Obituary: Ernest Butler

A memorial service was held at Sleights Parish Church, Whitby, North Yorkshire on 22 June for retired Goole Times editor Ernest Butler, who has died, aged 94.

Butler joined the editorial staff of the Goole Times as an indentured reporter in 1928 after leaving Goole Grammar School. He served under three editors – J.R. Lloyd Hughes, Steven Austin Smith and Stuart Gunnill, until he was called up into the army a few months after the war broke out in 1939.

After two years as an instructor in the Royal Corps of Signals, he was posted from Northern Ireland to North Africa with the 10th Air Formation Signals as a section sergeant.

At the end of the North African campaign, he was for some months his unit’s interpreter in Algiers with the French civilian authorities, before taking his section into Italy, where he served until the end of the war in Europe.

On demobilisation at the end of 1945, Butler returned to the Goole Times as chief reporter, and was later appointed editor.

When the paper became part of the Yorkshire Post weekly series in 1969 he was appointed managing editor and became a director. It was during these years that he recruited a staff of graduate trainee reporters, many of whom later became distinguished in their fields.

He retired in 1977, and throughout his years of retirement many of his former staff kept in touch and recalled with grateful affection the way in which he had trained them.

For a number of years after retiring, he contributed to the Yorkshire Post Country and Coast nature notes section. He also he edited his local parish magazine, wrote the history of several local villages and was in demand throughout his years of retirement as a speaker and lecturer to local organisations, particularly on military history – which was his favourite leisure interest – and on local history.

He reviewed books for local newspapers, and edited the text of several books written by local authors.

Butler leaves three sons – Philip of Gorsgoch in Wales, Paul of Henley-on-Thames and Peter, who is the present editor of the Goole Times.

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