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Lieut J. H. Pullin

John Henton Pullin was born in Darlington in December 1893 and was the only son of William Henton Pullin and Emily Maria Pullin of 176 Hurst Grove, Bedford.

He was educated at Bedford Grammar School and entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, in 1912 as an Exhibitioner.

John took his commission in September 1914 and after a period with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment he joined the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with whom he proceeded to France on 25th September 1915.

On 19th January 1916 the 9th Battalion supported an attack by the 2nd Battalion Irish Rifles on the LE TOUQUET SALIENT. The 9th Battalion were detailed to cause a diversion by a feint attack from trenches 95 – 102 by delivering a gas attack, with rifle, machine gun and grenade fire. The faux attack was successfully carried out although two men were killed, one being Private Alston and the other Private Del. Lieutenant John Henton Pullin was also severely injured and died of his wounds two days later.

The Eagle, a magazine supported by members of St John’s College and printed in March 1916 carried the following article;

Lieutenant John Henton Pullin of the 9th Battalion the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, who died on 21 January 1916 of wounds received on the previous day, was the only child of Mr William Henton Pullin, now of 176, Hurst Grove, Bedford.

Lieutenant Pullin was born at Darlington 16 December 1893, and was educated at Bedford Grammar School ; entering the College in October 1912 with an Exhibition for Classics. He was a successful oar, stroking the winning College Trial Eight in December 1913, and he stroked the Second Lent Boat and the Second May Boat respectively in 1914. He also stroked the Lady Margaret Eight which entered for the Ladies’ Plate at Henley in 1914.

On the outbreak of war he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th (Service) Battalion The King’s Own (Royal Lancashire Regiment) 17 October 1914, and was afterwards transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, in which he received the rank of Lieutenant.

On January 20, Pullin was in charge of a special platoon in an advanced position near Armentieres. He had just left his dug-out to look after some of his men, when he was struck on the head by a piece of shrapnel which penetrated the brain. He died 24 hours later without regaining consciousness, and was buried at Bailleul. Among numerous letters from brother officers we may quote from that of his Captain, who writes : “no work he could do as my second-in-command was too much, but I have lost far more than a loyal officer in the breaking of one of those few real, true friendships one makes in life.”

The Colonel wrote: “he was an officer that I had the greatest trust in, steady and conscientious to a degree, and greatly liked both by officers and men, and I am sure he would have gone far if he had been spared.”

No one who knew Pullin at St John’s will be surprised to hear that he made his mark during his short career in the Army. He was a man of high ideals who, with a quiet and unassuming manner, was absolutely firm in doing his duty and in shewing moral as well as physical courage. His prominence in the College was clue not merely to his intellectual and athletic powers, but to his force of character, added to an extremely winning disposition.

Rank: Lieutenant
Date of Death: 21/01/1916
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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