Born on 27 June 1884, HH Budd was the only son of Herbert Goldingham and Harriet Amy Budd. His father was a prominent doctor in Worcester. His mother suffered from frequent depression and spent much of her life in lunatic Asylums. Upon his father’s death in 1902, it is likely that Herbert, then 17, was brought up by his Aunt Emily, his mother by then being almost permanently incarcerated in the Powick Lunatic Asylum in Worcester. Herbert Hayward was to follow in the family tradition, becoming a doctor at St Mary’s teaching hospital in 1911. From then on, he was always known as ‘The Doc’.
The Great War finally caught up with The Doc in June 1915. Plucked from his job as a doctor in a quiet suburb of Bournemouth, Herbert Hayward Budd joined the Royal Navy on 12th June 1915 as a Lieutenant Temporary Surgeon. Initially posted to Haslar Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, he requested a shore appointment while he dealt with a possible litigation action (no other details are known, although two cases of debt are recorded in his early service record). Following time at the Clement Talbot Works in Wormwood Scrubs, an experimental establishment, his shore time was eventually brought to an end when he was posted as Ship’s Surgeon on the Armadale Castle in August 1916.
The 13,000 ton Armadale Castle, a transport ship of the Union Castle Line, was pressed into service for the duration of the War and was used as a supply, transport and patrol vessel. Travelling via Durban, The Doc joined ship at Simonstown on 13th September 1916. Following a brief stop in Cape Town, the Doc set sail for Nova Scotia, passing a small rocky island known as Robben Island at around 8am on 20th September, a place which was to figure prominently in his life once the War was over. Following a brief stop to refuel in the Grenadines, The Armadale Castle landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 10th October. Offloading £4m of gold bullion to help pay for the War effort, and embarking over 120 sailors from the Canadian Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, she set sail for her home port of Liverpool, arrivTing on 11th November, where she was to undergo a 2 month refit. Taking advantage of this time alongside, Lieutenant Budd took shore leave and traveled to London where Lil was waiting for him. On 21st November, 1916, Herbert Hayward Budd (32), married Lisle Louise Soper (23) at Hammersmith Registry office (it’s likely that Lil was living there having followed him up to London the prior year). At Elm Brook, Kinson, it’s understood that Herbert’s aunt Emily immediately dismissed her servant girl, Maude (Lil’s sister), as it was not appropriate to have a sister in law engaged as a servant. The Sopers and the Budds were joined by marriage but the class divide was never bridged; Lil never mixed with nor spoke of the Budd family in later life. Nonetheless, Lil’s life was to be fundamentally transformed by the marriage to Herbert – her servant days were over.
January 1917 saw the Armadale Castle complete her refit at Liverpool and Lieutenant Budd rejoining ship. Following a short period of gun trials, the Armadale Castle made for the North Sea for the first of three patrols Herbert was to undertake that year. Patrolling the Nordic coastlines, Iceland and the far reaches of the North Sea, these month-long winter patrols would have been arduous and uncomfortable (reports of ice packs are found in the Ship’s log on one patrol, and there is regular damage to the vessel due to high seas and storms). Often boarding merchant vessels (and on at least one occasion transferring Lieutenant Budd to provide medical assistance), these patrols were designed to protect Britain’s northern maritime borders.￼ In July 1917 there is more evidence of financial troubles for Herbert with a further Debt Case entered against his name in the Admiralty papers. At the end of July, perhaps missing his new wife too much, or needing to sort out his personal affairs, Lieutenant Budd applied for a shore appointment. The entry in his service record is terse, and can only reflect the manner of the reply he received: “on applic[ation] for shore appt, [Director of Surgeons] points out offr was on shore till aug 1916 + might have managed his personal affairs then. He does not think his pecuniary loss can be ascribed to the service”. It is perhaps all too tempting to be cynical about what happened next, but within three weeks of receiving this reply, Lieutenant Budd left the ship due to ill health and was sent to Haslar Naval Hospital where he had begun his Navy career. There he was discharged ‘unfit for further service’ on 14th September 1917. The Doc saw out the War as a doctor in Shrewton in Wiltshire. His application for the Silver War Badge (denoting injury in service) was declined and so the remaining year of the war, ostensibly an able-bodied man able to serve his country was no doubt uncomfortable for him. As War ended, his thoughts turned from rural Wiltshire to more exotic places. Perhaps recalling his impressions of South Africa as he boarded The Armadale Castle, he applied to join the Medical Service of South Africa in 1919. The Doc and Lil obtained their passport to travel in November 1919 and prepared to leave England for South Africa. As they celebrated New Year 1920, The Doc’s and Lil’s thoughts must have been full of hope anticipation at the adventure which lay ahead of them, not least because by this time Lil was pregnant.
HMS Armadale Castle in Cape Town
The Doc, Haslar Hospital 1915
The Doc and Lil