South Australian aviator, who arrived in Adelaide recently, will begin his aerial journey across the gulf to his home at Minlaton this morning from a point north of Adelaide, at about 10.30 o'clock. He expects to reach his destination at 11 a.m. He will carry messages to officials in Minlaton from His Excellency the Governor, who will witness his departure. Capt. Butler has had a meteoroic career as a flying man. Early in 1916 he reached England and joined the R.F.C. as an air mechanic. After three weeks' service he obtained a commission as second lieutenant. He was subsequently gazetted captain and flight commander, and waa transferred to a school of aerial fighting on the coast of Yorkshire. From group commander he soon rose to be chief fighting instructor at the school, and made many excursions to the western front. In March, 1917, Capt. Butler was mentioned in despatches, and in December, 1918, was awarded the Air Force Cross. During his term of office at the school, it is stated, he looped the loop 1,087 times. After his arrival at Minlaton a welcome home will be tendered to the captain, in which prominent residents of the peninsula will participate. A luncheon will be given, and at 1.30 p.m. Capt. Butler will provide an exhibition of flying. A second flight will take place at 3.30 pm., and after tea a dance will be held in the institute.
Unique Home-Coming. The sixth day of August. nineteen hundred and nineteen, will no doubt be recorded in the annals of Central Yorke Peninsula as one of the greatest occasions in its history. It was on that date that Captain Harry Butler, the daring aviator who had won high distinction during the great War, adopted the novel method of returning to his home at Minlaton by aeroplane.
Capt. Butler had made up his mind before he left London that he would come home by the air route, and great preparations had been made for the event. Minlaton people took the matter up enthusiastically. Energetic committees, with Mr. O. E. W. Bruns as Secretary, were appointed, and it was decided to make it the biggest day in the history of the town. The proceeds were in aid of patriotic funds. The ladies provided abundant food for two meals, and over £120 was taken at the doors. It was estimated that there were nearly 6,000 people on the ground. It was a great crowd, and all were out to do honor to a bold and daring young man who was returning home to his parents by a route of his own choosing and in his own machine - the particular one that he had used in the world's great Metropolis. The motorcars were well over 500 in number, and there were nearly 300 horse vehicles, including two trolly-loads of scholars from the Yorketown State School The gate receipts totalled £ 135, and the patriotic girls sold £100 worth of buttons. A committee of men under Warrant Officer Crawford had prepared a 50-acre paddock (kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. E. Correll) for the reception of the airman. The Minlaton Brass Band, under the conductorship of Bandmaster McKenzie, rendered special
selections. THE COURSE. The route selected was straight 60 miles from the hangar at Dry Creek, a few miles north of Adelaide. The airman left at 10-40 a.m. and when crossing the centre of the Gulf he was some 15,000 feet up, but gradually descended until he reached Port Vincent, when he was only 1700 feet from the earth. He struck a head wind blowing over 70 miles an hour, which retarded the machine a good deal and lengthened the journey to nearly two half-hours instead of only one. He had on board the first aerial mail to Minlaton consisting of over 4,000 cards that had been dispatched by various people to their friends. The machine, which is a Bristol monoplane fitted with 110 h.p engine, consumed 10 gallons of petrol on the trip across. The length of the monoplane is 28ft, and the distance from the tip of the wings is 34 ft. THE ARRIVAL. The Captain was due to arrive at 11 a.m. but on account of the contrary wind it was 11-35 a.m. before
he put in an appearance. When the small speck in the sky was spotted the excitement was intense. Thousands of hands were pointing upwards. "There he is!" "He's coming!" " Look at it—just like a big hawk !" "Isn't it marvellous!" and hundreds of other expressions. Both old and young got excited. When high overhead—some 8,000 feet up—the aviator spotted the landing ground with the big canvas T and the smudge fire at the windward end of it. The impression, on the view-finder of the brain, of that wonderful descent will probably never be forgotten by those who witnessed the unique sight. The machine was wonderfully and skilfully handled. That first appearance of a man coming down from the skies will be indelibly impressed in the memory. The side rolls and spinning nose dive with the sun shining on the bright red paint made a glorious sight. It was a treat to witness. Truly Harry Butler is "some flier."
