Sidney John Budd was born in the spring of 1888, the middle of three children to Abel and Mary Budd. Abel was a gardener from Tiverton, Devon, and this is where the family were born and raised. In the late 1890s, the family moved to West Monkton, near Taunton in Somerset.
When he finished school, Sidney found work as a house painter, and, by the time of the 1911 census, was boarding in a house near Minehead. Within a few years, he had moved again, this time to Chard, and had met Florence Moulding, the daughter of a shepherd from the town. The couple married on 1st August 1914, just days before the outbreak of war.
There is little information available relating to Sidney’s military service. He enlisted before the end of 1917, joining the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry as a Private. This was a wholly territorial troop, and Private Budd would have served in Somerset and Devon.
One of the downsides to being in close proximity to servicemen from other parts of the country in tightly-packed barracks was the ease with which disease could spread. Sadly, Private Budd was not immune from this and, in the spring of 1917, he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. He was admitted to the Ford House Hospital in Plymouth, but his condition deteriorated and he passed away on 31st May 1917. He was just 29 years of age.
Sidney John Budd’s body was brought back to Chard for burial: he lies at rest in the town’s cemetery.
Florence went on to marry again, wedding Harry Golesworthy in the spring of 1918. Sadly, her happiness was to be short-lived: she passed away just two years later, at the age of 28 years old.
Sidney’s older brother, named Abel after his father, was an interesting character. When he left school, he found work as an apprentice to a photographer.
In July 1909, though, he was brought to court for stealing a bicycle. It seems that he had rented one from a dealer in West Monkton in order to visit friends in Cullompton, but not return it at the end of the day, as expected.
The dealer contacted Abel’s parents, and he was found to have stayed over in Cullompton. It seems that while there, he had run low on funds, and had sold the bicycle to a dealer in the town. A week later, he returned to the Cullompton dealer, asking to buy the bike back, but hadn’t brought any money with him.
Eventually, Abel’s father went to Cullompton, bought the bicycle, then took it to the dealer in original dealer in West Monkton. By this point, however, Abel had been charged with theft, and pled guilty. His father stood witness, and, according to the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser [Wednesday 14th July 1909], admitted that Abel “was rather weak of mind” and had not intended to steal the bicycle.
Abel was bound over for twelve months, with his father standing surety of five pounds.
The later parts of Abel’s life seem a mystery. There is a record of him travelling to Brisbane, Australia, in the spring of 1914, where he was to work as a farm labourer. He must have returned home, possibly as part of the war effort, and five years later he married Annie Talbot in Taunton, Somerset.
At this point, however, he falls off the radar, and there is no further information about him.