Obituary NZ Mail, 11 December 1891
It is with much regret that we have to chronicle the death of Lieut.-Colonel Butts, which occurred about 6.30 on Saturday evening from a paralytic stroke. The deceased, John Geo. Butts, was 51 years of age and was born at Hartest, Suffolk, England, where his father, the Rev Edward Drury Butts, was incumbent. He left there when quite young, on account of his father going to a place called Melplash, near Bridport, where he lived until he entered the army, in 1861, as ensign in the 2nd Battalion 18th Royal Irish. He was stationed first at Jersey, and then in the Isle of Wight, and in 1863 formed one of the Prince of Wales’ Guard of Honour on the occasion of his marriage. Shortly afterwards he came out with his regiment to this Colony on the occasion of the Maori rising, and served through the Waikato and Wanganui campaigns. The regiment was the last to leave New Zealand in 1869. It was afterwards stationed for some time at Hobart, and after being stationed at several military centres in the Old Country, Lieutenant Butts received his company, being at the same time transferred from th42nd to the 1st battalion of the regiment. Subsequently this regiment was ordered to Malta, and thence in 1874 to India, where he was stationed at Bareilly for some time and then in Ferozepore. During the chief part of his residence there he was paymaster of the regiment. In 1880 the regiment went to Afghanistan, and after remaining with it there for six months he was invalided back home on account of a severe fever he had contracted, and was in 1881 compulsorily retired from t5he service, under the new regulations, at the age of 40. It was then that he came back to New Zealand, and having been in the Colony about four months, the War office did him the high honour of offering him by telegraph reinstatement as Major in his old regiment. However, as the acceptance of this offer would have necessitated his going to India which he was warned against by his physician, he was obliged to refuse, besides which his family affairs rendered any such acceptance almost impossible. In 1887 he was gazetted to the Adjutancy of Volunteers in Wellington, a position he retained until the present government retrenched him in March last. In July 1890, he sustained a paralytic stroke, consequent on overwork, which was followed by a second stroke about two months since. He had been in fairly good health till Friday night last, when about 10 o’clock the third stoke came, and, despite the efforts of Dr Henry, who was immediately called in, he died on Saturday evening without having regained consciousness. He married in 1869 Lucy Anne, daughter of the late Major Nixon, of Wanganui, by whom he had issue, four children – two sons and two daughters – all of whom are now living. The deceased was a member of an ancient family, and was able to trace back his ancestry to very early times in English history. That it has numbered among its members men of prominence may be gathered from the fact that a Sir William Butts was Court physician to Bluff King Hal. A brother of the deceased, Mr E.D. Butts, was formerly Postmaster in this city, and is now occupying a similar position in Dunedin. The ;ate Lieutenant-Colonel Butts was a gentleman highly respected and esteemed by all with whom he came in contact, and his death will be regretted by a large circle of friends and relatives.
The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, the remains being interred with military honours. The funeral cortege left the residence of the deceased, Gordon street, Newtown at 4pm. first came the members of the Permanent /Artillery, with arms reversed, followed be a gun carriage, on which was placed the coffin; with the Union Jack as a pall; and covered with wreaths sent by sympathising friends and relatives as a last token of their regard and esteem. Then came the charger the deceased had been in the habit of riding, with his military boots reversed in the stirrups, and led b y two Permanent Artillery men. The Torpedo Corps followed, after which came the private coaches, the chief mourners being Mr H.P. Butts, son of the deceased, Mr Arthur5 Nixon, his brother-in-law, and Mr T. Butts and Mr H. Radcliffe, nephews of the deceased. At Mount Cook, the procession was formed by detachments from the Wellington Rifles, the Guards, Wellington and Petone Navals, Wellington City Rifles and Heretaunga Mo9unted Infantry., the whole being under the command of Major Newall.
Thence the mournful procession moved slowly on its way to the Sidney street cemetery, the Garrison Band playing at intervals, Beethoven’s Funeral March and Handel’s Dead March in “Saul.” At the Bolton street entrance the body was received by Rev. R. Coffey, whom assisted by the Rev. A.M. Bradbury, officiated at the mortuary chapel and at the graveside. The pall-bearers were Major McCredie, Adjutant Quick, Captains Coleman and Collins, Lieutenant-Commander Duncan, Mr Cole, late 9of the Newton rifles, while Captain Barclay, late of the 24th regiment and Captain Beamish represented the Imperial Army. The other officers present were Lieuts. Hislop and Hume, Wellington Navals; Lieut. Wilson, City Rifles, Lieutenants Isherwood and Duthie, Wellington Rifles; Captain Paterson and Lieutenant Porritt, Wellington Guards; Lieutenant Kirk, Petone Navals; Captain Loveday and Lieutenant Purdy, Heretaunga Mounted Infantry. Lieutenant-Colonel Hume being absent in Auckland, Sub-lieutenant K. Hume, of the Wellington Navals, acted as his deputy. Mr P.S. Garvey attended representing the Prison Department, the late Lieutenan5t-Colonel Butts having been visiting Justice at the time of his death. Mr E. Pearce in his consular uniform, was also present. There was also a large concourse of the general public, including several prominent citizens, the crowd being kept in admirable order by a posse of police under Inspector Thomson and Sergeant-Major Ramsay.
At the conclusion of the service a firing party of the permanent Artillery, under major messenger, fired three volleys over the grave, and the large assemblage of sympathising onlookers quietly dispersed. AWMM