Arthur Frederick Henry Bull, born 1868 in St Pancras

For related information see List, Place Index and Wills Index

Arthur BullSummary

Youngest son in the family, with four brothers and five sisters. Brought up by his mother as a widow. Started work as a porter and progressed to become a commercial traveller. Then served in the Post Office for about 37 years, until enlisting and serving in India. He died shortly after his return, a casualty of flu.

Parents and family

The 1881 Census has only one Arthur BULL born in St Pancras within 2 years of 1886. He is the son of Amelia and Frederick BULL. There is only one birth registration in that period for an Arthur Henry Frederick BULL anywhere in the country and that is in St Pancras. It therefore seems almost 100% certain that is the registration of Arthur's birth. That certificate gives his father as Frederick Henry William BULL, Commercial Traveller, and his mother as Amelia BULL formerly GAYWOOD.

Arthur's wedding certificate gives his father as Henry William Frederick BULL, Commercial Traveller. However, transposition of forenames and even the clear use of false forenames occurs elsewhere amongst the records for this family. 


He was born on 21 May 1867 at 5 London Street, St Pancras, London. The birth registration (Sept Q 1867, Pancras, 1b, 31) states that he was Arthur Henry Frederick BULL, son of F. H. W. BULL, Commercial Traveller, and Amelia BULL formerly GAYWOOD.

Childhood and education

Arthur was the son of a commercial traveller but appears to have lost his father in the year that he was born.

The 1871 Census has his family at 8 Park Street, (adjacent to Regents Park), Marylebone, London. At that time it comprised -


The 1881 Census shows the family at 24 Paradise St, St Pancras, London, Middlesex. At which time it comprised -
Charles EVERARD's relationship was somewhat unusually described as 'other'. EVERARD seems to have taken Adolphus under his wing as they share their occupation.

Arthur joined the Post Office. In Feb 1891 the appointment of one Arthur H BULL at Woodford Green is listed in the British Postal Service Appointment Books. (British Postal Museum and Archive; Series: POST 58; Reference Number: 91.).

In February 1891 Arthur H BULL was appointed as a postman at Woodford Green

The 1891 Census lists him as aged 23, named Arthur H F BULL and born in St Pancras. He is living at 6 High Beech Road, Loughton, Essex, where he is a boarder with his wife-to-be and several of her children and another boarder from Newmarket, Cambs. 
This census shows Arthur employed as a postman's messenger. This was to be the start of a career in the Post Office (so there is probably information waiting to be found at The British Postal Museum & Archives).

Marriage to Lavinia McIntosh

On 30 May 1892, at the Registry Office in the district of Epping, he married Lavinia Maria MCINTOSH (nee Curtis, widow of  John Allen MCINTOSH). The marriage certificate gives the following details -
Groom: Arthur Henry Frederick Bull, aged 24, batchelor, Postman, residing in Staples Road, Loughton, Essex. Father Henry William Frederick Bull (deceased), commercial traveller. Bride: Lavinia Maria Mackintosh [but signed McIntosh], aged 34, widow, resident of High Beech Road, Loughton, Essex. Father Henry Curtis, gardener. Witnesses: John E Guy, Ina H Ward, Annie Florence Guy.

Married life

In 1893 a son called Arthur Henry F BULL appears to have been born as BMD indexes show a birth under this name was registered in the June Quarter in Epping, Essex. The family recall an Arthur BULL who died in infancy.

On the 4 Feb 1895 his daughter Ivy Lavinia BULL was born in Loughton, Essex. Ivy married Ernest Henry HICKS in 1028 in Loughton Essex. At that time his occupation is described as “Letter Carrier.”

In 1897 a son called Harold Victor BULL appears to have been born as BMD indexes show a birth under this name was registered in the June Quarter in Epping, Essex.

In 1898 Harold Victor BULL appears to have died. BMD indexes show a death under this name, aged 1, under the June Quarter of 1898. The family recall an Harold BULL who died in infancy.

In 1898 Arthur Henry F BULL also appears to have died. BMD indexes show a death under this name was registered in the June Quarter in Epping, Essex. He would have been about 6.

On 30 Sep 1899 Gladys Evelyn BULL was born , she later married Walter COLLINSON (b.1908 - d.1997).  She died in 1997 in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, a few months after her husband.