THE LANDING. It was more than a novel sight, it was wonderful, to see how gently the machine was manipulated to the earth—in fact it looked like a big moth fluttering along seeking a resting place. Our same smiling Harry was there and he was soon up and out of the little cockpit of his machine, waving his gloved hand and his happy jovial face wreathed in smiles. He received a rousing welcome from the assembled multitude. It was a glorious home-coming. Jules Verne wasn't in it and Frank Reade was a long way behind. A motor car brought his
parents and brother and sister to him and the Captain, after an absence of four years, was once more united with them. After the family welcome and handshakes a guard of honor, composed of school children, was formed, and "The Man from the Clouds" was escorted to a special stand. After he had delivered the first aerial mail to the Chairman of the District Council, the official welcome took place.
THE WELCOME HOME Mr. E. Correll (Chairman of the District Council), on behalf of the people of the district, extended a hearty welcome to Captain Butler. They were all pleased and proud to have the Captain home again. In the great world war he had done his duty for his country, his town and district. Capt. Butler was a self-educated man and it was due to his own initiative that he had reached the position he held that day. He had paid his own passage to England and worked his way to the top. The speaker stated that the captain had brought the first aerial mail. He asked the secretary, (Mr. Bruns) to read letters that had been received from His Excellency the Governor, and His Worship the Mayor of Unley City
[His Excellency's Letter.]
Adelaide, Aug. 6, 1919.
"To the Chairman of the Minlaton District Council "
Dear Sir,—I send greetings to Minlaton by that very gallant officer, Capt. H. J. Butler, of whose war efforts the district may be justly proud. Today will be a red letter day in Minlaton, not only because of the safe return home of one of her brave sons, but also owing to the novel manner of his return. I am confident that the welcome the gallant airman will receive on arrival will be a reward to him for all he has gone through during weary years of discomfort and danger. "Hats off to our fighting men on land, and sea, and in the air! "
" H. L. GALWAY."
[From the Mayor of Unley.]
" Mayor's Parlor,
August 6, 1919.
" Dear Sir,—It is now five years since the nation was called upon to forsake for a time the paths of peace for the sterner ways of war. Now, in the rich afterglow, we look back with fine pride on the efforts of our men. In this city we had an enlistment of over 1,450 men, 336 of whom paid the supreme sacrifice. In honoring these men we do not overlook the worth of others. Your distinguished airman, Capt. Butler, A.F.C. (R.A.F.) has been with us since his return from overseas, and it gives me real pleasure to avail myself of his historic flight to the Peninsula to convey to you greetings and congratulations on his safe return to his own people.
" W. H. LANGHAM."
Mr.H. G. Tossell, M.P. said they were brimming over with pride— they were more than pleased that Capt. Butler was an Australian—he was one of their own. Throughout the war our own men had given a good account of themselves and they were proud of them all. He congratulated the Captain on being the first man to cross the Gulf in an aeroplane and they were very proud of him. Turning to the hero of the hour he said—"Capt. Butler, we are grateful for what you have done and we are proud of you."
Dr. Russell, (Mayor of Yorketown) on behalf of Yorketown and district, said he had very much pleasure in joining in the welcome home to Captain Butler. They were all proud of his achievements. Although they had a habit in Yorketown of claiming anybody and anything that was any good, they could not claim the Captain, but they were both pleased and proud that he came from the neighbouring town of Minlaton. (Probably the speaker was not aware at the time that Yorketown was the birthplace of the gallant airman. Ed.) Throughout the world the Captain was known as "Butler of South Australia." and in this State he was known as "Butler of Minlaton" He was recognised as one of the world's most successful flyers— taking death in his hands dozens of times. The Captain had been mentioned in despatches, and for conspicuous bravery had been awarded the Air Force Cross—the most coveted honor in the flying world. The service he had rendered could not be estimated and they were thankful and grateful for it. They were proud of him—as they were of every one of their soldiers. He hoped the Captain would live as long as he wanted to and never want as long as he lived.
Mr. J. Tiddy, Mayor of Maitland extended a hearty welcome to the returned airman. Maitland joined in the welcome home and they were all proud of the work done by the gallant Captain.
THE AIRMAN'S THANKS.
