Stanley Roy BUTTON

BUTTON, Stanley Roy

Service Number: SX8712
Enlisted: 12 July 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Minlaton, South Australia, 21 May 1915
Home Town: Minlaton, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Schooling: Minlaton Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Libya, 18 April 1941, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Tobruk War Cemetery, Tobruk, Libya
Plot III Row K
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Minlaton District Council Honour Board, Minlaton War Memorial WW2
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World War 2 Service

12 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
12 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SX8712, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
18 Apr 1941: Involvement Private, SX8712, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

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Biography contributed by Kaye Lee

“Resurgam’ I Shall Rise Again’

Stanley (Stan) was born on the 21st May, 1915 to Sarah Edith and Owen Button at Minlaton, the self-styled  ‘Barley capital of the World’ on the central Yorke Peninsula. There were four daughters, including Edith, Margaret and another son William. The family owned and worked their productive farm called ‘Evandale’. Father Owen, was known as a keen supporter of the Liberal Union and the local Agricultural Society, and an earnest church worker, the latter being a huge influence of Stan.

Stan attended the Minlaton Public School where younger student, Harry Searle also attended. Both were later to serve in the 2/48th Battalion and sadly, both were to be killed while serving in the Middle East; Harry on the 26th October, 1942 aged 23. Both had strong academic performances with Stan being Dux of his Grade 6 class as well as topping the examinations and gaining the top Woodwork Certificate, all of which were presented to him at the annual 1927 school breakup. More importantly, the formalities were followed by fruits and sweets. In the ensuing year, Stan also successfully gained his Qualifying Certificate.

As a 17-year-old, Stan was honoured to be best man when his sister Edith married Percy Watters in April ’33. Life continued to be enjoyable with Stan celebrating his 21st at the local Parish Hall where about 180 guests enjoyed Stan’s Minlaton Brass Band playing a varied selection including for dancing which preceded a lavish country supper, speeches and appreciated gifts.

Besides being a member of the local Minlaton Band, Stan was also actively involved in the local Minlaton Baptist Tennis Club of which he was Secretary when new courts were opened in ’38. That same week, his parents were fortunate to escape a quite severe car accident where Sarah was thrown from their standard tourer, which was wrecked. The local ‘Pioneer’ reported that ‘Fortunately no bones were broken, and though Mrs Button is confined to bed for a few days, she hopes soon to be up and about again, and able to have a game of croquet, whither she was bound when the accident happened.’

However, with the outbreak of WWII there was a big drive by the military in country areas to encourage local youths and men to sign up. Consequently, Stan enlisted just after his 25th birthday in July ’40. By the end of the month, he had arrived at Wayville, where he was allocated the number SX8712 and was soon assigned to the newly formed 2/48th Battalion. Initial days were spent in the cold of the Pavilions, now part of the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, before he and other new enlistees headed to Woodside for their preliminary training.

Stan enjoyed a brief leave spent back in Minlaton at the end of October. The ‘Pioneer’ reported that ‘Church friends and family connections of Pte. S. R. (Stan) Button to the number of about 50 gathered in the Minlaton Baptist Church on Wednesday, October 30, to wish him 'Godspeed’ on the eve of his departure from the district. A novel and enjoyable program of community singing, games and competition was arranged. On behalf of the Soldiers' Welfare Club, Mr. Bennett spoke words of appreciation of Pte. Button's services to the town and presented him with a parcel of 'comforts ' which included an extra pair of socks from the Minlaton branch of the Baptist Women's League. The Pastor in presenting the guest with an envelope containing cash to buy just what he liked, referred to his faithful service in Church activities, expressed deep regret that circumstances compelled his departure and wished him 'Godspeed.' which among many other things implied a safe return. Mr. Wauchope spoke feelingly on behalf of the Returned Soldiers' League assuring Pie. Button of the League's unfailing interest in his welfare. Stan in a few words expressed his sincere thanks to all his well-wishers. He hoped he was, in some measure worthy of all the good things that had been said about him.’ Following a country supper, a family worship was held in the Church.

Stan returned to Adelaide where the large contingent then embarked on the Stratheden for the Middle East, on the 7th November 1940 and disembarked on the 17th December. His 2/48th Battalion completed a few months training in Cyrenaica before going to Tobruk at the start of April 1941 where the dust, flies, heat, minimal water supplies and constant bombardment were quite a challenge to these fresh new enlistees.