The 1901 Census has him living at High Beech Road, at which time the family comprised:
On 26 March 1910 his step-daughter Violet married William Rock MURRAY.
Arthur and Lavinia (seated) are on the right. Their daughters Gladys and Ivy are the bridesmaids and look about 10-12 and 15-17 respectively. The girl's age dates this picture to around the time of Violet MCINTOSH's wedding and so I believe that this picture is probably of that marriage. Arthur is on the groom's side even though the bridesmaids are his daughters.  Lavinia and Arthur at a McIntosh wedding
This family group picture date from around the same period as the wedding group shown above. Lavinia, Arthur, Ivy and Galdys

The 1911 Census shows the family a 6 High Beech Road, Loughton, Essex. At that time the family comprised:

The first world war

By the time of the first world war, Arthur would have been in his fifties.

According to his obituary (below), he volunteered in 1914. Documentation connected to the award of his British War Medal provides an overview of the regiments he served in and his rank.The entry for "Rifle Brigade. (TF)." in the 1919 Register of Individuals Entitled to the British War Medal is particularly revealing, and through the inclusion of his date of death, confirms conclusively that it refers to him.

206773; rank Rfm. [Rifleman]; BULL Arthur H.F.; previously served in 24/Rif. Brig. Rfm.702, theatre of war India; 12.2.16 to 17.3.19. Died 4.6.19. Annotated Rt'd nl 743 K.R. CRV46/13/B. all 723 Authy 7956/asr.

This record also corroborates the period of 3.5 years that a later obituary claimed he served in India.The basic details of the above record are confirmed by his medal card itself.
BULL Arthur H F
Corps: Rif. Brig, Rank: Pte, Regtl. No.: 702;
Corps: -do-, Rank: [blank], Regtl. No.: 206773;

Medal: British, Roll: TP/105 A/a, Page.:110 [indicating that he rendered approved service overseas]
There are some remarks, but they are hard to decipher, something like "Retd(1743 Kb)7956/Asr"
At the bottom right the card is annotated 7956/Asr

It is fairly normal for soldiers who served in Europe during WW1 to get both British War and Victory medals, but it seems that, if a soldier served in a garrison in India he would normally get only the British War Medal. The abbreviation "Retd" was used when the medal was returned for some reason, e.g. the recipient had moved house, or in protest.

The service number 702 was a regular Rifle Brigade service number and, based on a site dating the number ranges, he would have been given it c. 1890-91 or c. 1904-05. As Arthur appears to have been working for the Post Office during both these periods it is possible that he was originally allocated this lower Service Number as a reservist.

A directory published in 1915 lists an Arthur H BULL at 5 Kings green, High Road, Loughton.( London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London City Directories. Pg 289). This suggests that his initial service was undertaken near to home. It is, therefore), likely that Arthur initially joined a territorial force linked to the Essex Regiment ( his cap badge seems in keeping with that.
Arthur Bull with his wife Lavinia The cap badge is not clear, but its overall features seem to better resemble the Essex Regiment (wreaths on either side; a taller central element, topped by an asymmetric object, projecting above the wreaths, and resembling a lion couchant in outline; two parallel and shorter elements flanking the central one, divergent downward pointing projections at the base, a bit like the tails of a bow). It is clearly not the distinctive cross-bearing badge of the Rifle Brigade

On 28 Nov 1915 the 4th (Home Counties) Battalion of the Rifle Brigade's Territorial Force was formed from supernumerary TF Companies, manned by National Reservists, who had, until then been guarding potential targets at home. The 24th (Home Counties) Rifle Brigade was a Territorial Force and drafted supernumerary men on the National Reserve, taking men from several Regiments, including the Essex.

Between Nov 1915 and Feb 1916, Arthur presumably acquired his later Rifle Brigade service number.

On 12 Feb 1916 Arthur began his service with the Rifle Brigade in India. The 24th (Home Counties) Battalions Territorial Force was part of the 26th Reserve Brigade, along with the 18th & 23rd Battalions. The three Battalions were used for garrison duty at vulnerable points.
Arthur Bull in military uniform The large 'tip-upward' chevron worn on the lower left sleeve of this tunic is a good conduct badge. They were awarded to soldiers of a rank below corporal and one stripe indicated two years good service. They were only worn on the individuals service dress tunic. The leopard skin rug and lightweight uniform are consistent with the picture having been taken in India, for sending home.

