Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sister Gertrude Mary Bulman (d. 9 April 1971). Casualty Clearing Station 4, Varennes

Recommended Posts

My great, great uncle William Hoare (22352) was fatally wounded in the attack on Serre on 13 November 1916. He was transferred to Casualty Clearing Station 4 at Varennes where, unfortunately, he died the same day. That evening a nurse, Sister Gertrude Mary Bulman, took the time to sit down and write a letter to my family about William. She told us that of his injuries, that he'd lost consciousness and that he died on the evening of 13 November. Without her having done this, much about William's fate would have been unknown to us.


We would love to trace her family if possible. We should like to let them know about this letter and how much her humanity meant to the family. She lived, towards the end of her life, in north-west London, perhaps in the London borough of Brent. 

Link to post
Share on other sites



Although I think that's a really neat idea, unfortunately I think in this instance you might be out of luck.


Gertrude was born in Carlisle and had an elder sister, Ethel Annie, and a younger brother, Ernest William (although his birth was registered as Ernest Millican, which was his mother's maiden surname.

Ernest died unmarried in 1911, in Carlisle, and Ethel Annie also died unmarried in Carlisle in 1975. 

The 1911 census states that their parents, William & Margaret only had three children, of whom one (Ernest) had died before the census.

I can try and trace any relatives of their father William Bulman, but the question is - is it worth it; would any of them know of Gertrude and be interested?  Perhaps a local museum (in Carlisle?) would like it. 


Incidentally, in the 1911 census, Gertrude was recorded as a 'Hospital Nurse' at Leeds General Infirmary, and in 1939, she was living at 206A Clive Court, Paddington, now a Retired Hospital Matron.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Gertrude Mary Bulman appears in the probate register for 1971 as living at 206a Clive Court, Maida Vale, Westminster, when she died on the 9th April 1971. Probate was granted at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the 20th July 1971. Her estate was valued at £3,817.



Using that link you could track down and order a copy of her will which might list beneficial relatives but it could all just as easily be left to a Charity. I say that because a quick search of the London Gazette doesn’t throw up any of the notifications for the need to put in a claim on the estate which I’d expect if the she died intestate or all the stated beneficiaries in her will pre-deceased her.


By this date the quarterly index of deaths in England and Wales that was published by the General Registrars Office shows date of birth. The Gertrude Mary Bulman who died in the Brent District of Middlesex in the April to June quarter of 1971 was born on the 6th May 1885.


Checking the Birth Registrations for England and Wales, (assuming she was born in those countries), then the only likely match was a Gertrude Mary Bulman whose birth was registered with the Civil Authorities in the District of Carlisle in the July to September quarter of 1885. Then, as now, you have 42 days after the birth to register it without facing a fine, so the registration period is close but not totally impossible.


Post August 1911 the published quarterly index also included mothers maiden name. Unfortunately a check for children registered with the surname Bulman, mothers maiden name Millican brings up no matches. That leaves a small window between the census at the start of April and the new system at the start of September. Strangely there is a Herbert Bulman registered in the Carlisle District in 1911 – but in the January to March quarter, so should have appeared on the census – but doesn’t. A Herbert Bulman who was born on the 24th January 1911 would die in the Carlisle District in the October to December quarter of 1975. However there are quite a few Bulman families in the Carlisle District, so could be a complete coincidence.


Incidentally, while checking the London Gazette for Legal Notices, I did come across her in the edition dated 19 February 1935.


Territorial Army Nursing Service.


Miss Gertrude Bulman, R.R.C., Matron 2nd Northern Gen. Hosp., is transferred to the 2nd. Lond. Gen. Hosp. 11th January 1935.



I agree with Phil. You go do a lot of tracking down \ purchase a copy of the will \ etc, etc, but there would seem to be several’homes’ for this where its just as likely to come to relatives attention if they are interested in finding out about Gertrude. As well as the Imperial War Museum and the Royal Army Medical Corps, (for the Territiorial connection), it could well be the Regimental Museum for your Great, Great Uncle might be interested.


Hope that helps,



Update 04/10/2017. Following a prompt from Ian I realised I'd transposed the date of birth. It should have read 5th June 1885, (05/06/1885 not 06/05/1885).

Edited by PRC
Keeping down disinformation on the internet
Link to post
Share on other sites


If you are considering a research project into Gertrude 

Below is a link to the location of her hospital records  its possible that you might find a photo of the lady among them









Edit   Also     WW1 service records at the national archives Here

Edited by RaySearching
adding extra link
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all. Very helpful and useful comments. My own view is that the letter was sent to the family and should remain there, but that either RWF museum, the IWM or another might be interested in a copy. But it's a decision we have to make as a family.


If nothing else, thanks to all of you know, we know more about Gertrude. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I downloaded Sister Bulman's records from TNA, very interesting indeed. She was mentioned in despatches by Sir Douglas Haig, although there seems to be some confusion as to when. It says both 7 April 1918 and 15 June 1916. Perhaps she was mentioned twice? Does anyone know if there is a way to read these despatches?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The London Gazette has indexed them all. It can be a tad confusing even them. The letter shown in the index as dated 13th June 1916 actually appears in the Supplement dated 15th June 1916. That one also looks like its just a long list of names that have been brought to Sir Douglas Haig's attention. You can scroll through the pages looking for her name, but I kind of lost the will to live after the first 15 pages. :-)






Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all. Can find her mention in June 1916 although not 1918. No matter. Just been to London Metropolitan Archives and they have several photographs of her. Fantastic 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...