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General Sir Mervyn Andrew Haldane Butler, KCB, CBE, DSO & Bar, MC (1 July 1913 – 3 January 1976) was a British Army officer who served as Commander-in-Chief Strategic Command.

Sir Mervyn Butler
Sir Mervyn Andrew Haldane Butler 1976.jpg
General Sir Mervyn Butler in 1967
Born(1913-07-01)1 July 1913
Died3 January 1976(1976-01-03) (aged 62)
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1933–1976
Service number58182
UnitSouth Lancashire Regiment
Parachute Regiment
Suffolk Regiment
Commands heldArmy Strategic Command
I (British) Corps
Staff College, Camberley
2nd Division
16th Independent Parachute Brigade
Battles/warsSecond World War
Cyprus Emergency
Suez Crisis
AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Military Cross
Mentioned in Despatches

Military careerEdit

Mervyn Butler was educated at St Columba's College, Rathfarnham, Ireland and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.[1] He was commissioned into the South Lancashire Regiment in 1933.[1] He transferred to the Parachute Regiment and served with distinction during the Second World War being awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross for his services.[2] He transferred to the Suffolk Regiment in 1945.[1]

Butler commanded the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade from 1955 to 1957.[1] During the Suez Crisis elements of the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade led by Butler and a contingent of the Royal Tank Regiment set off south along the canal bank on 6 November 1956 to capture Ismailia. Just before midnight Butler was ordered to stop on the hour, when a ceasefire would come into effect. This raised a difficulty. There were Egyptian forces ahead; the British column was in open desert with no defensible feature to hand. Butler compromised, advancing until 0:15 am on 7 November 1956 to reach El Cap, where he sited the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, with supporting detachments.[3] He was awarded a Bar to his Distinguished Service Order on 13 June 1957.[4]

Butler was General Officer Commanding 2nd Division from 1962 to 1964.[5]

In 1964 Butler was appointed Assistant Chief of Defence Studies (Joint Warfare) and then in 1966 went on to be Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley.[2] From 1968 to 1970 he was General Officer Commanding 1 (British) Corps. He was General Officer Commanding Army Strategic Command from 1970 to 1971 before going on to serve as Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies from 1972 to 1973.[2] He was promoted to general in 1972.[1] He was also Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment from 1967 to 1972.[6]

Butler was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for service in Cyprus in 1957,[7] a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the 1964 New Year Honours,[8] and advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in the 1968 New Year Honours.[9]

On his death in 1976 Butler was buried in Aldershot Military Cemetery.


  1. ^ a b c d e Who Was Who Volume V11 1971–1980 (1981)
  2. ^ a b c Whitaker's Almanacks
  3. ^ The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Army (1994) General Editor David Chandler p. 349
  4. ^ "No. 41092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1957. p. 3419.
  5. ^ Army Commands Archived 5 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Red Devils GG Norton (Leo Cooper Famous Regiment Series)
  7. ^ "No. 41131". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 July 1957. p. 4361.
  8. ^ "No. 43200". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1963. p. 3.
  9. ^ "No. 44484". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1967. p. 3.
Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Williams
GOC 2nd Division
Succeeded by
Norman Wheeler
Preceded by
John Worsley
Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley
Succeeded by
John Sharp
Preceded by
Sir John Mogg
GOC 1st (British) Corps
Succeeded by
Sir John Sharp
GOC, Army Strategic Command
Succeeded by
Sir Frank King
Preceded by
Alastair Buchan
Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies
Succeeded by
Sir Anthony Read