30-year-old Private George Bullivant died on 7th November 1914 serving with the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. He was born in Earlswood in 1885 and was still living there, aged 6, in 1891 with his parents, George (a bricklayer’s labourer) and Rose (also listed in other records as Rosanna(h)). George (junior) was the second youngest of the couple’s nine children (they seem to have had seven boys and two girls). The eldest child, John, was recorded with the family on the 1891 census, aged 25, but must have been home on leave as his occupation was recorded as a seaman in the Royal Navy.
George (senior) and Rosannah had both died by the time of the 1901 census – George in 1897 and Rose in 1900. Their youngest child, Albert (also recorded as Bertie), would have been just 13 when he was orphaned.
By 1901, George (junior) was aged 16 and still living in Earlswood, working as a groom and living in the household of farmer, John W. Lea. It’s not known when he enlisted in the Army, as his service record appears not to have survived. He also does not appear to be in the Earlswood area on the 1911 census, so it is possible that he was in the military at this point.
It’s possible that he is the same George Bullivant who appeared as a witness at the Michaelmas sessions of Warwick Borough Quarter Sessions, October 1911, in respect of an accusation against a former yard foreman at the Warwick Arms Hotel. The Leamington Spa Advertiser reported that the former worker was accused of the theft in November 1909 of a harness belonging to the landlord, but said in his defence that he had bought the harness from a coachman to a Mr Hammond. George Bullivant appeared as a witness, and his occupation was given as coachman. However, there is a George Bullivant, coachman, aged 56, living in Leamington Spa at the time of the 1911 census, who seems a more likely candidate. Interestingly, this George, and his wife Alice, were recorded on the 1891 census as neighbours of the family of George Bullivant who died in 1914. So there were three George Bullivants living in two neighbouring houses in Earlswood in 1891!
As Private Bullivant’s service record doesn’t appear to have survived, we don’t know exactly when he joined the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The Soldiers Died in the Great War says that he was “formerly 8124, East Lancashire Regiment” but we haven’t found any further information regarding his military service.
The 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers was in Malta when war was declared, returning to Southampton on 3rd September, before setting off for Belgium a few weeks later, landing in Zeebrugge on 7th October (information from the Long, Long Trail website). George Bullivant’s medal index card gives the date he entered a Theatre of War as 12th September 1914. George Bullivant is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres, as well as locally on memorials at Hockley Heath, St Patrick’s Salter Street, and Umberslade Baptist Church.
If you have any further information about George Bullivant, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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