Harry Bullock | Profile

Regiment Rank Service No Place of Birth Date of Death Age Burial
1st South Staffs Private 8427 Brewood 31 Oct 1916 28 Vevey (St Martin’s), Switzerland

Genealogical Data

Birth of Harry Richard Bullock registered March quarter 1888 in Cannock.

1891 Census
Slade Heath, Brewood, Staffordshire.
James Bullock (44, Agricultural Labourer, born Shifnal), his wife Mary (41, born Montgomeryshire), and their 4 children: Joseph (18, Farm Wagonner, born Shifnal), David Cand (6, born Albrighton), Harry Richard (3, Groom, born Albrighton), and George Morgan (1, born Slade Heath).

1901 Census
48 Regent Street, Woodsetton, Staffordshire.
James Bullock (52, Farm Wagonner, born Shropshire), his wife Mary (50, born Montgomeryshire), and their 5 children: Joseph (29, General Carter, born Shropshire), David (16, Groom, born Coven), Harry (13, Groom, born Coven), George (11, born Coven), and Benjamin (8, born Coven).

1911 Census
1st Bn South Staffs, South Barracks, Gibraltar.
Harry Bullock, Private, 22, Single, born Brewood.

Personal Life

It would appear that Harry Bullock, Andrew Ellis, and Joseph Franklin were pals in Woodsetton. They all joined the 1st Battalion, South Staffords, at the same time in either 1908 or 1909 and had consecutive numbers 8427, 8429, and 8428 respectively.

In 1901 Bullock lived at 48 Regent Street, Ellis at 49 Regent Street, and Franklin on the opposite side of Sedgley Road West, at 3 Wren Street. Bullock and Franklin were the same age and so possibly school mates, and Bullock and Ellis were next-door neighbours. In 1911 all three were serving with the 1st Battalion, South Staffords, and were stationed in the South Barracks, Gibraltar.

All 3 landed in Zeebruge on 4th October 1914, and would have seen ferocious action in the First Battle of Ypres. Within 5 weeks, Ellis and Franklin were dead, and Bullock was a prisoner of war and would die 2 years later.

During Harry’s time as a prisoner of war, his army pay continued to accrue. A total of £64/11/7d (64 pounds 11 shillings and 7 pence) was distributed to Harry’s brothers David, George and Benjamin in 1917, and a War Gratuity of £12/10/0d paid just to his brother David in 1919.

Cause of Death

Harry landed in Zeebrugge with the initial landing of the 1st South Staffs on 4th October 1914. In 1911 he had been a regular soldier in the 1st South Staffs, stationed in Gibraltar; it is likely that he was still a regular soldier at the outbreak of war.

The 1st South Staffs arrived in Ypres on the 14th October 1914, and were in the thick of the first Battle of Ypres in which the British Expeditionary Force suffered 50,000 casualties. Between the 19th to 21st October they fought on the Broodseinde Ridge, a successful delaying action which inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans. They were then involved in the Battle of Langemarck between the 21st to 24th October, and by 26th October in action near Zantvoorde. The 1st South Staffords War Diary stops on 26th October 1914, as the few remaining officers were concentrating on the action. Remaining in the Zandvoorte area, they took further severe casualties between the 29th and 31st October during the Battle of Gheluvelt, infamous for the 2nd Worcesters charge on the 31st October at Gheluvelt.

According to the German records with the Red Cross, Harry was captured on 30th October 1914 near Ypres (Selesbeeke). By October 1916 Harry was interred in Switzerland; this may suggest that he was wounded or sick as otherwise he would probably have been in a German Prisoner of War camp. Harry died on 31st October 1916, he was originally buried in Leysin, his grave was later concentrated to Vevey.

Newspaper Cuttings

  • BIRMINGHAM SOLDIERS PRISONERS OF WAR | Birmingham Mail, 6th January 1915

    Private H. Bullock, of the 1st South Staffordshire Regiment, who had a brother in Birmingham and another in Woodsetton, near Dudley, is a prisoner of war at Altdamm, in Germany. Writing to one of his brothers on December 9, he says: “Time is hanging very heavily with nothing to do and nothing to smoke. I should be pleased to receive a bit of tobacco, also a small parcel of anything eatable, such as cake or biscuits, or anything that will help to fill a big hole up. We are allowed to receive parcels of anything except newspapers.” Bullock also asks for a supply of notepaper, “as it is a terrible job getting any here, having got no money and no hope of having any”.