Remembering Alyn Butler 100 years later

By: Brody Fernandez, Reporter
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Roseville's only battlefield casualty during World War I will be remembered next week during the 100th anniversary of his death.

Private Alyn Butler was with the 110th infantry division out of Philadelphia. He was killed by machine gun fire on Sept. 5, 1918 while advancing on a plateau near the Vesle River in the village of Fismes, France, according to American Legion Post 169 Commander Mike Scott. Butler was 20 years old.

Scott obtained a published document from the U.S. Army from 1920 that detailed Butler’s death and stated that “He was a company runner and a brave soldier.”

The local post of the American Legion changed its name to Alyn W. Butler Post 169 in 1922 to honor the fallen hero. But then Butler's story was lost to many Roseville residents.

In summer 2012 when his 94th anniversary was being celebrated, his great-grandson Harry Butler walked Vernon Street at lunchtime and asked about 50 individuals if they knew who Alyn Butler was. Not one person did, according to a past Press Tribune report.

Alyn Butler graduated from Roseville High School in 1915 and joined the Army shortly after, working for the South Pacific Railroad. He was initially interned in France until the U.S. military returned the remains of Alyn Butler in 1939, according to Scott. He would go on to receive full military honors at the Roseville Cemetery on Berry Street that year.

A group from Alyn W. Butler Post 169 organized a memorial ceremony at the Roseville Cemetery on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 to remember Butler during the 94th anniversary.

“I wanted to do it again this year but it just didn't work out. However, there will be a special recognition at the Butler VFW Post 169 on Sept. 6 (Thursday) in honor of the late World War I veteran,” Scott said. “Any veteran who is interested in joining the American Legion, we meet on the first Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Roseville Veterans Memorial Building at 110 Park Drive in Roseville.”