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eMedals-A George Cross Ribbon Bar Attributed to Dr. Arthur Richard "Dick" Cecil Butson AM/GC, OMM, CD*, CStJ

Item: C4366

A George Cross Ribbon Bar Attributed to Dr. Arthur Richard "Dick" Cecil Butson AM/GC, OMM, CD*, CStJ

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A George Cross Ribbon Bar Attributed to Dr. Arthur Richard "Dick" Cecil Butson AM/GC, OMM, CD*, CStJ

Canada. George Cross Ribbon Bar Attributed to Dr. Arthur Richard "Dick" Cecil Butson AM/GC, OMM, CD*, CStJ : Frosted silver 8 mm x 10.5 mm miniature George Cross sewn in place, on an original 10.7 mm x 36.5 mm ribbon bar, with safety pin attachment, scattered frosting wear on the cross, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a Letterhead for Dr. A.R.C. Butson (inscribed "A.R.C. BUTSON, G.C., M.D., F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (C) / SUITE 804, 25 CHARLTON AVE. E. / HAMILTON 20, ONTARIO" and "TELEPHONE 528-8911", handwritten inscription in blue ink "This is the original ribbon from my George Cross" and signed by "A R C Butson", 216 mm x 280 mm, fold marks, slightly soiled); a booklet entitled "A History of The Medical Units of Hamilton, Ontario In Peace and War 1900-1990", authored "by A.R.C. Butson, GC, OMM, CD", cover in a dark beige card stock, forty-four pages printed in black ink on a white papers stock, 137 mm x 216 mm, dual-staple bound); and five articles from the Hamilton Spectator.

