Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman, maternal relative: February 1917

Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was born during October 1888 at 56 Hardres St, Ramsgate, Kent, England and died from gunshot wounds on 16 February 1917 in France.

Tom was the brother-in-law of one of my third cousins once removed on my mothers side of the family and the actual lineage is:

  • Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman (1888 - 1917)
  • Frederick Mintern Pullman (1847 - 1916) - father of Tom (Thomas) Penny 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

Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was last born of seven children of Frederick Mintern Pullman & Ann Upham Sherred, although Frederick Mintern Pullman had a further child, Freda May with his second wife, Alice Maud White. Frederick also adopted Leslie Andrews, the son Alice Maud had before her mariage to Frederick Mintern.

Frederick Mintern Pullman was born during January 1847 at 4 La Belle Alliance Square, Ramsgate, Kent, England. His father, John, was a Tailor and from Ramsgate too.

Frederick Mintern Pullman married Ann Upham Sherred diring January 1870 in Ramsgate. Ann Upham Sherred was born during July 1848 at Ulcombe, Kent, England. Frederick Mintern Pullman, was at the time of his marriage a Fishing boat owner (boat type = Ramsgate Smack).

Frederick Mintern Pullman & Ann Upham Sherred set up home at 56 Hardres St, Ramsgate where they set about raising their family of seven children:

Elizabeth Ann Pullman - (1873 – ?)
Sidney Frederick Herbert Pullman - (1875 – 1953)
Herbert Pullman - (1877 – 1916)
Emily Pullman - (1879 – ?)
Henry Frederick (Harry) Pullman - (1883 – 1940)
Ernest Owen Pullman - (1886 – 1964)
Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman - (1888 – 1917)

An in depth look at the history of the Pullman family can be found here.

Herbert Pullman also fought (in the British Army) and died in WW1 and his story can be read here.

His Life

Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was lucky. Because his father had a reasonably well paid occupation (fishing boat owner/operator) Tom got to go to school until he was 12. Many other children, at that time, were either uneducated or educated at home because schooling cost a penny per child per week. The national average wage in 1900 was £50 a year!

Because of education, Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was able to be apprenticed as Blacksmith and learn engineering rather than follow in his fathers steps and remain in the fishing industry.

In April 1901 at Census time Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was recorded as staying in the household of Charles Arthur White, husband of Toms sister Emily. They lived at 6 Louisa Terrace, St. Georges Rd, Ramsgate. Chrales Arthur White was another fisherman.

By the time of the 1911 Census, Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was living back at home with his father, Frederick Mintern Pullman at 33 Bellevue Road, Ramsgate and it is recorded that Tom was a Blacksmith, working for an unamed employer, although it is recorded elsewhere that the Ramsgate Blacksmith of that time was Mr Atkins & he liveed at Albert Rd, Ramsgate. However many engineering businesses of that time employed Blacksmiths.

Sometime between 1911 & 1914 Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman accepted the Canadian Government's offer for assisted passage to Canada. From 1900 to 1914 over 2.5 million British persons emigrated to Canada, mainly because the Canadian Government wanted persons to create farms on the plains of the North West Territory.

On the 6 April 1914 Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman boarded the RMS Royal Edward, a steamship liner operated by Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd under the banner of the Royal Line. The ship made the crossing to St. John's Newfoundland, Canada in 10 days (arriving 16th April) and Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman then travelled the 1936 miles to Brampton, Ontario where he took up residence and took on a job as a Machinist/Engineer.

Brampton, Ontario is (today) a suburban city in the Greater Toronto Area and the seat of Peel Region. The city was once known as The Flower Town of Canada with forty-eight hothouse flower nurseries once doing business in the town. The biggest of these was Dale's which at its height had 140 greenhouses and was the largest cut flower business in North America, producing 20 million blooms.

royaledward2RMS Royal Edward

Built by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Glasgow, Scotland as the SS Cairo. The ship had a gross tonnage of 11,117. Its dimensions were 526' x 60' (545' overall length) and it was fitted with triple-screws creating 20 knots from 3 steam turbines. 

Built originally for the Egyptian Mail Steamship Company (British) for a fast service between Marseilles and Alexandria. The service was unsuccessful and the vessel was laid up until sold to Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd. (Royal Line).

After purchase by Canadian Northern Steamships Ltd, the ship was renamed RMS Royal Edward and place on the Avonmouth-Quebec-Montreal service in May 1910.

