News

Exceptional bravery of Paddy Bugden sets an example for all

PRIVATE Patrick 'Paddy' Bugden was just 20 years old when he rallied together a small group of comrades to storm two concrete enemy pillboxes under heavy fire.

During the same two days of battle from September 26 to 28, 1917, the Alstonville digger managed to single-handedly rescue a corporal who was being taken across to enemy lines by three German soldiers.

He was said to have shot one enemy and bayoneted the remaining two, freeing his fellow soldier.

PADDY BUGDEN
PADDY BUGDEN

On at least five other occasions, Paddy rescued wounded soldiers from No Man's Land under intense shell and machine gun fire.

Given the Alstonville soldier's incredible feats of bravery, it's no surprise he was the first Northern Rivers soldier to receive the Australian Army's highest honour for gallantry, the Victoria Cross.

Before enlisting in Brisbane on May 25, 1916, Paddy worked at his family's hotels in Alstonville and Billinudgel.

He was the eldest of four children, born on March 17, 1897 in Gunderimba.

Paddy was described as a born athlete who had a simple and direct sense of humour

In January 1917, Paddy wrote to his mother telling her he would be facing the firing line the next day.

"If by chance anything happens, I feel that I shall gain a place of happiness," he wrote. "For I have never done a deed in my life, that I am ashamed of. So I fear nothing."

Paddy died on September 29, 1917, in a bomb attack and was buried where he fell.

His mates fenced his grave and erected a Celtic cross decorated with flowers.

The bravery Paddy showed on the Belgium battlefields during World War I earned him a letter from King George V.

After his death, King George wrote to Paddy's mother, Annie Kelly, describing her son's bravery and awarding him the Victoria Cross.

"It is a matter of sincere regret to me that the death of No 3774 Private Patrick Bugden, 31st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, deprived me of the pride of personally conferring upon him the Victoria Cross, the greatest of all rewards for valour and devotion to duty," he wrote.

Topics:  anzac, world war 1, wwi




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Byron serial groper targeting women on morning walks

A number of woman have reported indecent assault along a walking track in Byron Bay.

Police launch investigation after reports of women being assaulted

Lismore hospital paid parking: Rangers will be ready

Lismore Base Hospital

Council rangers will use discretion when it comes to issuing fines

Plant wholesaler celebrates end of 12-year development

Alpine Nurseries owners Peter and Kay Knox at the official opening of their Alstonville business.

Alpine Nurseries in Alstonville hold an offical opening ceremony.

Latest deals and offers

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home

We’ve found 8 rentals available on the Northern Rivers

2/22 Sunnybank Drive, Ballina

It's obvious there is a rental shortage on the Northern Rivers