Village History
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The Budds in World War 1.

Owen Budd is in the centre of this photograph of Royal Marines taken in 1914.

Owen Budd is in the centre of this photograph of Royal Marines taken in 1914.

Alan Newbold wrote this account of two relatives who served in World War I, the sons of William and Sophia Budd from East Meon. The Budd Family collection is stored in the online archive, click here.

Albert Cosham Budd (1882 – 1922)

Albert and Minnie Budd

Albert and Minnie Budd


Albert Cosham Budd was the son of William and Sophia Budd at the time of his birth, he was the only child of William and Sophia not to have been born at the “Olde George Inn”; when he was born the family were living in Cosham, near Portsmouth, where William was working as a bricklayer. It is presumed that Albert was named Cosham for this reason. As a small boy, Albert had golden curls and winning ways, he grew to be 5′ 11″ tall. He was handsome with a fair complexion. As a youth he enlisted in the Royal Marines, and he continued in this career for the rest of his life. Albert became a colour-sergeant in the Royal Marines. At the start of WW1, Albert was serving on H.M.S. Bulwark, when, in 1914, this battleship blew up in Sheerness harbour, whilst loading ammunition. Albert was in the mess at the time of the explosion and he was blown through the side of the ship .

The Evening News, November 1914, reported:
“The battleship HMS Bulwark, which was lying in Sheerness Harbour, blew up. The Vice, and Rear Admirals who were present, reported their conviction that it was an internal magazine which rent the ship asunder. The ship had entirely disappeared when the smoke had cleared away. Only 12 of the 800 men and officers of the crew survived.”

And Naval records state:
“Sgt. John Albert Budd, RM, who suffered from burns and a broken leg, stated that at 7.30 he was finishing his breakfast on the portside second mess deck, when he saw a sudden flash aft. As he turned, the deck opened up under him and he was thrown into the sea. He remembered coming to the surface of the water but the ship had disappeared. He had not heard the explosion.”

While Albert’s eldest son Jack was serving in the marines there was an older man with him who had witnessed Albert’s rescue. He said that Albert swam around hanging on to a piece of board , fully conscious until he was rescued. Later, in hospital, he asked for a Woodbine cigarette and then lost consciousness.

Albert was one of the twelve that survived, and he outlived the other survivors. He developed diabetes, and the leg wound he received in the blast did not heal. He declined amputation, and walked with a ‘stiff leg’ for the rest of his life. However, he recovered sufficiently to resume duties with the Marines, in a clerical capacity, at Haslar marine base near Gosport. He did not return to sea duties and died as a result of his wounds in 1922.

While Albert was stationed at Deal, he married Minnie Elizabeth Purse, daughter of William Purse from Southsea. She was a talented musician and taught piano. Their first two children Albert Walter Jack and Charles Owen were born at Deal; Arthur Edward was born at Chatham and Leonard George and May Victoria Lillian were born at Gosport.

Although disabled, Albert remained on full salary, but upon his death Minnie was obliged to care for her family on a meagre widow’s pension from the Royal Marines. Compounded by a difficult and dangerous life on a naval base during the war, Minnie’s health began to fail. She remained at home despite the diagnosis of tuberculosis (T.B.) Her mother came to care for her during the terminal stage of her illness. Minnie died in 1925.

Arthur, Leonard and May went to stay with their Aunt Emily (Newbold) at Old Alresford, until the boys left for Canada to live with their Uncle Hubert. May remained at Old Alresford until later that year, when her uncle (William Newbold) died. She was then taken into the care of her Uncle Owen (Budd) and referred to as Lillian to distinguish her from their daughter May.

Albert was given a full military funeral with his coffin, draped by a Union Flag, carried on a gun carriage hauled by Royal Marines in full dress uniform. Minnie was also buried with him.

The inscription on their grave reads:
In loving memory of
My dear husband,
Albert Cosham Budd.
Late Colour Sergt R.M.L.I.
Survivor of the H.M.S. Bulwark
who passed away after much suffering
caused by the explosion.
October 2nd 1922
Age 40 years.
Also Minnie Elizabeth
Wife of the above April 9 1925
Age 37 years.