Arthur's daughter, Ivy, kept various mementos, including a notebook with drawings and pressed flowers. Amongst its contents are a sprig of Maidenhair Fern, an Ivy leaf, and a sprig of clubmoss, all labelled 'Kailana' (a former Imperial hill station in northern India, at which many regiments staged whilst on route elsewhere).

0n 6 March 1919 the situation of the 24th Battalion prompted a question in Parliament, from Mr Cautley who"asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the 24th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade has been in India for more than three years; that it is composed mainly of men voluntarily enlisted at or immediately after the commencement of the War; and that it contains between 400 and 500 men over forty-one years of age, of whom the majority are over forty-five, many over fifty, and some even over sixty years of age; is he aware that the large majority of these men are married and have families and that a considerable number have situations at home that have been kept open for them; and whether, in the interests of justice, he can take immediate steps to bring these men home before the hot season commences?" Hansard HC Deb 06 March 1919 vol 113 cc642W

Germany agreed to a cease fire on 11 November 1918 (Armistice Day) , but Arthur did not finish his service in India until to 17 March 1919, His obituary suggests he returned only a few weeks before he died, so possibly in May 1919.

Last Will and Testament

None known.


On 4 June 1919. The registration ref. is June Q, 1919, Bull, Arthur H F, age 52, Epping, 4a, 325. 

Arthur returned to a UK still grappling with the Spanish Flu pandemic and, according to one obituary he "died from heart failure following influenza and pleurisy, after only a fortnight’s illness." Another states he "died peacefully in his own bed with his beloved family round him" (see full texts below). Death statistics for the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic were kept, in the UK, up until 10 May 1919.

In the scrap-book kept by his grand-daughter Pamela Kirby (nee Hicks) is an newspaper article, of uncertain origin, detailing his funeral. The text is reproduced below.

Funeral of Mr A Bull.

On Saturday last the funeral of the late Mr A. Bull, whose death was reported in last week’s issue, took place at the Cemetery. The chief mourners were : the widow, son, and five daughters; the Postmasters of Loughton and Woodford Green, Mrs A Basham (late Postmistress of Loughton), his fellow-collegues the postmen of Loughton, Mr W.E. Stevens (President, Loughton Brotherhood); Mr L. A. J. Hutchin, and a large number of Brotherhood men, to which body the deceased was attached; Rev W. S. Lord (late of the Union Church), Mr Geo. Perry, Mr H.G. Parker (who served with the deceased on active service in India), and many neighbours and friends by whom the deceased will long be remembered. The floral tributes were very choice and were as follows: From the bereaved family to dear father; with loving wished from Netta and Alick to dear father; sincere sympathy from the Postmaster and Staff, Loughton Post Office; sincere sympathy from the Postmaster, Woodford Green; sincere sympathy, Mrs Hind, High Beech; a token of deepest sympathy from the neighbours, Mr & Mrs Shingleton, Mr & Mrs Cheek, Mr & Mrs Austin; From all at Louisa Villle; Mr and Mrs Neville & family; with deepest sympathy, the Loughton Brotherhood; with deep regret and sincere sympathy from Questcot, “He too has died that England may live”; Mrs Bowditch, Miss E. Bowditch, and staff (B. Clark, M. Poulter, and O. Hawkins); with kind and faithful remembrances of our dear Mr Bull, from S. K. C. and C. F. C.; with deep sympathy from Mrs Bailey; Mrs Butler Harris with sympathy; and others — The first portion of the service was conducted at the home of the deceased and the remainder at the graveside, by the Rev H. J. Wicks D.D. The interment took place in a family grave. — As stated last week, Mr Arthur Bull died from heart failure following influenza and pleurisy, after only a fortnight’s illness. Mr Bull was 52 years of age, and had been in the service of the Post Office for about 37 years. He was well-known and greatly liked and respected in Loughton, and his death comes as a great blow to his wife and family.  Mr Bull volunteered for active service in 1914, and served for 3˝ years in India, having only returned 8 weeks ago. Mr Bull leaves 2 daughters, 3 step-daughters, and 1 step-son.

