BULLEN, Thomas Pte. 16058

Thomas Bullen enlisted in Chorley on the 7th October 1914, being wounded at Serre on the 1st July 1916.

He was born in Croston in 1894, living at Grape Lane in the village. His parents, William and Ann (nee Worthington) had eight children and Thomas was the youngest boy; the family worshipped at St. Michael’s Church in Croston. They were on the 1901 Census at Grape Lane and at number 43 Grape Lane on the 1911 Census; Thomas working as a Farm Labourer. He married Jane Anne Singleton at. St. Michaels’ in the village during 1921 and their only child, James, being born later in the year; they set up home at 45 Grape Lane in Croston.

Thomas died in a motor cycle crash in 1924, along with fellow Chorley Pal, Harry Whittle. The inquest into their deaths revealed that three ex-soldiers – Thomas Bullen, Harry Whittle and William Rawlinson had been drinking in the Seven Stars public house at Standish during the afternoon and early evening of the 7th September. At 8.05 p.m., all three got on to a 4 horse power 1924 Triumph motorbike and headed towards Eccleston. Five minutes later the motorbike, with William Rawlinson as the driver, one man in front of him astride the petrol tank and the other on the pillion seat, took the bend at Langton Brow near Eccleston on the wrong side of the road. Coming the other way was a motor-coach driven by Harold Fairhurst of Jolly Lane in Wrightington. The bike hit the coach, head on, killing the three men instantly – their bodies being taken to the Brown Cow public house in Heskin. At the inquest it was revealed that Thomas Bullen had not ridden on a motorbike before; a verdict of “Accidental death” was recorded by the Coroner.

Thomas Bullen is buried in the churchyard at St. Michael & All Angel’s in Croston.

Other Information: Thomas’ brother, Private 28802 Robert Bullen of the 9th Bn. East Surrey Regt. was killed in action, aged 37, on the 16th October 1918 and is buried in Romeries Communal Cemetery in France, along with Corporal John McNamara V.C. from Bamber Bridge, who was killed on the same day.