Owen Charles Budd (1888 – 1969)


Owen Charles Budd, known to our family as “Uncle Owen”, was the only member of the Budd family (other than Emily) that I knew personally. He was the son of William and Sophia Budd and was most probably born at High Street, East Meon. Owen’s trade is given on his enlistment record as ‘shop assistant’, but on his discharge papers as ‘caretaker’ or ‘bank messenger’. He was always a religious man and from the age of 13 became closely associated with All Saints’ Church. When he went to join the Royal Marines three years later, the vicar’s wife wrote him a glowing reference.

Owen was 5′ 10″, with brown eyes and thin brown hair. He joined the Royal Marines, at Gosport, on 21st March 1905. He lied, when joining up, adding 16 months to his age; by giving his birthday as April 9th 1887 he appeared to be within days of his 18th birthday, which was presumably the age for full service and of course this date remained unalterable thereafter.

He was made corporal in 1906 and in 1908/9 sailed on H.M.S. Antrim to South Africa. In 1910 he sailed, again to South Africa, aboard H.M.S. Balmoral Castle. In 1911/12 he was aboard H.M.S. Cochrane, which escorted the Royal Yacht ‘Medina’ taking the newly crowned King George V on a state visit to India. His diary of this voyage remains.

Owen married Mabel Sarah Stone in 1912 at the Parish Church at Alverstoke. His age was given on the marriage certificate as 25 but should have read 24. His father, William Budd, was deceased and described as a bricklayer. Owen was then a Lance Sergeant in the RMLI.

Great Britain entered World War 1 in August 1914. Owen saw immediate action at Dunkirk, on September 19th and was promoted to full sergeant the next day. At the renowned defence of Antwerp in October, he was one of the five survivors of 12th Battalion, 3rd Company, 11th Platoon. He was then landed at Gallipoli in April 1915, four days after the allied invasion commenced. Here he gave solid service, was shot through the hand by a musket ball, and achieved a certificate for zeal and devotion to duty in July. He fell ill early in September, probably with dysentery and was hospitalised out of Gallipoli in September. The whole army retreated from Gallipoli in October. Part of his diary from this campaign, on scrap paper, still remains in his family’s possession. On his return to England, Owen became a gunnery instructor in the Portsmouth Division of the RMLI for the remainder of the War. He completed the war with the 1914 Star with clasp and roses as well as the usual victory medal. Owen was made up to Quarter-Master Sergeant in May 1921 and kept that rank until the completion of his service in 1926.

Back home, Mabel bore two daughters, May in January 1914 and Violet Doris in May 1917. May recalls the day a Zeppelin airship dropped a bomb on the barracks at Deal; it blew the windows out where she had just been standing and destroyed her favourite doll.

In the year of the General Strike, 1926, Owen found it hard to find new work. His promised job at Dover fell through. He eventually moved in October 1926 from Walmer, to West Dulwich, London, where he found work as a commissionaire or similar with the Automobile Association and the British School of Motoring. For his wife and daughters, this was something of a downturn in their fortunes, after being the family of a senior Marine NCO in a small town.

In 1938 the family was living in Bromley. Owen was called up again for World War II as a QMS and was mobilised in April 1940, but discharged in December of the same year “in consequence of being physically unfit for R.M. service”. He was stationed at this time in the Orkneys or Shetlands. The story goes that his illness was a stomach problem caused by eating tinned food.

Shortly after discharge he and Mabel moved to King’s Worthy near Winchester, where he became verger of St Mary’s Church, living in the Verger’s Cottage, Church Lane. From there he finally retired in spring 1954 to a post-war pre-fabricated bungalow in Winchester. He remained a pillar of the community, active in the local Red Cross and the Over-60s Club. Upon the final demolition of the pre-fabs, they moved again.

Owen suffered from heart and circulation problems for some years and died from myocardial infarction at Winchester hospital in April 1969, aged 80. Mabel survived him by some years.