[The Loughton Brotherhood refers to the local Freemasons. The Neville family may be the family of Ivy Bull's sweetheart who was killed in the war]

Another newspaper clipping, again of uncertain origin, provides an appreciation. The text is reproduced below.
[By a Member of the Brotherhood]
   A veteran member of the Loughton Brother-
hood writes us an appreciation of the
deceased as follows: "Brother Bull was a
quiet, unassuming unit of our Movement in
Loughton; and if, in the meetings, he did
not take much active part, he always and
very persistently "did his bit" outside and
"ran the boys in" when and wheresoever
he could. He gave away no tracts, but,
believing in the super-influence of the hum
an voice, spoke the right word that made
the lads go willingly enough with him to the
Lincoln Hall. 'Not for a Pleasant Sunday
Afternoon,' he once said to a small collec-
tion of lads near the 'bus terminus, 'but to
a spiritual drilling for unsimple ways and
the wasting of Gods's valuable time!' For
Bull could never waste time; was a great
disciplinarian, as, in his official duties as a
humble postman, he wished to be discip
lined. Shirking work and 'milking' he
abhored like poison; and, in the midst of 
so much that was claimed from him, I often
used to wonder how he could find time for
a hobby - bee-keeping and gardening. Yet
it is only such men as Arthur Bull who do
find time to work. He did nothing in a
hurry - excepting walking, oh! how he did
tear along something with those billet-doux
for the doorstep-waiting-damsels (he knew them
all, despite their assumed air of indifference
when handing them their missive!) - and so
did it well. Then the war came, and he
went away before conscription had to tell
others they had to go. Notwithstanding
his years, he was yet young in heart, body,
spirit. "A man is as old as he feels." and
"young Bull" felt that his place was with
the Colours, his duty for King and Country
The fact that, following a brief training, he
was sent straight to India, showed that the
military authorities quickly recognised yet
another man able, as he well proved it for
over three years, to stand the fierce heat of
the day, and the chill damps of the nights.
And borne so often in the open, when cam-
paigning up in the hills, far away from
European or even coastal civilization, that
the luxury of a bed, worthy of the name,
was an unknown quantity. As Bull told at
the Brotherhood, the last time I saw him
in the flesh, he had had his bouts of fever,
"and other bothering things." He was
never a man of illnesses and ailments ; but
as he admitted, "goes of fever do pull one
up some!" When, as he said to me, the
men succumbed out there, it was more often
chiefly due primarily to an already under-
mined constitution. What, undoubtably,
undermined Bull's constitution and led up
to his lamented death was not the climate of
India - he, and Perry and Parker, and
others, could stand that - but the vagaries
if our own climate. As I write, I think of
those many brave Indians who went into
Flanders in the dismal summer of 1916, to
die of cold ere they saw a German! When
Bull came back to England a few weeks
ago, it was to fight a worse enemy than a
few possible turbulent, German inclined na
tive tribes. When I told him on the Sun-
day afternoon that I did not think he looked
"over-grand," he admitted it! The fol-
lowing Sunday, at the Brotherhood, we al [sic]
heard Bull was "up against it." And so
worthy a much-liked man had "come
home from the war" and died peacefully in
his own bed with his beloved family round
him. That he will live long in the memory
of all others who knew him well, I have not
the least doubt. That he deserves a place
in the portrait gallery on the walls of Lin-
coln Hall, I have no doubt either.
   The Loughton Brotherhood meeting at
Lincoln Hall on Sunday afternoon last was
well attended, Mr Stevens occupying the
chair. - Mr Hitchin (hon. sec), in moving
a vote of condolence with Mrs Bull and
family in their sad loss, paid tribute to
the fine qualities of the late Mr Bull. - The
speaker, the Rev. S. Perks, also referred to
the death of Mr Bull. - The soloist was Miss

All Arthur's masonic endeavor sounds very virtuous, and it is true that virtuous men are often attracted to freemasonry, but you only need to search the web for "lucifer" and "freemason," or "curse" and "freemason," to find aspects of the brotherhood that seem far less appealing.

Lavinia outlived him. Her story is therefore continued in the biography of Lavinia Maria Curtis.



Descendants and notable relations

To be continued...

The mystery picture

There is a picture of what appears to be an older Arthur in military uniform. The cap badge is a shield within a circle, surmounted by a crown. This closely resembles that of the Essex Yeomanry, a Reservist unit. C Squadron of the Essex Imperial Yeomanry (later the Essex Yeomanry) was based in Forest Road, Loughton, in a drill hall built in 1900. In 1908, under the Haldane reforms, the Yeomanry were subsumed into the Territorial Force.
Possibly an older Arthur Bull in military uniform

Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2005 unless stated otherwise.