1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Butler, Sir William Francis

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BUTLER, SIR WILLIAM FRANCIS (1838- ), British soldier, entered the army as an ensign in 1858, becoming captain in 1872 and major in 1874. He took part with distinction in the Red River expedition (1870-71) and the Ashanti operations of 1873-74 under Wolseley, and received the C.B. in 1874. He served with the same general in the Zulu War (brevet lieut.-colonel), the campaign of Tel-el-Kebir, after which he was made an aide-de-camp to the queen, and the Sudan 1884-85, being employed as colonel on the staff 1885, and brigadier-general 1885-1886. In the latter year he was made a K.C.B. He was colonel on the staff in Egypt 1890-1892, and brigadier-general there until 1892, when he was promoted major-general and stationed at Aldershot, after which he commanded the southeastern district. In 1898 he succeeded General Goodenough as commander-in-chief in South Africa, with the local rank of lieutenant-general. For a short period (Dec. 1898-Feb. 1899), during the absence of Sir Alfred Milner in England, he acted as high commissioner, and as such and subsequently in his military capacity he expressed views on the subject of the probabilities of war which were not approved by the home government; he was consequently ordered home to command the western district, and held this post until 1905. He also held the Aldershot command for a brief period in 1900-1901. Sir William Butler was promoted lieutenant-general in 1900. He had long been known as a descriptive writer, since his publication of The Great Lone Land (1872) and other works, and he was the biographer (1899) of Sir George Colley. He married in 1877 Miss Elizabeth Thompson, an accomplished painter of battle-scenes, notably "The Roll Call" (1874), "Quatre Bras" (1875), "Rorke's Drift" (1881), "The Camel Corps" (1891), and "The Dawn of Waterloo" (1895).