Researching DFM for Brian Saunders Butterfield RAFVR (202491 and 1893098)

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by wibs12, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member


    Done a bit if research into family ancesoers during WW1 and WW2 but not specifically in relation to medals / awards.

    A friend at work has found out her dad received the DFM during WW2 but knows little of the reason why and I'm trying to help her. She has his original handwritten Flying Log book which is fascinating, but little else. I'm going to help her apply for his records through the MOD.

    Are there any records specific to researching DFM's in WW2 I have the Gazette notice but that's simply a one line notification.

    His details at the time of the award were:

    Name: Brian Saunders BUTTERFIELD
    Number: 1893098 (went on to become Pilot Officer with number 202491)
    Date of Gazette: 04 December 1945
    635 Squadron out of Downham Market - see below.
    At the time, I believe he was either a Flight Engineer or a Flight Sergeant on Lancasters / Halifax's

    re the Squadron…. her records indicate he was with 635 Squadron based at Downham Market from Dec 1944 to May 1945 so unsure about why the Gazette notice would be Dec 1945? It may have been usual for notices to be delayed (?) or he may have been attached back to 635 for a specific mission (?) - don't know…… so the actual action could have been anytime between May 1944 and Dec 1945.

    If anyone can help shed light on how to research DFM's for WW2 I'd be very grateful.

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    DFM citations are at the National Archives. I have them all in the 2 Vol work by Tavender. I'll try and find time tonight and type it up for you. If not give me a nudge on Sunday.
  3. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Stunning Drew, ta very much…
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From the Distinguished Flying Medal Register Vol.1 by Ian Tavender

    1893098 Flight Sergeant Brian Saunders Butterfield, 635 Squadron, RAF

    Sorties 51

    Flying Hours 239.13

    Flight Engineer

    Flight Sergeant Butterfield has completed a total of 51 operational sorties against the enemy. During one period of five days, he participated in attacks against heavily defended targets of Dortmund, Wuppertal, Zweibrucken, Hagen and Nuremburg. He has at all times displayed determination and reliability of the highest order and has been an inspiring example to other Flight Engineers in the Squadron.

    20th May 1945
  5. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    You are a prince amongst men….. top banana……… on behalf of what will be one very happy and grateful daughter of this man, thank you very much.

    Drew5233 likes this.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Ha..No worries mate. Glad to help ;)
  7. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    At the time, I believe he was either a Flight Engineer or a Flight Sergeant on Lancaster / Halifax

    For what it's worth - he could have been both. Flight Sergeant is a rank and Flight Engineer is a trade. The minimum rank (post 1940?) for a Flight Engineer was Sergeant.
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    B S Butterfield's RAF service number is in a block allocated to those who joined the service at Euston in January 1943.His time in the RAF can be only be appreciated by access to his service record which appears to have been initiated.

    If direct entry,he would have received ITW induction training, F E structured training,(possibly at at St Athan 500 FEs trained per week at the peak ) ,OTU and the HCU course before being posted to No 635 Squadron.The squadron was formed within No 8 PF Group as a wartime Lancaster squadron on 20 March 1944 at Downham Market as BC expanded with increasing strength.....formed from the experience of one Flight from No 35 Squadron and one Flight from No 97 Squadron....both Lancaster Pathfinder squadrons.The remaining third would have been made by newcomer HCU graduate crews.B S Butterfield might have remustered from a groundcrew role or served with another squadron as there seem to be an extended time from joining the RAF and appearing on No 635 Squadron in December 1944.

    At the time of his service.....the rules were subject to continual review and for direct entry the rules were changed from June 1943.... from this change,B S Butterfield would remain as an AC2...... no reclassification to AC1 and LAC until he completed FE training and received his FE brevet.If he had remustered he might have held the classification of AC1 or possibly LAC ....on graduation as a direct entry or as a remusterer, he would be promoted to Sergeant and would follow the uncommisioned promotion progress unless he was commissioned.

    What is known is that B.S Butterfield was commissioned,uncomissioned rank not known but would be at least Sergeant rank and was commissioned as a P/O (probationary). He may have stayed in the RAF postwar unless he was awaiting demob for in the LG,he is shown on as being promoted wef 22 July 1946 from P/O (prob) to F/O (subs)...substantive.There were a number of such promotions at a time when the RAF was being rapidly run down in squadron strength and manpower....No 635 Squadron itself was disbanded on 1 September 1945

    From that,F/O B S Butterfield must have served on another flying unit after No 635 Squadron was disbanded since he is shown as being in the General Duties Branch which was the RAF category for commissioned officer flying duties
    AlanW likes this.
  9. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    Cheers Harry….. all good stuff and new information for me, thank you…………. I may be able to get some more details from his flying log which if possible I'll post some details from tomorrow….
  10. Stephen Crabtree

    Stephen Crabtree New Member

    I know this is not exactly what this forum is for but, Brian was one of my father Alberts best friends, My dad always kept in touch with him since they were kids in Middleton (Leeds) and the last time I saw him was at dads funeral about a year before Brian died. We used to visit him in Otley where he had a pet shop with his wife Peggy, Please pas on to Margaret my Best Wishes He Really was a very lovely generous man.
    Kindest Regards
    Steve Crabtree
    Harry Ree likes this.
  11. wibs12

    wibs12 Well-Known Member

    PM reply sent, thank you.

  12. AlanW

    AlanW Senior Member

    As Harry said in his last post, F/Sgt Butterfield must have previously served with another squadron prior to 635, to account for the 51 ops mentioned, as according to the ORB, he flew his first op with the squadron on 7th March 45, with F/Lt D.H. Courtenay as pilot. According to the ORB he flew 13 ops, the last being to Heligoland on 18th April 45.

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