In fact I would go so far as to say that at least two former Budleigh residents have changed the course of world history.
I learnt about the first shortly after my arrival in the town back in 2008. Admittedly, my source was Wikipedia. Not the most reliable perhaps, but the story of how General John Graves Simcoe had unwittingly saved the life of the USA’s first President, George Washington, during the American War of Independence is so picturesque that it deserves a glorious mention in our town’s annals.
You can read in the next edition of Fairlynch’s magazine The Primrose about the courageous naval officer who retired to live in our area after playing a key role in enabling this new and world-shaping means of communication.
At the time, it was not the speediest means of communication: Queen Victoria's message of 98 words took sixteen hours to send.
But President Buchanan’s inspiring response was worth the wait. The telegraph, he wrote, ‘is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of Heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world.’