b. 16/07/1977 Belfast, NI. d. 20/08/2006 Sangin, Afghanistan.
Bryan James Budd (1977-2006) was born on 16th July 1977 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a twin with Tracey. Their mother’s name was Anne (nee Girdham), and they later had a brother. His parents later divorced and his mother later re-married. As a small child, Bryan and his family moved to North Yorkshire, where he attended Thomas Sumpter School in Scunthorpe. Bryan Budd enlisted into the Parachute Regiment in December 1995, subsequently passing the rigorous selection process for 16 Air Assault Brigade's Pathfinder Platooon, an elite unit specially trained for long range reconnaissance missions. Whilst part of that platoon, he served in many operational theatres, including Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
In May 2002, Budd passed his section commander's battle course with distinction, and was due to be promoted to platoon sergeant. He was a qualified combat survival instructor, rock climber and free-fall parachutist. He was posted to the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in 2004, where he trained young soldiers. Later that year, he married Lorena Lawson, a clerk in 5 Regiment, Royal Artillery at Catterick, North Yorkshire. They had a daughter, Isabelle (born in 2004), and later Imogen, who was born a month after Bryan died in Afghanistan. Sadly, in December 2004, his mother passed away.
He joined 'A' Company of 3 PARA in early June 2006 in the middle of Operation Herrick IV, serving in Helmand Province at a time when the Company was principally concered with helping the Afghan Government counter a resurgence in Taliban activity centred in and around the town of Sangin.
On 27th July 2006, whilst on a routine patrol, Corporal Bryan Budd's section identified and engaged two enemy gunmen on the roof of a building in the centre of Sangin. During the ensuing fierce fire-fight, two of Corporal Budd's section were hit. One was seriously injured and collapsed in the open ground, where he remained exposed to enemy fire, with rounds striking the ground around him. Corporal Budd realised that he needed to regain the initiative and that the enemy needed to be driven back so that the casualty could be evacuated.
Under fire, he personnally led the attack on the building where the enemy fire was heaviest, forcing the remaining fighters to flee across an open field where they were successfully engaged. This courageous and prompt action proved decisive in breaking the enemy and was undertaken at great personal risk. Corporal Budd's decisive leadership and conspicuous gallantry allowed his wounded colleague to be evacuated to safety where he subsequently received life-saving treatment.
A month later, on 20th August 2006 (just five days before he was due home on leave), Corporal Budd was leading his section on the right forward flank of a platoon clearance patrol near Sangin District Centre. Another section was advancing with a Land Rover fitted with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun on the patrol's left flank. Pushing through thick vegetation, Corporal Budd identified a number of enemy fighters 30 metres ahead. Undetected, and in an attempt to surprise and destroy the enemy, Corporal Budd, initiated a flanking manoeuvre. However, the enemy spotted the Land Rover on the left flank and the element of surprise was lost for the whole platoon.
In order to regain the initiative, Corporal Budd decided to assault the enemy and ordered his men to follow him. As they moved forward the section came under a withering fire that incapacitated three of his men. The continued enemy fire and these losses forced the section to take cover. But, Corporal Budd continued to assault on his own, knowing full well the likely consequences of doing so without the close support of his remaining men. He was wounded but continued to move forward, attacking and killing the enemy as he rushed their position.
Inspired by Corporal Budd's example, the rest of the platoon reorganised and pushed forward their attack, eliminating more of the enemy and eventually forcing their withdrawal. Corporal Budd susequently died of his wounds, and when his body was later recovered it was found surrounded by three dead Taliban.
Bryan’s body was returned to the UK, where he was cremated at Woodlands Crematorium, Scunthorpe, and his ashes were interred in Colchester Cemetery, Essex. On Wednesday, 7th March 2007, the widow of Corporal Bryan Budd, Lorena Budd, attended an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace where she received from the Queen the Victoria Cross awarded posthumously to her husband. She attended the Palace with Corporal Budd's stepfather, his sister and brother. Seven other members of 3 Para also received honours for their service in Afghanistan. In an inquest following the events of his action, it is now believed that Bryan was hit and killed by a NATO bullet, not by enemy fire.
Bryan’s medals were initially placed on loan with the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, until on 24th April 2018, it was announced that the medals had been privately purchased by Michael Ashcroft and are now on display in the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: COLCHESTER CEMETERY, COLCHESTER, ESSEX. ASHES INTERRED
The picture of Bryan Budd's grave kindly provided by Kevin Brazier, Author of "The Complete Victoria Cross" book.
Lorena Budd at Buckingham Palace at her husband Bryan's investiture.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
Both the above images are from the Tri-Services Memorial at Woodlands Crematorium, Scunthorpe
Armed Forces Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum
Union Jack Club
Rowley Regis, West Midlands (Paul Lee)
Ashcroft Gallery, IWM (Thomas Stewart)