Scroll To Top
australian rowers profiles and history

Leonard Y Butler

Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Leonard Yeoland Butler was an active and successful rower prior to WWI.

His regatta wins included:

1908 - Footscray Regatta. Maiden Eight, four seat - First

1911 - Melbourne Regatta, Junior eight, four seat - First

1911 Mercantile Junior Eight with Leonard Butler in the four seat

Mercantile winning the junior eight at the Melbourne Regatta in 1911 - Leonard Butler in the four seat

However he was seriously wounded at Gallipoli and returned to Australia in 1916. He was never to row again. 

The 1915-16 club annual report recorded: "We very much regret to report that Private L Y Butler, a member of long standing and one highly esteemed, has been so badly wounded as to be permanently disabled."

He was the Club's first casualty of WWI.

Leonard enlisted on 18th September 1914, one of the first people to do so: service number 337. He was a single 29 year clerk at the time.

He embarked for Gallipoli from Alexandria on 16th May 1915 as a member of the 8th Light Horse and was wounded on 30th June 1915, no doubt very shortly after his arrival at ANZAC Cove. His war was very short.

He received a gun shot wound to the right thigh breaking his femur (thigh bone). By mid July he was dangerously ill, no doubt from infection. His leg was amputated and by mid August was taken off the dangerously ill list. Leonard returned to Australia at the end of August 1916.

Leonard lived a long life thereafter and died on 9th September 1953. His obituary in the 1953-54 annual report included the following comments:

Mr. Len Butler's membership extended over a period of 50 years.

Owing to injuries received while in active service in the 1914-18 war, he was not able, on his return to Australia, to do any active rowing. But right up to the time of his death his interest in the Club never waned, and he rarely missed any of its functions.

He was a fine example of that loyalty which has been such a strong feature of our Club throughout its history. 

Andrew Guerin
October 2021

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management