Lo­cal hero’s life marked

100 years since death of Paddy Bug­den VC

The Northern Star - - NEWS -

A MEMO­RIAL ser­vice in Al­stonville today aims to com­mem­o­rate the life of a lo­cal hero, but also to re­mem­ber all the young men from the area who gave their life in war.

The ser­vice will mark the cen­te­nary of the ac­tion for which World War I Dig­ger, Pri­vate Paddy Bug­den, was posthu­mously awarded the high­est mil­i­tary hon­our, the Vic­to­ria Cross, and his death.

Pte Bug­den re­ceived the Vic­to­ria Cross for his brav­ery over three days from Septem­ber 26-28, 1917, dur­ing the bat­tle of Poly­gon Wood, near Ypres, Bel­gium.

Pte Bug­den was rec­om­mended for the Vic­to­ria Cross on Oc­to­ber 12, 1917, and the hon­our was for­mally gazetted on Novem­ber 23, 1917.

Paddy, serv­ing with the 31st Bat­tal­ion, had en­listed in the army from Al­stonville where his step­fa­ther and mother owned the Fed­eral Ho­tel. He was born in Tatham near Casino.

Dur­ing the bat­tle of Poly­gon Wood, he on two oc­ca­sions led small par­ties in at­tacks on en­emy machine gun po­si­tions, on five oc­ca­sions res­cued wounded men trapped by en­emy fire and also sin­gle-hand­edly went to the aid of an Aus­tralian sol­dier who had been cap­tured by the en­emy.

He was aged 20 when he was killed by shrap­nel in ac­tion on Septem­ber 28, 1917.

He is buried at Hooge Crater ceme­tery at Zille­beke in Bel­gium.

Pres­i­dent of the Al­stonville RSL Sub-Branch, Mark Quil­li­gan, said Paddy Bug­den showed “amaz­ing courage”.

“He prob­a­bly could have been awarded the Vic­to­ria Cross at least five times,” he said.

He said the lo­cal com­mu­nity was heav­ily im­pacted by the First World War.

The Bug­den fam­ily was a clas­sic ex­am­ple, with four cousins go­ing off to war, but only one re­turned home.

“Ini­tially we had grief about the death of Paddy, but that has now changed to a cel­e­bra­tion of the life of one im­mensely brave young fel­low,” Mr Quil­li­gan said.

“And he is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all the brave young fel­lows who served.”

The com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice will be held at the Paddy Bug­den Memo­rial, Bug­den Ave, Al­stonville.

About 70 de­scen­dants of Paddy Bug­den are ex­pected to at­tend, as well as Doug and Kay Baird, the par­ents of re­cent Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent, the late Cor­po­ral Cameron Baird VC MG.

This memo­rial was con­se­crated 1997 and was a project of the Ro­tary Club of Al­stonville, with funds raised for the sculp­ture from the com­mu­nity.

It is sited ad­ja­cent to the orig­i­nal memo­rial un­veiled in 1948.

The ser­vice will start at 10.40am on Satur­day, with mem­bers of the 1st Bat­tal­ion, the Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment to pro­vide the catafalque party, sup­ported by sol­diers of the 41st Bat­tal­ion, the Royal NSW Reg­i­ment.

A Royal Aus­tralian Air Force C-17 Globe­mas­ter trans­port air­craft will con­duct a fly-past at 11.30am.

Fol­low­ing the ser­vice, a com­mu­nity bar­be­cue will be held at the Fed­eral Ho­tel in Al­stonville.

Al­stonville Ro­tar­ian John Barnes in 2011 wrote a book on Paddy Bug­den VC, ti­tled So I Fear Noth­ing.

Copies of that book will be avail­able for sale after the com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice, with the pro­ceeds be­ing shared by Legacy and the Veter­ans Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre lo­cated in Al­stonville.

PHOTO: GRA­HAM BROADHEAD

WE WILL RE­MEM­BER: A com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice will be held on Satur­day to mark the cen­te­nary of the death of Paddy Bug­den VC. Pic­tured at the Paddy Bug­den memo­rial at Al­stonville are the pres­i­dent of the Al­stonville RSL Sub-Branch, Mark Quil­li­gan, and vice-pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Al­stonville, Bob Costello.

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