Ernest BULL
Rank: Private
Number: 9527
Date of Death: 29 July 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France

John and Alice Bull would lose two sons in July 1916. The eldest, John, was killed outright on 1 July 1916 - Ernest was only wounded but died of these injuries in a military hospital. It had been the first day of the Battle of the Somme - the so-called "Big Push".

The family lived at Harwood Road, Heaton Mersey. John and Alice Bull had seven children - John (then 14), William (13), Abraham (11), Thomas (9), Edward (7), Ernest (4) and Alice (1). They had only moved to the area, from Gloucester, in the late 1890s, and the five older children had been born there.

John Bull was a potter by trade had moved to the local area to work at the Peter Bailey Pottery Works on Harwood Road. The Company manufactured flower pots and bricks. After he left school, Ernest joined his father at the works. He furthered his education by attending the local Sunday School.

Ernest enlisted into the army at Stockport in early September, joining the Cheshire Regiment. He was given the service number of 13581. John and another brother joined the Manchester Regiment and it would seem that Ernest was quickly given approval to transfer and join them. It's not known when he transferred but some details of their training can be found here.

The young men went overseas on active service with the Battalion in November 1915 and as mentioned earlier took part in the attack on 1 July 1916. Ernest was wounded in the leg and was evacuated from the battlefield to the nearby Dressing Station. The treatment there might have been little more than bandaging the wound, although the Stations did have a doctor so any vital surgery might have been undertaken. It is more likely that he was further evacuated to a field hospital some miles behind the front line - probably the one served by a railway at Heilly Station. Certainly surgery would have carried out there. After his condition was stabilised, he will have been transferred again to Rouen where he died nearly a month later.

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