Captain Butler in returning thanks for what he described as "a wonderful welcome ''said he felt too full for words—in fact he could not find words to express the thanks he felt. He had never expected to find such a wonderful welcome. This flying home event was a dream he had had two years before the war and thanks to Providence he had been enabled to carry it out. He was very grateful for the grand reception accorded him. He had only done his bit in the war and not a bit more than other Peninsula boys had done—some were luckier than others—he was one of the lucky ones. He thanked Sergt-Major Crawford and his helpers for what they had done to make his home-coming so successful. A tremendous amount of work had been done in preparing the landing ground. It was arranged quite in accordance with those in the old country and in France, and it was impossible for him to have gone wrong. He had had doubts on the previous evening about the weather holding out for a successful day for the Repatriation Committee. Personally he had decided to come home—neck or nothing. He was very glad to be home again and thanked them all for the wonderful welcome accorded him.
THE AVIATION DISPLAY The Captain gave us three displays of some marvellous manoeuvres. His unerring judgment and perfect control of the "bus " was wonderful. The daring aviator's exhibition of looping the loop, side rolls, spiral nosedives, speed rushes, climbing, descending, etc., was a sight that will never be forgotten. Each time before ascending, the engine, which revolved with the propellor, was worked up to a speed of 80 miles an hour, after gliding along the ground facing the wind for about 100 yards the machine gradually, then swiftly, rose in the air.
The interested onlookers were more than pleased and the Captain was heartily congratulated on his daring display.
A large crowd were present at a dance in the Institute in the evening. Captain Butler was present and met many of his old friends. He returns to Adelaide on Monday and will carry a special mail.
CAPT. BUTLER'S FLIGHT. Familiarity with Press descriptions of aerial voyages in the old world, and even the story of the daring flight across the Atlantic by British aviators, will not detract from the heartiness of South Australia's congratulations to Capt. Harry Butler on the feat he pluckily accomplished yesterday. The journey of about 65 miles from Adelaide across St. Vincent's Gulf to Minlaton was skilfully performed against a stiff west wind in a little more than an hour, and the young aviator won fame as one of the pioneers of aerial services in Australia. There is no mistaking the implications of the spirit and enterprise which he has exhibited. So fascinating were his experiences as an aeronaut— so delightful the sensation of buoyant and rapid movement through the atmosphere — that he was impelled to complete his 'homecoming' like a bird on the wing. Many other young Australian aeronauts have returned or are coming back from the war. Some have earned high honours —the Distinguished Flying Cross and other decorations. To some of them, at least, aviation is a captivating science, if not vocation. So we may confidently look forward to the early utilization of aeroplanes and dirigibles in connection, with transport and recreation in the Commonwealth. Many and highly important are the public services which aeronauts may render in future. The thorough exploration of untraversed areas of the interior might be carried out with little difficulty, and the isolation and loneliness of settlers far away from beaten trades pleasantly relieved by the occasional visits of messengers from the skies. Aviation seems to offer a most effective means of promptly discovering the whereabouts of bush fires, and thereby assisting to save valuable property from destruction. It must be assummed, of course, that the Hon. W. Webster is alive to the practicability of using aircraft to meet various postal requirements.
POSTCARDS BY AIR. When Capt. Harry Butler flew in his aeroplane from Adelaide to Minlaton on Thursday morning he carried a mail made up of 4,000 picture postcards and several newspapers. The cards will constitute a valuable memento of South Australia's first aerial post. They were issued by Dalgety & Co., Limited. On the address side is given a striking panoramic view of the coast lines of the two gulfs, with a monoplane whirling its way over them. On the reverse of the card is a portrait of the aviator and his inscription:— "Souvenir aerial postcard; to be carried by Capt. Harry Butler. A.F.C., on his homeward flight across St. Vincent's Gulf, August, 1919."
Do you have a copy of this postcard?
