Stoker K/40067 Ernest Alfred Bull
H.M.S. 'Victory' Royal Navy
Stoker Bull was born in Salisbury on the 25th September 1882, the son of William and Mary Ann Bull.
By the census of 1891 they family was in Church Street, Hungerford. In 1909 Ernest Bull married Annie Georgina Chilton, of Prospect Road, Church Street, Hungerford. In the 1911 census he was was working as a car man for an ironmonger. The family were living in Church Street, along with his young son William David Plantier Bull.
Ernest Bull enlisted at Portsmouth on the 18th January 1917 for the duration of hostilities having previously served in the RNVR (Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve). He was described as being 5ft 5 inches tall, brown hair, grey eyes with a fresh complexion.
He died on Saturday, 17th January 1920, age 37. His address was given as Canalside, Hungerford. He is buried in St. Saviour's Cemetery, Eddington. It is believed that the Bull family were chimney sweeps and plumbers in the town.
- The CWGC headstone for Stoker Bull in St. Saviour's churchyard, Hungerford
- The crest of the naval shore base HMS Victory
He served as a stoker 2nd class at HMS Victory from the 18th January 1917 to the 1 Mar 1917 when he was invalided out of the service with Tuberculosis and referred to pension on the 27th March 1917. He was ruled to be ineligible for War Gratuity.
HMS Victory was the name given to the shore base of Portsmouth Naval Barrack. The barracks opened in 1903, when the C in C Portsmouth moved from HMS Excellent to HMS Victory (the ship) then to the shore. The shore barracks were then named HMS Victory. (Today called HMS Nelson).
Phil Wood kindly contacted the Virtual Museum (March 2012) with a further snippet about two other members of the Bull family in Hungerford, found in the NWN 17th May 1917 p.8 under "Local War Notes":
"Mrs W Bull of Hazeldene, Church Street, Hungerford, received the news that her two sons, Frank and Albert, were wounded and are now at the Northern General Hospital, Lincoln.
Previous to joining up, one was in business in London; the other at Weston-super-Mare.
Frank joined the Nelson Battalion Royal Naval Reserve, and Albert the Middlesex Regiment.
Both, unknown to each other, were in action on the Arras sector, one with the Force which attacked and took the village Gavrelle, Frank going through the engagement all right.
On the Wednesday after (April 25th) while conveying a despatch across an open space, he says "I was pinged by a German sniper in the shoulder. I could not get down to the dressing station owing to severe fighting that day, but the next morning, at daybreak, I made for it and got to the general hospital. On Saturday I passed for Blighty. Sunday morning I was aroused early by the usual in order to go by train to catch a boat, and wounded or not, I made a quick shift. Arriving on the boat at Calais about noon, I walked along deck having a look around, when suddenly someone tapped my on the shoulder.
Who should it be but brother Albert. We were both too surprised to speak, meeting each other under such conditions after not seeing each other for upwards of seven years. Each of our first words were "What are you doing here?".
Albert, with his right arm in a sling, and myself with my left also slung up. He was wounded two days earlier than myself. His arm is very badly shattered; mine will not be long bad, as it is only a flesh wound, but Albert's will be some months. Both of us are, however, getting on very well."