Budgen, Gordon Douglas Heane (1920-1945)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Gordon Douglas Heane Budgen (1920-1945), born 22 October 1920, son of Air Commodore William Douglas Budgen OBE and Evelyn Bridgett Budgen, of Sparrow's Green, Sussex.
Attended Seafield Park Preparatory School, Fareham.
Attended Sherborne School (School House) September 1934-December 1938; 6th form; House Prefect; PT Instructor; Sergeant in OTC; Trebles (1936, 37, 38).
WW2, Captain, 13 (Honourable Artillery Company) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. Awarded the Military Cross. Killed in action at Saerbeck, Germany, on 1 April 1945, aged 24.
Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, 55. B. 18. Inscription on his headstone: ‘UBIQUE’ www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2037296/BUDGEN,%20GOR...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance.
Obituary, 'The Shirburninan', July 1945: 'Gordon Douglas Heane Budgen (a, '34-'37). It was with very great sorrow that we heard at the beginning of the term of the death of Bill Budgen, Captain G.D.H. Budgen, M.C., R.H.A. He had been home for a week's leave just before the news came and we had been in correspondence, and, in point of fact, the letter which I had written to him while he was still on leave asking him to come down to Sherborne just failed to reach him and was returned to me by the army authorities the day after his death. My first memory of Bill was when he and another equally small red faced boy sat together at a table in my study on a very hot summer afternoon trying to deal with the Latin and Mathematics of the Common Entrance Examination. It was clearly not a very happy introduction to Sherborne as my own work was constantly interrupted by portentous sighs and groans and head scratchings on the part of the two small candidates. However, in the end all must have gone well, for both Bill Budgen and Bill Cooper were admitted to the school and very glad we were to have them both. Cooper's was the better brain and I am glad he is still going strong as a promising young Sapper officer. Bill Budgen though he had plenty of common sense showed greater prowess on the football field and very quickly developed into a hefty forward and a tremendously encouraging leader of forwards. He was heading straight for his 1st XV colours when suddenly out of the blue he was struck down by some mysterious intestinal disease which kept on recurring at frequent intervals and simply wrecked the end of his school career. The first attack developed quite suddenly when he had come in from a training run and from that time onwards it always seemed at the most inappropriate moments it would recur again and again and put him into bed for a week or ten days at a time. Football of course was out of the question and it became largely a matter of whether he would be fit enough to take his School Certificate. The day before the examination, inevitably it almost seemed, he was attacked by the disease and taken off to the Sanatorium and when I went to see him next morning just after he had finished his first paper, it was indeed a very disconsolate and depressed candidate that I found sitting in bed and writing the answers in pencil. He had always set his mind on being a soldier and he told me very gloomily that he had been trying to face up to the fact that he would never now be able to achieve his ambition and would be a life long invalid. I regret to say that in order to cheer him up I then threw all principles to the wind and took on a wager with him of £1 that before the age of 23 he would be holding a commission as an artillery officer. To cut a long story short I won my bet and about two years ago Bill paid up like the gentleman he was. But it was a long and painful story involving a premature departure from Sherborne which we all regretted and a considerable stay in Switzerland until gradually the hold of the disease became fainter and fainter and finally left him sufficiently free till at last he achieved his life long ambition of holding His Majesty's commission. How well he justified this can be judged by the following extract from the 'citation.'
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) Gordon Douglas Heane Budgen (174576), Royal Horse Artillery. On 10th September, 1944, Captain Budgen was acting as forward Observation Officier of a Regiment of Royal Horse Artillery, with the leading troop of Hussars. At Helchteren, considerable opposition was met in the form of anti-tank guns, bazookas, and machine-guns. Owing to the close nature of the country, observation was difficult and Captain Budgen, realising this, decided to assist, personally, as far as possible, in clearing the area. He made very effective use of his Browning Machine-Gun until it jammed. Although this was the only Browning aboard the tank, he went on, being content to rely on his rifle. The tanks were now coming into bazooka range and the one next to Captain Budgen's was hit and set on fire. He immediately moved into a position to see the bazooka position and, leaning out of the turret, killed the three men of the crew with rifle fire. Whilst he was doing this, another bazooka crew fired two shots at his tank. Having located it, he again dealt with the crew with rifle are from the turret. During this time numerous attempts were made to snipe him with rifle and machine gun fire and heavy mortaring of his tank took place. During the remainder of the day he fought his way on with the squadron, relying only on rifle fire to deal with the bazookas. These were very numerous, fifteen being encountered in an area of a half a mile square. Two bazookas' crews surrendered to his tank, having seen the effective treatment he gave to other crews. Two other crews abandoned their weapons, also as a result of his efficient action. Captain Budgen's quick and effective action enabled the group to get forward much quicker and with many fewer casualties of tanks than would otherwise have been sustained. His behaviour and total disregard of personal safety was an inspiration to those around him.'