Through the recent generosity of two talented Friends of Lister Lane Cemetery, Halifax, white crosses ornamented with crocheted red poppies now adorn all the Great War inscriptions in the cemetery.
One grave bears the name of two brothers, both killed in that terrible conflict; many families lost more than one son during that war.
Those two brothers were Cuthbert and John Edgar Pulman. They were sons of Fred Pulman and great-grandsons of Abram Pulman (1794-1863), founder of the well-known iron merchants, at one time in Lister Lane and later at Weymouth Street. As steel merchants for many years they operated from Horton Street and still trade under Abram’s name in Sowerby Bridge.
Fred Pulman’s father, John, was a joiner and carpenter, and not involved with the metal business. Fred himself was born at 39 Lister Lane in 1849, and raised at Upper Brunswick Street. He trained as a master joiner and then ran a successful business.
In 1873 he married Martha Hannah Tuley and they lived in St Mary’s Street and later in Hopwood Lane. They had at least 10 children, of whom six were boys. By 1911 Fred and his wife were living at Heath Mount; later they were recorded at Savile Park Street.
John Edgar, born in August 1890, was the sixth and youngest son of Fred and Martha Pulman.Being a younger son he decided to seek his fortune in North America and in 1906 emigrated to Canada, settling at Regina, Saskatchewan, where he worked initially as a clerk and later as a machinist.
In 1915 he joined the 28th battalion of the Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan Regiment), which was soon deployed to Europe. On June 6 1916 the Germans detonated four mines under the British trenches at Hooge, near Ypres in Belgium, following which John Edgar was missing, presumed killed. Much later his name was inscribed on the Menin Gate at Ypres.
John Edgar’s elder brother, Cuthbert, born in 1879, was the second son of Fred Pulman. As a young man he served in the army. He trained as a corn factor, having a business during the first decade of the 20th century at 14 Bull Green, where he also lived. In 1906 he married Rebecca, daughter of Isaac Parker, and they had one son, Donald, born the following year.
In 1912 Cuthbert sought a change of career, moving to Huddersfield, where he was employed as a postman.
By 1917 he had joined up and was involved as a sergeant in training recruits in England. In January 1918 he was sent to France with the 9th Battalion, Scottish Rifles. He was killed about March 21, though appeals for news of him went on for some months.
In so far as I can determine, like his brother, his body was never found. In due course his name was inscribed on the Pozieres memorial in Picardy. His widow, Rachel, died in 1921, aged 41, and was buried at Christ Church, Mount Pellon, Halifax. Their son died in 1971.
Fred Pulman died in 1920 and his widow Martha in 1927; both were buried at Lister Lane Cemetery, where their two sons with no known grave are also commemorated.
Many years ago the family headstone – listing four generations of Pulmans, including the original Abram – fell flat on its face. The Friends of Lister Lane Cemetery, knowing of the inscription, but unable to view it, determined to have the stone re-erected. That task was carried out last year with the expert help of a local stonemason.
The cemetery will be open on the morning of Remembrance Day, Sunday November 13.