The Pulman brothers - siblings missing in action during the Great War
Two brothers - Cuthbert and John Edgar Pulman. They were sons of Fred Pulman, and great-grandsons of Abram Pulman [1794-1863], founder of the well-known iron merchants, at one time in Lister Lane, and later at Weymouth Street. As steel merchants, for many years they operated from Horton Street, and still trade under Abram’s name in Sowerby Bridge.
Fred Pulman’s father John [1822-1903], was a joiner and carpenter, and not involved with the metal business. Fred himself was born at 39 Lister Lane in 1849, and raised at Upper Brunswick Street. He trained as a master joiner, and then ran a successful business. In 1873, he married Martha Hannah Tuley; and they lived for their early married life in St Mary’s Street, but later at 40 Hopwood Lane. They had at least ten children, of whom six were boys. By 1911 Fred and his wife were living at Heath Mount, later they were recorded at Savile Park Street.
John Edgar was the sixth and youngest son of Fred and Martha Pulman, being born in August 1890. Being a younger son he decided to seek his fortune in North America, and in 1906 emigrated to Canada, settling at Regina, Saskatchewan, where he worked initially as a clerk, and later as a machinist. In 1915 he joined the 28th battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment), which was soon deployed to Europe. On 6th June 1916, the Germans detonated four mines under the British trenches at Hooge, following which John Edgar was missing, presumed killed. Much later his name was inscribed on the Menin Gate.
John Edgar’s elder brother Cuthbert was the second son of Fred Pulman, and born in 1879. As a young man he served in the army. He trained as a corn factor, having a business during the first decade of the 20th Century at 14 Bull Green, where he also resided. In 1906 he married Rebecca, daughter of Isaac Parker, and they had one son, Donald, born the following year. In 1912, Cuthbert sought a change of career, moving to Huddersfield, where he was employed as a postman. By 1917 he had joined up, and was involved as a sergeant in training recruits in England. In January 1918 he was sent to France with the 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles. He was killed about 21st March, though appeals for news of him went on for some months. So far as can be determined, like his brother, his body was never found. In due course his name was inscribed on the Pozieres memorial in Picardy. His widow Rachel died in 1921, aged 41, and was buried at Christ Church, Mount Pellon. Their son died in 1971.
Fred Pulman died in 1920, and his widow Martha in 1927; both were buried at Lister Lane Cemetery, where their two sons with no known grave are also commemorated. Many years ago, the family headstone - listing four generations of Pulmans, including the original Abram - fell flat on its face. The Friends of Lister Lane Cemetery, knowing of the inscription, but unable to view it, determined to have the stone re-erected. That task was carried out in 2015, with the expert help of a local stonemason.
by David Glover
Both John Edgar and Cuthbert Pulman are commemorated on the gravestone of grave number 1744
John Edgar Pulman is commemorated at Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, memorial reference Panel 18 - 26 - 28. (CWGC)
Cuthbert Pulman is commemorated at Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France, memorial reference Panel 37 and 38. (CWGC)
CWGC: Courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission