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Arthur William Bull was born in Watford, Hertfordshire on the 1st August 1890 to Edwin and Harriet Bull (nee Stapleton). Edwin Bull was born in Tring and his wife Harriet was born in Ridgmont, Bedfordshire which is where the couple married on the 2nd August 1875.

Arthur was the youngest of eight children born to the couple, the others being;

  • Harriet Alice b 1876 in Lambeth, London
  • Eleanor Jane b 1878 in Chelsea, London
  • Edwin John b 1880 in Chelsea, London
  • Emily b 1882 in Watford
  • Frederick George b 1884 in Watford
  • Sydney b 1886 in Watford
  • Cecilia Dorothea b 1888 in Watford

In 1901 the Bull family residence was 4 St. Albans Road in Watford where Arthur`s father was running his own business operating as an egg merchant. The house had eight rooms in total so Edwin Bull`s business was obviously a successful one. On the 4th September 1903 Arthur was admitted as a pupil at Watford Grammar School and he remained there until July 1907 which was just prior to his 17th birthday.

The family was still living at the same address in 1911 and it seems Edwin Bull had expanded his business and was now dealing in butter as well as eggs. By this time Arthur was also working, his four years at the grammar school in Watford had enabled him to find a job as a clerk in the civil service. The rest of the family had a variety of jobs, Harriet and Emily were both dressmakers, Sydney was a plumber, Edwin was helping his father with the family business while Eleanor and Cecilia were both described as a `mother`s help`. The only one missing was Frederick and he was boarding with a family in Saltley, Warwickshire where he was employed as a coach body maker at the Wolseley Motor Company.

Unfortunately Arthur`s service papers are missing so information on him is fairly limited. However, it would seem that he initially enlisted into the Army Cyclist Corps and had the service number 9242.

The photograph below was probably taken after his enlistment and it shows Arthur wearing his Army Cyclist Corps cap badge.


Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of Arthur`s great niece Sarah Jane Oxford.

His Medal Index Card indicates that Arthur did not go overseas until after January 1916 and further information from the Medal Rolls shows that he also served with the 9th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

At some point in time he was transferred to the 10th Battalion of the LNL and was with them in the trenches in the area around Le Touret when he was killed in action on the 25th December 1916.

Extract from the 10th Battalion War Diary

23.12.16 – Haystack Post (trenches) – Enemy quiet. Condition of trenches (breastworks) generally good.

24.12.16 – At 12 noon today we commenced a slow intermittent gun fire on enemy`s front line trenches – in co-operation worked the trench mortars, lewis guns, machine guns and snipers – this – to prevent fraternising. Enemy’s retaliation feeble – killed – an N.C.O. and wounded – a private.

25.12.16 – The intermittent artillery fire became slightly more intense at `stand to`. The enemy has so far shown no sign of leaving his trench – to greet us!

Arthur was buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery and his date of death was confirmed as the 25th December 1916 and this date was also recorded on his headstone.

However the CWGC original Grave Registration Report which was compiled in September 1920 gives his date of death as the 24th December 1916 which seems to concur with the 24th December 1916 entry in the war diary.

Harriet Alice Bull at AW Bull gravestone

Arthur`s eldest sister Harriet standing by her brother’s grave in Le Touret during the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Sarah Jane Oxford

After the war Arthur was awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

Bull 2

Arthur’s CWGC headstone, photographed August 2015

Rank: Lance Corporal
Service No: 33921
Date of Death: 25/12/1916
Age: 26
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

Janet Davis
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