Footnote: Colonel Arthur Richard Cecil Butson, GC, OMM, CD and Bar was born on October 24, 1922 in Hankow, China, the son of British parents. He was educated in England at Leighton Park School in Reading and then at the University of Cambridge and University College Hospital, receiving his MB, BChir (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) in 1945 and his MA (Master of Arts) in 1946 from Cambridge. During the Second World War, Butson served in the Home Guard as a despatch rider and in a Light Rescue Squad in London during the Blitz and was a medical student during the war. For his Second World war service, Butson was awarded the Defence Medal. In 1946, he married Joyce Scott Cowell, the couple having two daughters, Sarah Louise Butson and Caroline Butson and by 1947, Dr. Butson was now a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Britain had compulsory National Service at the time and Butson noticed that there was a position for a physician, to join a Combined Forces Expedition team to the Antarctic. He was one of five physicians who applied, with the selection panel members being one of his former professors. The professor asked him if he was the young man who had scaled the wall of one of the university buildings: he had. His love of hiking and mountain climbing, plus a friendly professor on the committee helped him get selected. Butson joined the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) in the Antarctic from 1946 to 1948 in the roll of Medical Officer. Several of his companions on this expedition had been extensively decorated for their Second World War service and proved to be life-long friends, most of them and those who would later know him, commonly referring to him as "Dick". The (FIDS) originated in 1943, when an expedition left Britain to establish Antarctic bases on Deception Island in the South Shetlands and on Goudier Islet in Port Lockroy. After the end of the Second World War, responsibility for the expeditions was transferred from the Admiralty to the Colonial Office. This expedition also included Kevin Walton, a future George Cross recipient. In 1947, the FIDS, under the leadership of Major Butler, drew up a programme with the United States Ronne Antarctic Expedition (RARE), under Commander Ronne, for their joint co-operation during the sledging season. In order to provide better weather forecasting for the long exploratory and survey flight Commander Ronne intended to make, two meteorological stations were set up. One was at an altitude of 5,600 foot on the Graham Land plateau, north-east of Stonington Island, while the other was established on the shelf ice off a point shown on some charts as Cape Keeler. The expedition found a route for dog teams over the 5,000-foot high mountains of the Graham Land Peninsula and surveyed the last thousand miles of the most inaccessible coastline of the world. During July, the RARE planned to sledge supplies to the base on Graham Land, with the first attempt being unsuccessful. On the evening of July 26th, two men were left on the plateau at 4,700 feet, while the rest of their party returned for fresh supplies. Bad weather had set in, damaging their tent and while returning to base on foot, Peterson, an American, fell into a deep crevasse. His companion marked the spot and walked the six miles back to base, arriving alone in the dark. Teams from both camps were sent to the rescue, but the hazards of crossing a heavily crevassed glacier were greatly increased by darkness. Fortunately, it was a clear night with a full moon, the only night like that for several days, and at 4 am on the morning of July 27th, they found the crevasse into which Peterson had fallen. Butson, the FIDS Medical Officer, immediately volunteered to be lowered into the crevasse. He found Peterson 106 feet down, suffering from shock and exhaustion, but conscious. The tapered sides of the crevasse had broken his fall, otherwise he would have been killed. The American’s pelvis and legs were trapped in the lower, narrow part of the crack. To try to free them, Butson had to work head down, with he himself getting stuck several times. At this point the two men heard a loud noise and the sound of cracking, warning them that several million tons of ice were on the move. Butson felt the crevasse narrow by about half an inch on either side of his chest, but he managed to extricate himself and tried to work faster. For nearly an hour, in an extremely confined space, he chipped the ice away until he was able to free Peterson. The American was not seriously injured, so Butson placed a rope sling under his thigh and called to the men above to pull. After several attempts, Peterson suddenly became dislodged and shot upwards to the surface, where he was quickly put inside a tent, the American suffering only bruises and minor lacerations. The rope was lowered again and the equipment hauled up, with Butson taking another hour to chip himself free, before being himself raised to the surface and administering the necessary medical aid to Peterson. At dawn, the party returned to base, carrying the American on one of the sledges, with Peterson recovering after a few weeks’ rest. Butson described the events of that fateful day: "When I got down to Peterson, I found him so tightly wedged in the narrowing crevasse that I could not get down to his level without removing some of my clothes. His haversack was throttling him so I first had to cut the strap. He was wedged head down with his shoulders across the crevasse. I pulled his shoulders around so that freed his chest a little. I was then able to get two slings under his thighs. While doing all this there were loud cracks and booming noises from the glacier’s movement and I felt the pressure on myself of the glacial movement. Those above could not hear me well so when I asked them to pull a little I could not stop them when Peterson screamed. He suddenly shot up from the wedged position like a cork out of a champagne bottle. When nearly at the top it looked as he was falling out of the slings and was going to land back on me! He was, however, pulled out by those on top. I got out after the equipment had been hauled up. The miracle of the rescue was in finding the small hole in the crevasse bridge in a glacier six miles by eight miles in the dark of Antarctic night. Peterson subsequently served in the US Marines in the Korean War. He died recently of cancer. His mother was grateful and sent me food parcels and wanted me to marry her daughter – there was a problem – I was already married!" Peterson made a full recovery, later taking a second degree at Harvard and serving in the United States Marines in Korea. Butson once told a colleague, that the curious thing about the rescue was that despite meeting the American on several occasions later, the American never once thanked him. For rescuing another Antarctic explorer from a crevasse in 1947, Butson was awarded the Albert Medal in Gold for Saving Life on Land, the announcement appearing in the London Gazette 38416 of Tuesday, September 28, 1948, page 5197. His citation reads as follows: "Whitehall, September 16, 1948. The KING has been pleased to award the Albert Medal to Dr. Arthur Richard Cecil Butson, a member of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey, in recognition of his gallantry in the following circumstances. On the evening of 26th July 1947, an American member of the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition fell in the crevasse some six miles from Base. Two teams were sent to the rescue but the hardship of crossing a heavily crevassed glacier were much