The Highest Honour #7 | Maurice Buckley | Patrick BugdenBy The Cove March 1, 2021
SERGEANT MAURICE BUCKLEY (aka GERALD SEXTON) (1891 - 1921, 30yo)
Maurice Vincent Buckley enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 18 December 1914. He embarked for Egypt with reinforcements for the 13th Light Horse Regiment but was returned to Australia and subsequently deserted on 21 January 1916. If you would like to know more this aspect of Sergeant Buckley's history, use this website.
He used an alias of Gerald Sexton upon re-enlistment in May 1916 and embarked for France with the 13th Battalion. He fought at Bullecourt, Polygon Wood, Ypres, Passchendaele, Hebuterne and Villers-Bretonneux. Later he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, whilst serving at Hamel, for his conduct near Morcourt.
Whilst serving in the 13th Battalion, Sergeant Buckley was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in Le Verguier, France, on 18 September 1918. His company was held up by a field gun. 'Displaying boldness which inspired all', under machine gun fire, he rushed towards it and shot the crew. He later showed conspicuous bravery by rushing at least six machine gun positions, capturing a field gun and taking nearly 100 prisoners.
His Victoria Cross award for these actions was originally gazetted under the name Gerald Sexton, his alias used upon re-enlistment, and subsequently corrected.
He returned to Australia on 9 September 1919 and was discharged in December. Buckley suffered injuries from a horse-riding accident which lead to his death in 1921. He was buried with full military honours in Brighton cemetery, Victoria. His medals are displayed in the Australian War Memorial Hall of Valour.
PRIVATE PATRICK BUDGEN (1897 - 1917, 20yo)
A hotel keeper from Lismore, north coast of New South Wales, before enlistment at Enoggera, Queensland, Private Patrick Budgen served in the 31st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, in Belgium during the First World War. The twenty-year-old Pat Bugden was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding bravery and devotion to duty over three days during one of Australias' successful step-by-step advances in late September 1917.
On two occasions, when held up by intense fire from machine-guns, he gallantly led small parties to silence the enemy posts. On five occasions, he rescued wounded men trapped by intense shelling and machine-gun fire. On another occasion, seeing that an Australian Corporal had been taken prisoner, he single-handedly rushed to his comrade's aid shooting and bayoneting three enemies for his release. He kept fighting until he was killed on the last of these missions. He is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.