CAPT. BUTLER'S FLIGHT. ACROSS THE GULF TO MINLATON. This morning Capt Harry Butler, the boy who left his parents' farm at Minlaton early in 1916 to enter the Royal Air Forces, rejoined his family. He literally flew to them, for he arrived home by aeroplane, as he had long ago promised to do. Capt. Butler left his flying headquarters near Adelaide promptly at 10.30 o'clock. Conrad's Estate in the Enfield District was the scene of the "taking-off." The locality had not been divulged, but about a thousand spectators managed to find it. His Excellency the Governor (Sir Henry Galway) and the Chief Justice (Sir George Murray) were present. The weather could hardly have been better, for there was an almost cloudless sky, and a fresh west wind, which enabled the aviator to climb quickly. Within 50 yards Capt. Butler was off the ground, and he rapidly rose in spirals directly over the heads of the onlookers. When he had reached a calculated altitude of 10,000 ft., the flying man headed directly on his course, and was lost to sight immediately. He took just over 10 minutes to reach the desired height. The plane carried a mail, among which was a letter from the Governor to the Chairman (Mr. Correll) and District Councillors of Minlaton, and another from the Mayor of Unley (Mr. W. H. Langham) to the parents of Capt. Butler. A special packet of The Register was included. One paper was sent to Mr. Correll, another to the aviator's father and mother, and others to prominent residents! Within a quarter of an hour of the start nothing remained for the deeply interested spectators to do but endeavour to espy the machine for the last time, and most of them gazed in the wrong direction. Just before he started Capt. Butter endeavoured to encase his shoulders in an inflated motor tire tube, in case he needed it as a lifebuoy, but he discarded it. "Good-bye, Harry," the crowd cried. He waved his hand and said, "No; au revoir"—and au revoir it was.
CAPTAIN BUTLER'S FLIGHT. ENTHUSIASM AT MINLATON. Our correspondent at Minlaton writes: -the flight of Captain Harry Butler (A.F.C.) across the gulf to Minlaton was the sensation of last week. A crowd of 4000 people gathered from ail parts to see the gallant avator descend from the heavens to his home after nearly five years' absence.
The latter is a well-known land owner, and the family are highly respected. Many a load of "diamonds" Harry picked off the land in his younger days. His one companion out in the field or at home was "The Scientific American," and at times his relatives had arguments wiih him hecause his interest in his book was greater than for his work. He prophesised before the war that he would fiy home across the Gulf some day. His arrival and landing were most exciting events, and the welcome he received must have given him great pleasure.
A good crowd assembled to witness his departure, although it was not advertised. It was thrilling to see the great birdlike machine rush for 50 yards on its two wheels, and then gracefully glide skywards. The spectators watched until "he shrank to a speck," some lying full length on the ground to get a better view. Within half an hour he was at the aerodrome at Dry Creek, and had spoken over the telephone to his father. His marvellous exploits abroad, the novelty of seeing theh aeroplane, and his dramatic homecoming all combined to create immense interest, apart from his own personality, which is very winning. His frank, manly, modest bearing, impressed all spectators, and made, their ........................ the more enthusiastic.
WELCOME AT YORKETOWN. YORKETOWN, August 9 Capt. Harry Butler, the notable aviator, paid Yorketown a quiet visit by motor car this afternoon. The news of his presence in the township was leaked out. A bell was procured by Cr. R. Wilkinson and the unusual sound of the ringing soon brought together a large number of people at the post office corner. The airman and Sgt. Major Crawford had been hurriedly entertained by the Mayor and Mayoress (Dr. and Mrs. Russell). No sooner did Capt. Butler and his comrade appear in the street than a rousing cheer greeted them Dr. Russell formally welcomed the captain, on behalf of the residents of the town and district. Responding, Capt. Butler and he was born in Yorketown, not far from the spot where he was then speaking. He thanked the Mayor and residents for their welcome, and promised to pay them a visilt in his flying machine at an early date. Sgt. Major Crawford also acknowledges the welcome. Shortly afterwards Capt. Butler and Sgt. Major Crawford, accompanied by Cr. R. Wilkinson, proceeded to the Soldiers' Memorial Park to ascertain its suitableness as a landing place for his monoplane, and the airman expressed himself as satisfied. The two visitors then returned to Minlaton.
