Yorkshire Chess History



David Howson Butler











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



29/12/1915, West Derby district


2001, Glamorgan

Identity of the Chess-Player


David H Butler is best remembered probably for his involvement after the Second World War in correspondence chess, but his relevance to this site is that he played for a whole for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup.  The initial key to tracking him down is the fact that he played correspondence chess for Yorkshire in 1937-38, but for Lancashire in 1938-39, rather suggesting he’d be found in the 1939 Registry in Lancashire.  There are three people with names answering to “David H Butler”.  Their dates of birth (in 1907, 1914 and 1915 respectively) enable identifying dates of death.  The one born in 1907 died in 1882, while the chess-player was still alive (as he won an award in 1986).  The one born in 1914 was in 1939 a schoolmaster in Winchester, Hampshire, while the one born in 1915 was in 1939 a postman (!) in Crosby, Lancashire (as it then was, now Merseyside), about 6 miles north of Liverpool.


The inference is that the chess-player was the 1939 Crosby postman, which is assumed here to be the case, though more evidence is needed to clinch it, such as an obituary in one of the chess magazines.


Non-Chess Life


David Howson Butler was born on 29/12/1915 to Robert Butler (born 29/09/1878, Blackburn) and Mary Wilson Butler (née Carruthers, 1873/74, Glasgow) who married in 1904, in Blackburn, and went on to have at least the following children:


Agnes Harkness Butler

1904/05, Rochdale

Mary Butler

12/09/1906, Bootle

Robert George Butler

1908/08, Bootle

Barbara C Butler

1911/12, West Derby *

William Carruthers Butler

1914, West Derby *

David Howson Butler

29/12/1915, West Derby *

* These are likely to be more specifically Bootle, but could have been Crosby or north Liverpool &c.


Mother Mary died in 1929/30, in the West Derby area, aged 56.


David had moved to Leeds by January 1935 (when he first played for Leeds in the Woodhouse Cup), when he’d be 19.  Whether that was to attend university or to take up a job isn’t clear.


For reasons indicated above, he must have move back to Lancashire in about 1938 (consistent with having been at university).


The 1939 Register found “David H Butler” living with his widowed father and unmarried sister Mary at 6 Kings Road, Crosby.  Father Robert was an electrician, seemingly in a shipyard or similar.  Sister Mary kept house.  David was a postman, which could have been a fill-in job before taking up one more in line with his academic calling (if any).




D H Butler did not play in the Leeds Woodhouse Cup team in 1933-34, but did in 1934-1935, 1935-36, 1936-37 and 1937-38.  He also played correspondence chess for Yorkshire in 1937-38, but was playing correspondence chess for Lancashire in 1938-39.


He played for Lancashire v East Cheshire in a friendly match played 26/11/1938.  He played in a friendly correspondence match for Lancashire v Durham in 1941, then on and off thereafter.


He was one of the original members of the Social Correspondence Chess Association founded in 1940, being one of the original committee members.  He also served as SCCA Best Games Judge from 1941, apparently through to 1979 inclusive.


In 1945, he was listed as one of the “Tourney and other Secretaries” of the British Correspondence Chess Association.  By 1947 he was on the Executive Committee.  By 1949 he was a vice-president.


In 1981, a three division was added to the Counties & District Correspondence Chess Championship, and was given the name “Butler-Thomas”, which one imagines had some connected with D H Butler.


In 1986 he was one of the recipients of the BCF President’s Awards for Services to Chess.


At some stage he was made a BCF (or an ECF) Honorary Life Member.




David Howson Butler died in 2001, in Glamorgan, it would appear.







Copyright © 2018 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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