Memorial Plaque

  KILLED 1914

Connection with Effingham

He was not native to Effingham but was stationed in the village as a police constable in the period leading up to the War. He was one of the few named on the Effingham memorial who had already had a military career before the War. He re-enlisted at age 30.


Henry’s father was a mariner and channel pilot Thomas James Bullen, born at Walmer, Kent in 1849 [GRO Ref: Eastry 5 136, 1849 (Q3)]. Henry’s mother was Mary Ann (née) Spinner, born at Deal, Kent in 1848 [GRO Ref: Eastry 5 134, 1848 (Q2)]. Thomas and Mary married in 1872 [GRO Ref: Eastry 2a 1457, 1872 (Q4)]. The 1881 Census finds them living in Walmer:

1881 Census

No. 1, Sandon Place, Walmer, Kent : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 999 Folio 13 Page 19

Thomas Bullen : head : mar : 31 : mariner : Walmer, Kent
Mary A. Bullen : wife : mar : 33 : — : Deal, Kent
Alice E. Bullen : dau : unm : 7 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Jessie L. Bullen : dau : unm : 5 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Thomas G. Bullen : son : unm : 2 : — : Walmer, Kent
Rosa E. Bullen : dau : unm : 10 months : — : Walmer, Kent

Henry was born at Walmer in 1884 [GRO Ref: Eastry 2a 976, 1884 (Q4)], the sixth of eight recorded children, and was baptised there on November 26th 1884 [IGI: Batch I003531]. Here he is with the family in 1891, although his father was absent and doubtless away at sea:

1891 Census

No. 1, Sandon Place, Walmer, Kent : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 739 Folio 78 Page 27

Mary A. Bullen : wife : mar : 43 : — : Deal, Kent
Alice E. Bullen : dau : unm : 17 : — : Walmer, Kent
Jessie L. Bullen : dau : unm : 15 : — : Walmer, Kent
Thomas G. Bullen : son : unm : 12 : porter’s errand boy : Walmer, Kent
Rosa E. Bullen : dau : unm : 10 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Emily M. Bullen : dau : unm : 8 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Henry E. Bullen : son : unm : 6 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Walter A. Bullen : son : unm : 4 : scholar : Walmer, Kent
Frederick H. Bullen : son : unm : 1 : — : Walmer, Kent

The family is presumed to have still been in Walmer in 1901, but the 1901 Census schedules for that parish have not survived.

Surrey Constabulary records (see below) state that in 1905 (when he would have been aged about 21) Henry joined the Grenadier Guards. The 1911 Census finds him serving with them at the Wellington Barracks in London:

1911 Census

Wellington Barracks, St. James Park, Westminster : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 493 Schedule 1

among numerous other soldiers:
Henry Edward Thomas Bullen : soldier : unm : 26 : Private 1st Bri. Grenadier Guards : Walmer, Kent

His parents were meanwhile still in Walmer with only their youngest child (now aged 21):

1911 Census

No. 57, York Street, Walmer, Kent : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 4573 Schedule 135

Thomas Bullen : head : mar : 61 : boatman : Walmer, Kent
Mary Bullen : wife : mar : 63 : — : Deal, Kent
Frederick Bullen : son : unm : 21 : general labourer : Walmer, Kent

After finishing his seven years with the Guards in 1912, now aged about 28, Henry worked briefly as a grocer’s assistant but then joined the Surrey Constabulary, with whom he served first in Dorking and then in Effingham.

In 1913 Thomas died [GRO Ref: Eastry 2a 1448, 1913 (Q1)]; the latter index misrenders his age as “53” instead of 63.

Upon the outbreak of the War Henry rejoined the Grenadier Guards, enlisting at Canterbury. He was killed in action almost straightaway, on October 26th 1914.

His mother Mary died aged 73 in 1921 [GRO Ref: Eastry 2a 1091, 1921 (Q3)].

Constabulary Records

The following account of Henry was drawn from the now-defunct “Old and Bold” website holding historic records of the Surrey Constabulary:

Served as a Private 12378 in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Buried Zantvoorde British cemetery. PC Bullen was the son of Thomas and Mary Bullen. Born at Walmer in Kent he enlisted at Canterbury.

Henry Bullen joined the Surrey Constabulary on 11th November 1912 and was sworn in on 29th November 1912 at Guildford aged 28 before Col. Ricardo and Capt. Briscoe. His appointment number was 1642 and his collar number 257. At the time of his appointment he gave his trade as Grocer’s Assistant, although he had previously served with the Grenadier Guards for seven years from 28th September 1905 to 27th September 1912. He was first stationed at Dorking later moving to Effingham and during his service was promoted from 3rd class to 1st class Constable.

[details on joining the Police]

Age 28
Height 5’ 10 ½”
Complexion Fair
Hair Light Brown
Eyes Blue
Birth Place Walmer, Kent

The Deal, Walmer and Sandwich Roll of Honour provides the picture at the top of this page and also this description of Henry:

A member of a family long connected with Walmer, and son of an old Channel pilot, who went afloat in the lugger Cosmopolite, Pte. Bullen served 7 years in the 1st Batt. Grenadier Guards. He was for a time parade inspector at Walmer, and when recalled to his regiment for the war, was in the Surrey County Constabulary, and about to be married. He was unfortunately killed in action in France, date not stated. His youngest brother, Fred, also in the 1st Grenadier Guards, unhappily lost an arm in the war.

Military Records

1. Service Record – not found

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Date of Death
Service No.
Additional info.
Grave/Memorial Ref.

Grenadier Guards, 1st Bn
not stated [but was about 30]
Son of Thomas and Mary Bullen. Born at Walmer, Kent.
VI. C. 8.

3. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” Record

This adds nothing to the above beyond confirming that Henry enlisted at Canterbury.

4. Medal Record