Butler, serving in the Navy, submitted some work to the Committee via Armide Oppé, in May 1941. At first his work was declined but in June 1941 IWM:ART LD 1206 was purchased for 10 guineas. In November that year, a further picture, LD 1620 was purchased for 10 guineas.
Butler then requested permission to make further works whilst undergoing technical training at Portsmouth; he was later posted to Scotland.
In the summer of 1942, an exhibition of WAAC paintings was lost at sea en route to South America, and with it one of Butler's pictures, IWM:ART LD 1206. Butler was asked to create a duplicate of the picture, for which he was paid 10 guineas after its delivery in November 1942. A third picture was purchased at the same time, LD 2513, for 30 guineas.