James Budgett was born in October 1880 and was one of nine children to Henry and Eliza Budgett. Henry was a labourer, and the family lived in the small village of Stoke St Michael, near Shepton Mallett in Somerset.
While initially following his father in to labouring, James was drawn to the military as a career. He enlisted in the army in August 1899, and was assigned to the Coldstream Guards. James’ bearing would certainly have stood him in good stead for this wing of the army; his medical examination shows he was 6ft 1in (1.85m) tall.
Guardsman Budgett’s initial service was for twelve years; during this time, he spent six months in Australia, but his records show that most of his time was spent on home soil.
When his term ended in August 1911, he enrolled for a further four years. Initially assigned to the Reserve Battalion, he was formally mobilised when war broke out. Sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914, he was wounded in the foot two months later, and was sent home for treatment.
According to Guardsman Budgett’s medical records, the treatment unearthed a two other issues. One was that he was suffering from syphilis, which was treated. The other was that an x-ray identified an aneurysm in his aortic arch. This was considered harmful enough for him to be medically dismissed from the army, and he left active service on 25th March 1915.
After this, details of James’ life get a bit hazy. His pension records show that he married a woman called Bessie, but there is nothing to confirm when the marriage took place.
The next record for James Budgett is confirmation of his passing. He died from an aneurysm on 4th May 1917, at the age of 36. He lies at rest in the graveyard of St Michael’s church in his home village of Stoke St Michael, Somerset.