increased by darkness and it was not until 4 o’clock in the morning of July 27th that the crevasse into which the American had fallen was located. Butson immediately volunteered to be lowered into the crevasse where he found the American tightly wedged 106 feet down and suffering from shock and exhaustion. For nearly an hour he had to chip the ice away in an extremely confined space in order to free the American who was brought to the surface and placed inside a tent. Butson then rendered the necessary medical aid and at dawn a return to the Base was made carrying the American on one of the sledges.” Butson was invested with the Albert Medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on November 2, 1948. After the Albert Medal was revoked by royal warrant, he was reinvested with the George Cross in July 1972, as all living holders of the Albert Medal were ordered to exchange that medal for the George Cross. The George Cross was now the highest award for civilian gallantry for British and Commonwealth citizens. Five years after his award of the Albert Medal, Dr. Arthur Richard Cecil Butson M.A., M.D., Medical Officer, Marguerite Bay, 1947 was awarded the Polar Medal with Antarctic Bar, "for good services with the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in Antarctic expeditions between the years 1944-1950", the announcement appearing in the Third Supplement to the London Gazette 39914 of Tuesday, July 14, 1953, on Friday, July 17, 1953, page 3925. The announcement appearing in that issue was later addended with his Albert Medal title: Dr. Arthur Richard Cecil Butson A.M., M.A., M.D., Medical Officer, Marguerite Bay, 1947, the announcement appearing in the Third Supplement to the London Gazette 40339 of Friday, November 26, 1954, on Tuesday, November 30, 1954, page 6790. After his stint in the Antarctic, he returned to the Royal Army Medical Corps and finished his National Service time. Beginning in 1948, he did his postgraduate surgical studies at University College Hospital Medical School in London, England, receiving his MD (Doctor of Medicine) in 1952. At this point, he immigrated to Canada, where he completed his surgical training in Montreal, Quebec, later receiving a Fellowship in Surgery from Canada, England and the United States. He moved to Hamilton, Ontario in 1953, where he continued his medical career, both in civilian practice and with the Canadian Militia, practicing as a surgeon. Butson joined the Canadian Militia in 1956 as Regimental Medical Officer to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, serving in that role until 1972. He commanded Hamilton’s 23 Medical Company with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. During his command, the unit twice won the trophy for the best militia medical unit in Canada. He was promoted to Colonel in 1977 and was appointed the Area Surgeon for Central Militia Area Headquarters (now LFCA = Land Force Central Area). He took the Arctic Winter Warfare course and qualified as a parachutist at the age of 55, later establishing a Militia Airborne Surgical Team. One winter, he commanded a Canadian field surgical team on a Norwegian Army field hospital exercise. He was President of the Defence Medical Association of Canada and represented Canada medically on the NATO Reserve Officer’s Association (CIOR) for four years. He was a member in good standing of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, maintaining a doctor's office in the Medical Arts Building on Young Street, and later, an office on Charlton Street, both in Hamilton. Butson married Eileen Doris Callon (born June 7, 1924) on June 30, 1967, the couple later having one son, Andrew Richard Butson. She was a nurse and had served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (Militia) during the Second World War, attaining the rank of Major and also a recipient of the Defence Medal. The following year, "Dick" Butson received the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1968, followed by the Bar to the CFD for ten years' additional service. Upon the establishment of the McMaster University Medical School in Hamilton in 1970, he joined the part-time faculty, ending with the appointment of Clinical Professor in the Department of Surgery. He was also Chief of Staff of St. Joseph's Hospital, a 600-bed teaching hospital, for two years and Head of the Service of General Surgery for many years. He was a member of the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), published about twenty papers on surgical topics and also found time to obtain a Doctorate, in addition to his medical degree. Butson was appointed Honourary Surgeon to Her Majesty the Queen in 1977 and was made an Officer of the Order of Military Merit (Canada) in 1982. He was also awarded five commemorative medals: the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 1992 (British and Canadian versions), the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He received the Service Medal of the Order of St John for his long service with St John Ambulance, very active in the organization, serving as Ontario’s Provincial Surgeon and was appointed Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John on April 14, 2009. He also worked as a beef cattle farmer in Ancaster, Ontario, raising Galloway breed cattle. As a mountaineer, Butson climbed extensively in the Canadian Rockies, Baffin Island, the Antarctic, the Alps and the Hindu Kush in the Western Himalaya. Butson Ridge in Antarctica (at Latitude 68°05’ S, Longitude 66°51’ W) is named after him. In 2003, Butson was the sole provincial candidate of the leaderless Confederation of Regions Party, which is often regarded as anti-French and culturally intolerant. He ran in the provincial electoral district of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot, on a platform of individual freedom of responsibility, an affirmation of British heritage, and a public referendum on bilingualism. He also opposed the forced amalgamation of Hamilton. As his party's sole candidate, Butson was interviewed by the CBC's Avril Benoit during the campaign. He received only 293 votes, finishing last in a field of six candidates. Butson died on March 24, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario, at the age of 92. He is buried in Spring Creek Cemetery in Mississauga, Ontario. In all, his awards included: the Albert Medal in Gold, which was later exchanged for the George Cross (GC) (1948); the Order of Military Merit, Officer (OMM) (1982); the Venerable Order of St. John, Officer (O.StJ); the Defence Medal; the Polar Medal (1954); the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977); the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1992); the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002, both the British and Canadian versions); the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); the Service Medal of the Order of St. John; and the Canadian Forces' Decoration (CD) for twenty-two years' service with the Canadian Forces. Butson's George Cross is on display at the Canadian Forces Base Borden Military Museum, Borden, Ontario. His Albert Medal is displayed at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Great Britain with the Albert Medal of Richard Walter Richards, who was an Australian science teacher who joined Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in December 1914 as a physicist with the Ross Sea Party under Captain Aeneas Mackintosh and was the last survivor of the so-called "Heroic Age" of Antarctic exploration, dying in 1985 at the age of 91.

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