In late 1914 RMS Royal Edward was converted to a troopship (in Canada) and used to deliver 1,197 troops of 11th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force to Avonmouth on 18 October 1914. The troops joined the CEF Reserve in England before onward transportation to France.

RMS Royal Edward was torpedoed and sunk in the Aegean by UB14 13 August 1915 with the loss of 855 souls. It is believed that she was on her way to Galipoli at the time.

His Military Life

After arriving in Canada and making a life for himself at Brampton, Ontario Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman enlisted in the Canadian Army in Toronto on 1 November 1915 as a Private and was allocated Service Number 775551. His religion was recorded as being Methodist and he was Single.

Initially he joined the 126th Battalion (Peel) of the Canadian Army Expeditionary Force. The unit began recruiting in late 1915 in Peel County, Ontario. After sailing to England in August 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 109th and 116th Battalions and the 8th Reserve Battalion on October 13 1916. The 126th Battalion (Peel) had one Officer Commanding, Lieut-Col. F. J. Hamilton.

At some point, Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman, transferred to the 60th Battalion CEF and it is with this unit that his death was recorded.

The 60th Battalion was authorised on 20 April 1915 and recruited in and was mobilised at Montreal. The Battalion embarked for Great Britain on 4 November 1915 and was transported to France in February 1916 arriving on 21 February, where it fought as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade within the 3rd Canadian Division until 30 April 1917. It was replaced in the field by the 116th Battalion (Ontario County), CEF and its personnel were absorbed by the 5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, CEF and the 87th Battalion (Canadian Grenadier Guards), CEF. The battalion was disbanded on 15 August 1918.

His Death & Burial

Precisely where Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman was located when he was shot and dangerously wounded in the chest & face by gunshot (probably a German sniper) is unknown, however the 60th Battalion took part in the battle of Ancre (also known as the battle of Beaumont Hamel) which took place in November 1916. If he was not injured during that battle (unlikely due to the timings) he was manning the trenches along that part of the Western Front in France that the 60th Battalion occupied following the battle of Ancre.

The clue is in where he was taken after having being shot.

And at this point it is worth explaining the established casualty treatment chain that operated in all British & Commonwealth manned areas of the Western Front.

Frontline Treatment
Intially the injured received first medical attention at aid posts situated in or close behind the front line position. Units in the trenches provided such posts and generally had a Medical Officer, orderlies and men trained as stretcher bearers who would provide this support.

Bearer Posts
The Field Ambulance would provide relays of stretcher bearers and men skilled in first aid, at a series of "bearer posts" along the route of evacuation from the trenches. All involved were well within the zone where they could be under fire.

evacuation from the frontThe Field Ambualance & Dressing Stations
The Field Ambulance was a mobile medical unit, not a vehicle. Each British division had three such units, as well as a specialist medical sanitary unit. The Field Ambulances provided the bearer posts but also estabished Main and Advanced (that is, forward) Dressing Stations where a casualty could receive further treatment and be got into a condition where he could be evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station. Men who were ill or injured would also be sent to the Dressing Stations and in many cases returned to their unit after first aid or some primary care.

There was no hard and fast rule regarding the location of a Dressing Station: existing buildings and underground dug-outs and bunkers were most common, simply because they afforded some protection from enemy shell fire and aerial attack. The Dressing Stations were generally manned by the Field Ambulances of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Once treated at a Dressing Station, casualties would be moved rearward several miles to the Casualty Clearing Station. This might be on foot, on a horse drawn wagon, motor ambulance or lorry or in some cases by light railway.

Casualty Clearing Station
The CCS was the first large, well-equipped and static medical facility that the wounded man would visit. Its role was to retain all serious cases that were unfit for further travel; to treat and return slight cases to their unit; and evacuate all others to Base Hospitals. It was often a tented camp, although when possible the accommodation would be in huts.

CCS's were often grouped into clusters of two or three in a small area, usually a few miles behind the lines and on a railway line. A typical CCS could hold 1,000 casualties at any time, and each would admit 15-300 cases, in rotation. At peak times of battle, even the CCS's were overflowing. Serious operations such as limb amputations were carried out here. Some CCS's were specialist unit, for nervous disorders, skin diseases, infectious diseases, certain types of wounds, etc.

