William John Button GC (Direct Recipient)

b. 30/11/1903 Lower Weston, Bath, Somerset. d. 10/03/1969 Bath, Somerset.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 18/08/1940 London.

William John “Jack” Button (1903-1969) was born on 30th November 1903 in Lower Weston, near Bath, Somerset, one of five children of William and Elizabeth Ann Button (nee Filer) who lived In 40 Hungerford Road. William senior worked as an engine driver at a nearby gas works. Little is known of William junior’s childhood and schooling, and all that is known about his employment before the outbreak of the Second World War was that he worked for a time as a grave digger. Jack, as he became known, married Lilian Frankham, and they went on to a son Alan and a daughter Joyce.

William J Button GC

On the outbreak of the war, William, who had been a member of the Territorial Army was called up and joined the Corps of Royal Engineers. He became part of No 48 Bomb Disposal Section and rose to the rank of Lance Sergeant.

On the 18th August 1940 in London, his section was involved in the excavation of an unexploded bomb. Although he well knew that, owing to the time already spent on excavation, the bomb could explode at any moment, he continued his work with his men with great coolness. Eventually the bomb did explode killing 5 of his men, and throwing him a great distance. Although considerably shaken, he collected the rest of his men at a safe distance, ascertained that none of them were injured, notified the First Aid Detachment and reported to his section officer.

William was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division on 17th September 1940, though with the creation of the George Cross less than a week later, he never received an EGM. After the end of the war, Jack held a number of different jobs including as a printer’s assistant at Pitman Press. He and his family lived in Dorset Street, Bath.

Jack passed away on 10th March 1969 in Bath, and following a cremation, his ashes were scattered in Haycombe Cemetery. His GC, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal and Territorial Efficiency Medal (12 years service in the TA) are proudly held by the Button family.





Marion Hebblethwaite – Image of William Button GC.