Butterworth was born in Paddington, London, but was, from an early age, brought up in York. He
gained a scholarship to Eton where he developed his ability in composition before attending
Trinity College, Oxford. He made close friendships with several leading composers and
collectors of folk songs.
At the outbreak of war in 1914, he joined the army where he was quickly selected for a
commission. He was awarded the Military Cross in the early stages of the Battle of the
Somme in 1916 but was killed in action shortly afterwards.
He was a highly promising composer who is known for his Rhapsodies and Idylls, particularly
The Banks of Green Willow, and for several songs on poems by Housman and Henley.