While scanning the Pullen family album we came across a WW1 photo of Arthur David ('Dash') Pullen, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Pullen, in the uniform of the Essex Regiment. On the back of a further postcard from David (as he was always known) to his sister Edith and posted in September 1916 he wrote
"This afternoon's post brought me an official statement that the military medal has been awarded to me. My heart is too full for words. Cheer up. Keep cool"
Reference to Roger Bullen's admirable book 'Not Just a Name' gives the full story. In July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, he captured seven Germans single handed despite being wounded by shrapnel and for his gallantry was awarded the Military Medal. After recovering from his injuries he was at Ypres in 1917 where he was gassed but after 3 months recovering at base camp he was attached to the Royal Welch Fusiliers and sent back again to the Somme, only to be killed on the 23rd August 1918. He was buried in Bapaume Post Military Cemetery on the Somme and is commemorated on our War Memorial.
David, in common with many Mersea men, left his civilian life as a fisherman to answer Kitchener's call for volunteers in 1914 and came so close to surviving the horrors of the Western Front. He sent many other WW1 postcards to Edith like the second photo shown below, which were designed to maintain the patriotic spirit of those still at home and perhaps to conceal the true story of the war from their families.
Above left: one of the patriotic postcards of the time.
Above right: The 1914-1918 Medals from Arthur David Pullen.
We would recommend Roger's book to all those interested in the history of the Mersea men who fell in the Great War and it is available in the Museum shop.