Craster Local History Group










World War One

The Memorials
The Fallen
Roll of Honour

World War Two
About the Project

Jessie Ralph Budgen

Jesse Budgen

Driver Jesse Ralph Budgen of the Royal Engineers, Service No. 2581, died in Iraq at the 33rd British General Hopistal at Makina Masus, Basra, on December 13th 1916, aged 25.

He is buried in the Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.

Jesse was the son of James and Margaret Gibb Budgen. His mother was 'in service' in 1871 as a 'servant' to Mrs Craster at Craster Tower. In 1881, she was 'cook and housekeeper' for the Earl of Orkney in Middlesex. By 1891 she was married to James and they were living in Hammersmith, when he was described as a 'beer and wine seller'. In 1901, Margaret was back in Craster, living on Craster North Side with children Francis, aged 13, Margaret, 11 and Jesse, 10. In 1911, Margaret, now 58, was living at Craster South Farm and working as a Dairy woman. Her daughter was still at home and single, as was Jesse, who was working as a farm labourer. Francis went on to become head gardener at Craster Tower. Margaret died in March 1915. Jesse's father, James, died in 1897.

Jesse's family gravestone in Spitalford Cemetery

Iraq Roll of Honour
Jesse Budgen's grave, Basra

The Basra War Cemetery, suffered extensive damage during Saddam's rule. Plans to restore the Cemetery are currently on hold pending the establishment of secure conditions in Iraq. In this situation, rather than a photograph of the cemetery, a photograph of the Iraq Roll of Honour appears on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site.

The Mesopotamia Campaign

Following the entry of Turkey into the war in October 1914, Allied forces started a campaign in Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, to protect British oil interests. An aggressive advance up the Tigris was halted just short of Baghdad at Ctesiphon in November 1915 and Allied forces, mainly Indian, retreated to Kut-Al-Amarah, where they were besieged. The siege lasted 147 days, before some 12,000 Allied troops surrendered in April 1916. More than 4,000 of the captured troops died in captivity and this episode has been described as "the most abject capitulation in Britain’s military history."

Mesopotamian Campaign

Senior officers were replaced and under the new command of Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, Allied forces re-grouped and prepared to take up the campaign and advance once more on Baghdad. This advance began on December 13th 1916 from Sheik Sa'ad, a few miles down river from Kut. This is the date of Jesse's death. Although we do not know the actual circumstances of his death, it is not unreasonable to suppose that he was one of the early casualties of the advance, which did go on to secure its objective, the capture of Baghdad, where Allied troops were enthusiastically received by the Iraqi people as liberators.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Jesse Ralph Budgen

The National Archives - The Mesopotamian Campaign WW1 in Mesopotamia

Home Programme Membership Archive War Memorials History Walk Miscellanea Links Contact Us