George Edgar Budgett was born in Frome, Somerset in the autumn of 1894, and was one of ten children to Joseph and Annie Budgett. Joseph was a labourer on the roads, but Annie and their eight daughters all went into the town’s silk weaving industry. When they left school, George and his older brother Frederick both found labouring work – Frederick at a bell foundry, George in the silkworks.
Conflict was coming to Europe and, within weeks of the war being declared, George enlisted. He was assigned to the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry as a Private and his service records show that he stood 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall, weighed 114lbs (51.7kg), had dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Private Budgett initially served on home soil, but by May 1915 he was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, receiving a promotion to Corporal in the process. He had been on the front line for a little over a month when he was wounded at Ypres. He received a shrapnel wound to his left hand and had to have his little finger amputated in the camp hospital. He was then medically evacuated back to England for further treatment and recovery.
George was admitted to the City of London War Hospital in Epsom, and needed a further operation, this time the amputation of the third finger. His health recovered, but the injury to his hand resulted in him being medically discharged from the army on 25th August 1916.
Sadly, at this point Corporal Budgett’s trail goes cold. He passed away at home, through causes unrecorded, on 1st May 1919. He was just 24 years of age.
George Edgar Budgett was laid to rest in the graveyard of Holy Trinity Church in his home town of Frome, Somerset.
George’s brother Frederick – Joseph and Annie’s only other son – also fought in the First World War. He was assigned to the 14th Battalion of the Gloucester Regiment, and was missing in action, presumed dead on 4th April 1918 – possibly during the Battle of the Avre. He was commemorated at the Pozières Memorial in northern France.