CCS's did not move location very often, and the transport infrastructure of railways usually dictated their location. Most evacuated casualties came away from the CCS by rail, although motor ambulances and canal barges also carried casualties to Base Hospitals, or directly to a port of embarkation if the man had been identified as a "Blighty" case. (In 1916, 734,000 wounded men were evacuated from CCS's by train and another 17,000 by barge, on the Western Front alone. There were 4 ambulance trains in 1914 and 28 by July 1916).

The serious nature of many wounds defied the medical facilities and skills of a CCS, and many CCS positions are today marked by large military cemeteries. CCS's also catered for sick men. Generally, considering the conditions, the troops were kept in good health. Great care was taken in reporting sickness and infection, and early preventive measures were taken. The largest percentage of sick men were venereal disease cases at 18.1 per 1000 casualties; trench foot was next with 12.7. Until mid 1915, the CCS was known as a Clearing Hospital. Generally there was one provided for each Division. From the CCS, the casualty would be evacuated to a Base Hospital.

Base Hospital
Once admitted to a Base Hospital, the soldier stood a reasonable chance of survival. More than half were evacuated to a General or Stationary Hospital for further treatment or convalescence in the United Kingdom. The Stationary Hospitals, two per Division, could hold 400 casualties each. The General Hospital could hold 1040 patients. They were located near the army's principal bases at Boulogne, Le Havre, Rouen, Le Touquet and Etaples. The establishment of a General Hospital included 32 Medical Officers of the RAMC, 3 Chaplains, 73 female Nurses and 206 RAMC troops acting as orderlies, etc. The hospitals were enlarged in 1917, to as many as 2,500 beds.

Canadian Base Hospitals
The Canadian Expeditionary Force established a number of hospitals in Britain to receive their wounded from the frontline in France & elsewhere. Coincidently 2 of these were established in Ramsgate, Kent.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Red Cross Hospital, opened as a convalescent hospital in St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate, on January 1917. An annex to Granville Special Hospital. Equipped by the Canadian Red Cross. Staffed until 1 June 1917 by No. 4 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

Grandville Special Hospital, opened 20 November 1915 in the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate. The hotel had been taken over by the War Office for use as a hospital for Canadians requiring prolonged and special treatment. Closed in August 1917 because of bombing and bombardment of Ramsgate.

So had Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman made it back to "Blighty" (as mainland England was called in those times by the soldiers), he could well have ended up being cared for in his home town.

Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman's Medical Attention

Tom received severe chest & face wounds, probably from a German sniper, and he was considered to be in a dangerous condition. He would therefore have been picked up by his units frontline stretcher bearers and initially be seen by the Medial Officer or ordelies who determined he was in a bad shape and arranged for his evacuation.

tompennypullmanHe then would have gone via a Bearer Post to a Field Ambualance & Dressing Station and then onto 42 Casualty Clearing Station which was situated at the village of Aubigny-en-Artois, in the Somme in France. Aubigny-en-Artois is approximately 9 miles north-west of Arras on the road to St. Pol.

It is known that the 10th Canadian Field Ambulanace was based at Bruay-la-Buissière which is about 9 miles from Aubigny-en-Artois and it could well have been via this unit that Tom arrived at 42 Casualty Clearing Station.

Unfortunately, Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman died from his wounds on 16th February 1917 and was buried in the Aubigny Communial Cemetery Extension soon afterwards.

Aubigny Communial Cemetery Extension

Before March, 1916, Aubigny was in the area of the French Tenth Army, and 327 French soldiers were buried in the Extension to the West of what is now Plot IV. From March 1916 to the Armistice, Aubigny was held by Commonwealth troops and burials were made in the Extension until September 1918. The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station buried in it during the whole period, the 30th in 1916 and 1917, the 24th and 1st Canadian in 1917 (during the capture of Vimy Ridge by the Canadian Corps) and the 57th in 1918. The Extension now contains 2,771 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.

The Extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman is buried in Grave 18 within the Canadian burial section.

His Will

Following his death, on 3rd September 1918, Tom (Thomas) Penny Pullman's Will was read and he was declared as being resident at 3 Arklow Terrace, Ramsgate, Kent, England (his last address before emigrating to Canada). He left his effects and £233 18s 5d to his brother, Sidney Frederick Pullman who was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy.