Officer Ensign Marjory Stewart Butler

Throughout the duration of the war the AAGB transported over 850,000 patients, they themselves however suffered three fatalities. Today we look into another one of those fatalities; Officer Ensign Marjory Stewart Butler, Headquaters staff AAGB.

The night of the 10th and 11th of May 1941 was undoubtably the worst day of The Blitz, the Germans dropped 711tons of high explosive bombs and 86,173 incendiary bombs on London in one night destroying 700 acres of fire and over £20,000,000 worth of damage (in 1941) this was over double that of the Great Fire of London. But to find out what happened to Mrs Butler we must focus on just one high explosive bomb that ultimately took the lives of 24 people.

At approximately 00:30 on the 11th of May a single high explosive bomb tore through the roof of the Alexandra Hotel, Knightsbridge, SW1 exploding right in the centre of the building causing utter devastation. As the first ambulances arrived at the hotel, disaster struck once again and the foyer that was laden with five floors worth of rubble collapsed. We will ever know what truly happened to Mrs Butler however we believe that she was on one of those ambulances that was first on scene and in her haste to go and help people she was in the foyer when it collapsed. Some sources say that she suffered serious injuries and was rushed to St George’s Hospital, on Hyde Park Corner where she succumbed to her injuries. Mrs Butler was buried at Wellshill Cemetery in Perth, her home town, in a private ceremony attended by only close family and friends. Her headstone reads: Marjory Stewart Butler, {Nee} Pullar, wife of Colonel R.B.Butler CIE CBE MC, and mother of Leonard M S Butler, she was killed in London by enemy Action, May 1941, giving her life for her Country, loved by all who knew her.

The bellow images (Copyright Westminster City Archives) show the devastation in the hotel that members of the AAGB and other rescue agencies faced. The investigation was stood down on the 19th of May with one person still reported missing in the Hotel.

The site of the Alexandra Hotel was redeveloped in 1954 and again in 1993 and now No.25 and No27 Knightsbridge stand on the site. St George’s Hospital continued as a hospital until 1973. The building was renovated and reopened in 1991 as the Lanesbourgh Hotel, purportedly one of the most luxurious 5 star hotels in London.

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