David Butcher was born in Washington in 1890 and on his eighteenth birthday joined the Royal Navy, signing up for twelve years. However, after three years he became medically unfit and was discharged from service.
In 1914 when war broke out he was one of the first from Storrington to join up. Assigned to the Royal Sussex Regiment he went to the training camp at Shoreham but sadly he was declared medically unfit for service. A month later he joined the Army Veterinary Corps as a Horsekeeper and was sent to France.
In November 1916 he transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery, posted as a driver joining the Leicester Royal Horse Artillery. Over time he was hospitalised on several occasions and was finally invalided back to the United Kingdom and discharged from service in October 1918. He was eventually sent to the Grosvenor Sanatorium in Kennington where on 22nd October 1919 he passed away. He was just 29 years old with a wife and two children.
Project work in 2014 on Storrington’s War Memorial and Roll of Honour by the Storrington Local History Group discovered that David’s grave could not be identified in St Mary’s churchyard. The members of the group wrote to the CWGC to get him the recognition for his war service with a headstone as his medical records stated that his disabilities were attributable to “service during the present war”. In 2018 David’s name was added to the CWGC Book of Remembrance and a CWGC headstone was erected in the churchyard on a spot overlooking where his grave is believed to be.
On 2nd April 2023, a dedication service of the new Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone took place at St Mary’s churchyard, Storrington. In attendance were the Storrington Local History Group, supported by the Storrington and District Museum, Storrington Branch of the Royal British Legion, Armed service associations and the family of David Butcher..
Standard Bearers, including the Sussex County Standard parade for the service
The Revd Rupert Toovey blesses the headstone during the service