Herbert Pullman, maternal relative: Menin Road January 1916

Herbert Pullman was born during January 1877 in 56 Hardness St, Ramsgate, Kent, England and was Killed in action in No Mans land between British & German trenches near the Menin Road just south of Ypres Belgium on 23rd January 1916.

Herbert was the brother-in-law of one of my third cousins once removed and was related to me via the Sheward family who are the maternal family of my maternal grandmother. The actual lineage is:

  • Herbert Pullman (1877 - 1916)
  • Frederick Mintern Pullman (1847 - 1916) - father of Herbert Pullman
  • Ernest Owen Pullman (1886 - 1964) - son of Frederick Mintern Pullman
  • Naomi Ruth Price (1890 - 1973) - wife of Ernest Owen Pullman
  • George Price (1864 - 1897) - father of Naomi Ruth Price
  • Maria Sheward (1840 - 1917) - mother of George Price
  • William Sheward (1810 - 1883) - father of Maria Sheward
  • Edward Sheward (1775 - 1853) - father of William Sheward
  • Richard Sheward (1817 - 1870) - son of Edward Sheward
  • Herbert Sheward (1843 - 1906) - son of Richard Sheward
  • Mary Louisa Sheward (1880 - 1967) - daughter of Herbert Sheward
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Mary Louisa Sheward
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

A detailed history of the Pullman's (his fathers family) can be found here.

Herbert was born at 56 Hardness St, Ramsgate, the son of a Fisherman & fishing boat (Smack) owner.

By 1891, when he was 14, he was working as a Fisher lad probably on his fathers boat. The Ramsgate Smacks were sail powered fishing boats usually operated by two men or two men and a boy, with much of the hauling done with a steam winch. Many of the Smacks were operated by family groups.

During April 1898 Herbert married Elizabeth Ann Lushington Hurst at Christ Church, Vale Square, Ramsgate the Anglican church sometimes called the fishermans church. Elizabeth Ann Lushington Hurst was born during July 1877 in 7 Rodney Street, Ramsgate and was the daughter of another Ramsgate fisherman.

Herbert & Elizabeth Ann Lushington Hurst set up home at 5 Horace Lane, St Lawrence, Ramsgate and started a family that grew to six children:

  • Sidney Henry Fredrick Pullman - (1899 – 1989)
  • Charles Herbert A Pullman - (1900 – 1978)
  • Herbert Pullman - (1903 – ?)
  • Emily Ann H J Pullman - (1906 – 1994)
  • Ernest Edward C Pullman - (1908 – 1988)
  • Henry E G Pullman - (1910 – ?)

At the time of the 1911 census we have two records for the family. Herbert is shown to aboard his Smack 'Referee 190', at sea off Ramsgate, Kent, England. Herbert is shown as the Master and his crew are shown to be Thomas Stephens (age 26), Alfred Joad(age 22) & William Hook (age 44). Elezabeth and the children were at the family home, 26 Camden Square, Ramsgate.

His Regiment

When war was declared on 4th August 1914 Herbert soon enlisted in the Army, joining the 8th (Service) Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment as a Private with regimental number G/4013.

When Lord Kitchener became Secretary of State for War, he immediately stated that we must be prepared for a war lasting three years and would require an Army of seventy Divisions.

On 7 August a campaign was started to recruit an additional 100,000 men between the ages of 19 and 30. The response was overwhelming and the first 100,000 men had been recruited within a few days. By the middle of September 500,000 men had enlisted. It was decided by Kitchener not to use the framework of the Territorial Force to expand the Army, but to create new armies separate from the Regulars and the Territorials.

More than 500 New Army Battalions were raised as part of the existing Regiments, the New Army Battalions were numbered consecutively after the existing Battalions in the Regiment, they were distinguished by the word ‘Service’ in brackets after their number.

The  Service Battalions raised during August and September 1914 formed the first three Kitchener Armies also known as K1 (9th-14th Divisions), K2 (15th-20th Divisions) and K3 (21st-26th Divisions).

The 8th (Service) Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment was part of K3 and was formed on the 12 September 1914 at Shoreham, Sussex and joined the 72nd Brigade of the 24th Division and then moved to Worthing, Sussex. In April 1915 the 8th Battalion The Buffs returned to Shoreham and then was moved to Blackdown Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire.

On the 1st September 1915 the Division was mobilised for war and were transported to France, landing at Boulogne. On the 18 October 1915 the 8th (Service) Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment was transferred to the 17th Brigade of the 24th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battle of Loos 25 September - 14 October 1915.

britishtenchsystem ypresAfter the stalemate of The Battle of Loos, the 8th (Service) Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment took up positions in trenches near the Menin Road just a couple of miles south of Ypres, Belgium. The Menin Road ran east and a little south from Ypres to a front line which varied only a few miles during the greater part of the war.

The 8th Battalion was disbanded at Hancourt France on 13th February 1918 and all personnel transferred to the 1st and 6th Battalion’s The Buffs. The Battalion’s entire war losses were 585 men killed (excluding officers).

His Death

Herbert's passing was told to his father in a letter from the front from a Pte. F. Miller, also of the 8th Buffs.

Private Miller wrote: "I am very sorry to say that I have some very painful news for you. Poor young Herbert was shot by a German sniper yesterday (Jan 23rd) and he died shortly after. Leut. Lindley and one of the "Queens" risked their lives in going out to fetch him back and he died just as they reached a place of safety. I cannot tell you any details yet. Everyone sympathsises with you and your wife and family."

The Queen's were The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment who were obviously in the line with the 8th (Service) Battalion, Buffs (East Kent) Regiment.

His Burial

herbert pullmans cemetery at Menin Road BelgiumHerbert Pullman is buried in grave reference I.D. 11 in Menin Road South Military Cemetry, Ypres, Belgium.

Menin Road South Military Cemetery is located approx. 2 miles east of Ypres town centre, on the Meenseweg (N8), connecting Ypres to Menen. The position of this cemetery was always within the Allied lines. It was first used in January 1916 by the 8th South Staffords and the 9th East Surreys, and it continued to be used by units and Field Ambulances until the summer of 1918.

Menin Rpad North Military was on the North side of the road at almost the same point. It was used by the units and Field Ambulances of another Corps from May, 1915, to August, 1916, and again to a small extent in 1917 and 1918. It contained the graves of 130 soldiers from the United Kingdom, three from Canada, and three from Newfoundland.

There are now 1,657 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 119 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials are erected to 24 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. In addition, there are special memorials to 54 casualties who were buried in Menin Road North Military Cemetery, whose graves were probably destroyed by shell fire and could not be found. These are numbered between 1 and 57.

The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.