SIXTY-FIVE MILES IN 27 MINUTES. Capt. Butler Back from Minlaton. Although very few people were supposed to have known that Capt. Harry Butler was due to arrive back from Minlaton on Monday morning, the crowd which awaited his at the landing place at Enfield was a large one. His Excellent the Governor (Sir Henry Galway), the Military Commandant (Brig. Gen. Antill, C.B., C.M.G.), the Chief Justice (Sir George Murray), Mr. Justice Buchanan, and the Mayor of Unley (Mr. W. H. Langham) were among the party, which spent about 20 minutes in scanning the cloudless sky in search or the plane. A fairly stiff south-easterly wind was blowing, and there was considerable speculation regarding the direction in which, Capt. Butler would travel. A few minutes before noon, when most eyes were fixed on the western sky, someone happened to look overhead, and there saw the hovering machine. No sooner had the tiny speck arrived directly above the landing ground, than it began to change shape, and those below were astonished to see it coming headlong down in a spinning nose dive. Then, by way of diversion. Capt. Butler looped the loop, and concluded a brilliant descent by skimming over the heads of the onlookers. I had a splendid trip,' he smilingly remarked, as he jumped from his seat. He was warmly received. Sir Henry Galway was one of the first to reach him, and, seizing his right hand in a hearty grip, said 'South Australia is proud of you, Capt. Butler. You made an inspiring descent.' Everybody was proud of him! He brought with him two bags of mail from Minlaton, and no sooner had he alighted from the plane than he personally delivered to Sir Henry Galway and Mr. Langham letters from the Chairman of the District Council of Minlaton (Mr. E. Correll). He also brought a note from his mother thanking Mr. Langham for his message to her. Chatting with a reporter, Capt. Butler said from the time he got his altitude at Minlaton until he reached earth at Enfield the trip occupied 27 minutes. He had had a splendid voyage, and had flown direct from Port Vincent to the Outer Harbour at a height of 17,000 ft. 'You seem to have caused some excitement at Minlaton,' the reporter remarked. 'Yes,' replied the airman and I think I frightened a few people over there. His Excellency the Governor told Capt. Butler that an endeavour was being made by the residents of Kapunda to induce him to fly at a gymkhana to be held at the northern town shortly, Capt. Butler replied that he did not know yet whether that would be possible for him to do so.
Harry Butler's Garage - State Library of South Australia - B 34680
The Hero of the Hour. CAPT. HARRY BUTLER, A.F.C. [Photo taken in 1915, prior to his enlistment.]
In February, 1915, Capt. H. J. Butler, then a young man working on his farm, left the Minlaton district, and after passing an examination which surprised many of the candidates, he entered the Pt. Cook aerodrome, then the Central Flying School, near Melbourne, as an air mechanic. His ability was soon recognized and he was advised to go to England, where young men medically fit, willing, and with the daring spirit required, were eagerly sought after by the Royal Flying Corps, which later developed into that magnificent organization, the Royal Air Force. Early in 1916, Harry Butler, known by his many pals around the Peninsula as ''Butt," reached England and joined the R.F.C. as an air-mechanic. After three weeks service he obtained a commission as 2nd. Lieutenant. Later he passed the necessary and many examinations required by the R.F.C. and was sent to France in July of that year. In 1917 he was appointed a fighting-instructor and sent to the aerial-fighting school, then being formed at Turnberry in Scotland. Harry Butler flew the first machine to the new school under terrible weather conditions and he landed at Turnberry in an exhausted condition. At that time, the many devices for a pilot's comfort, now commonly used, were hardly even thought of, especially for winter flying. Eleven months from the date that he received his commission he was gazetted Captain and Flight Commander, and a few months later was transferred to No 2. School of aerial-fighting on the north-east coast of Yorkshire. From Group Commander he soon rose to be the Chief Fighting Instructor at the school. Captain Butler made several trips to the Western Front and engaged the enemy in aerial combat for the purpose of studying the methods and system of the German air zone. It was while engaged in aerial combat near Douai, in February, 1918 that the Captain was wounded in the head. He was forced to land, but fortunately he had reached our lines. In March 1917 Captain Butler was mentioned in despatches and in December 1918 was awarded the Air Force Cross. During his term of office at the School he looped the loop 1087 times. Over 2700 pupils, fully instructed by the latest methods known in aerial-fighting were turned out during the same period. Captain Butler has received many letters of congratulation and welcome since his arrival in the city. His Excellency the Governor (Sir Henry Galway) expressed a desire that he wished to meet the Captain at Government House. Owing to the strike great difficulty was experienced in getting the machines, engines and spares, and other essential material over from Melbourne. This has now been accomplished and the machine is being set up near Dry Creek. The Captain expects to reach Minlaton at 11 a.m. on Wednesday next, and nothing but a gale of 90 miles per hour or rain at the rate of three inches per hour is going to stop him—bar accidents.