Army Service Corps
605th M.T. Coy.
James Benjamin Butler was born on the 11September 1898, the son of Benjamin Herridge Butler and Isabella Butler.
At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 15 Craven Road, Reading. By the time of the 1911 census they had moved to of 18, Morgan Rd., Reading. His father was a pharmacist. James was the eldest of the couple’s four children. He had two brothers and one sister.
James was a private in the Army Service Corps, 605th Motor Transport Company. He was aged 18 years when he met is death on 8 January 1916 when the Italia transport ship SS Citta de Palermo was blown up in a mine field.
The Citta di Palermo left Brindisi on the morning of January 8th, 1916, with a number of troops for Durazzo, including a British contingent of four officers and 139 other ranks. At 8.30 a.m., when six miles N.E. of Brindisi, the vessel ran into a small minefield. She struck one of the mines and foundered almost at once. Fortunately a number of minesweepers were in the vicinity and they came to the rescue although two Royal Navy drifters also struck mines in the process and were blown up. The number on board the Cittd di Palermo was just over 200, of whom about half were saved including 84 British.
James Benjamin Butler was lost at sea and his name is remembered on the Holly Brook Memorial, Southampton. His name also appears on the family grave in the Reading Cemetery. There is no indication on the headstone that he lost his life in the war simply his date of birth and death.
Private E.W.A. Golby of Donnington Gardens, Reading also lost his life in this disaster.