CWG: Stoker 1st Class William Bullock

Stoker 1st Class William Bullock

William Bullock was born on 25th December 1882, one of nine children to William and Ellen Bullock. William Sr was a fish fryer from London, and this is where he and Ellen brought up their family.

When he left school, William worked as a coster and porter, and, in 1909, he married long time love Amelia Horrigan. The couple went on to have four children: two boys and two girls.

War was closing in on Europe and, on 23rd November 1915, William enlisted. He joined the Royal Navy a a Stoker 2nd Class: his service records state that he stood 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall, had dark brown hair, hazel eyes and a fresh complexion.

Stoker Bullock’s first posting was HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, Kent. He spent most of his time there, returning to the base after voyages on board HMS Cheerful and HMS Shannon. It was while on board the Shannon that William was promoted to Stoker 1st Class.

In August 1917, William was back at HMS Pembroke. The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that he found himself billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Bullock was among those killed instantly. He was 34 years old.

William Bullock was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham. Tragically, the Navy Death records state that he was: Buried as “unidentified” in one of the following graves – 516, 522, 735, 642, 935, 937 or 948.

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