John was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he qualified M.B., Ch.B., B.O.A, in 1914. He gained his commission in the R.A.M.C. on 31st July 1914. He entered the war in France in August 1914, and was attached as medical officer to the Grenadier Guards from 7th September 1914. He remained with them up until 29th October, when he went missing. He was last seen alive attending to Colonel Earle of the Grenadiers, who had been wounded. Colonel Earle lost consciousness, and was therefore unable to confirm with any certainly the John had been killed, however, despite searches on prisoner of war or casualties lists, John disappeared without trace that day. His death was accepted in 1916 that he must have been killed. He was the son of Colonel Edward Butt (A.M.S.) of "Brucefield" Dunfermline and the late Helen Mary Butt.