IN a battle of terrifying intensity, Patrick Budgen was a one-man whirlwind.
The 20-year-old former barman and sports ace was in the midst of the desperate fighting at Polygon Wood in September 1917 — where his audacious courage and fierce care for his comrades, displayed repeatedly over two days, earned the Victoria Cross.
His citation read he was “always foremost in volunteering for any dangerous mission”.
When his 31st Battalion’s advance was held up by machine-gunners in pillboxes, Private Budgen joined a small group who took out the gunners by hurling bombs then captured the survivors at bayonet-point.
Next, in the confused scrapping, he spotted an Aussie corporal captured by the Germans and being led away. Dashing forward, he saved the prisoner by shooting and bayoneting his captors.
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He also braved intense machine-gun and shellfire five times to drag wounded mates to safety. It was on his attempt to rescue a sixth that he was hit, fatally — his prestigious medal awarded posthumously.
NSW-born Budgen, who first tried to enlist while underage, was one of several true heroes who stood out at Polygon Wood, in Belgium.
That battle, and their actions, is one of the key events featured in the stunning new ANZAC 360 experience launched this weekend.
A collaboration between News Corp Australia and the Department of Veterans Affairs, produced by Grainger films, ANZAC 360 takes users right into the middle of Australia’s most terrifying, gripping and important moments on the Western Front — and all you need is a phone.
ANZAC 360 is an app featuring three-minute video clips of key sites and events. It uses 360-degree surround video of the modern landscape, taken with drones and at ground-level, with period imagery, graphics and sound effects overlaid.
It’s easy to use: Download for free from the App Store or Google Play and play it on your phone or tablet; or if you prefer check out a version at AnzacLive on Facebook.
We recommend headphones for surround audio and standing or sitting still while the intro map scene of each clip plays — then moving your device and body around to get the full immersive experience.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Darren Chester, overnight launched ANZAC 360 at the Sir John Monash Centre near the legendary battleground of Villers-Bretonneux — also featured in the experience, along with Fromelles, Pozieres, Tyne Cot, Menin Gate and many more key sites along the Australian Trail of Remembrance.
“The partnership with News Corp Australia will allow us to take viewers on a journey by exploring Australia’s story on the Western Front through a present day lens and technology,” he said.
“This year we have seen our nation commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battles in Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux, and also mark the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, which covers just some of the topics and sites featured in these videos.
“I encourage all Australians to download the app and view the videos, learn more about the Australian Remembrance Trail and in doing so, never forgetting our troops and what they did right here on the Western Front.”
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