When Butler reached his early twenties, it was important that he have a reliable motor bike, because most Saturdays he rode almost 200km to Smithfield, where Mr. C.W. Wittber was building a plane for which he had made every component part himself, including the engine. This was probably Harry’s first contact with an aircraft – certainly it was his first chance to climb into one and get the heady feel of the controls.
Wittber could recognise and acknowledge the promise in this young fellow enthusiast, and together they learned the clumsy rudiments of flying. Their activity was largely confined to taxiing around the ground, but both made a few short flights into the air.
His life followed a steady pattern of farm work by day and avid reading and study of his beloved aircraft by night until February 1915, when Harry Butler could endure the delay no longer and went to Point Cook to join the Air Force.
Despite a very high rating in his preliminary examinations, he did not stay long. The tempo of the war and of flying was quickening now, and he chafed at delays.