Seven months after Stan enlisted, his 74-year-old father, Owen died in February ’41. That distressing news was followed just two months later with news that Stan, having been in the Middle East for just four months was killed in action on the 18th April 1941 aged just 25.

John G Glenn in his book ‘Tobruk to Tarakan’ describes conditions that Stan faced. ‘The whole day B Company was again harassed by very accurate mortar fire. One mortar bomb made a direct hit on the pit occupied by the stretcher bearers and a B Company driver, who were waiting to go forward to tend to the wounded. Five of them were killed and two were wounded, one of them dying later in the day.’ Eventually 209 had to be evacuated, and No 1 Section of 10 Platoon, who had stuck it out all day, withdrew, having been subjected to constant, intense mortar, machine gun, and artillery fire.

His record indicates that he was buried by his fellow comrades in the Tobruk War Cemetery the following day, interred in Plot III Row K with Albert Bahnisch SX8418 of Berri, Ken Barry SX7575 from Adelaide and George Dickinson SX7649, of Peterborough fellow soldiers from the 2/48th. The inscription, “Resurgam’ I Shall Rise Again’ was chosen to reflect Stan and the family’s strong Baptist background.

The slow passage of mail from the front to those back home, meant that a poignant letter was received by the secretary of the Minlaton Welfare Committee from Stan, written in April, just days before his death. It was amongst a number of letters from boys of the Minlaton District, thanking the committee and the local C.W.A. for their welcome letters, parcels and canteen orders. Stan was quoted in the ‘Pioneer’ as writing: "All the best to you people who are carrying on 'down under." He recorded his thanks for letters, canteen orders and parcels, and said, "Personally speaking there are quite a number of ideas and notions that I had that have received a severe jolt. For instance. I never thought I'd be in a country, part of which fits in with the time of the Crusaders, or before, and another part, side by side with it, using modern cars, speaking over telephones, etc. The incongruity strikes one very forcibly."

With news of Stan’s death, a Service of Remembrance was held for him in his home Minlaton Baptist Church. Over the following year, a beautiful garden was laid out and a brass memorial plate installed, dedicated to the memory of ‘a former, much-loved adherent of the Church, Pte. S. R. (Stan) Button. By 1947 the church had added a special feature in the triple stained-glass windows to the memory of Stan Button, Ray Cross and the Pastor's wife’.

Stan’s mother, Sarah lived to see Peace declared but died in May ’54, aged 80. She was buried with her husband, Owen, Stan’s father in the Minlaton Cemetery.

Following Stan’s death, his family continued to remember him.

Pioneer Friday 13 April 1945, 'For King and Empire' BUTTON —In loving memory of Stan, killed in action abroad, April 18, 1941, Memories are treasures no one can Steal Death leaves a wound no one can heal. —Inserted by his loving mother. BUTTON — In loving memory of Stan, killed in action at Tobruk, Apr. 18,1941. Not just today, dear Stan, but every day In silence we remember. —Inserted by Perce, Edie and family

Pioneer Friday 12 April 1946, BUTTON—ln proud and loving memory of Stan, killed in action at Tobruk, April 18, 1941. Away in God’s beautiful garden Sheltered from sorrow and pain Some day when life's journey is ended We shall meet, Dear Stan, again —Ever remembered by Mother. BUTTON—In proud and loving memory of Stan. A wonderful brother, only lent, We loved you then, we loved you still; Forget you, Stan, no, we never will. —Ever remembered by Brothers, Sisters, nieces and nephews, Minlaton.

Pioneer Friday 18 April 1947, BUTTON—In proud and loving memory of Stan, killed in action at Tobruk, April 18th, 1941. They say that time can heal the wound And teach us to forget But time, so far has only proved How much I miss you yet —Ever Remembered by Mother. BUTTON—In loving memory of Stan. As we loved you, so we miss you In our hearts, you are always near Still loved longed for, and remembered At the close of each sad year But sweet is the hope, that again we shall meet. Kneeling together at Jesus' feet —Inserted by Perce, Edie, and children. 

Pioneer (Yorketown, SA : 1898 - 1954), Friday 15 April 1949, page 6 BUTTON —In loving memory of Stan, killed at Tobruk. 'Tis a sad day of remembrance of one so good and true. These words of deep affection, Dear Stan, are for you —Dearly loved and sadly missed by Mother and all the family. 

Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.