Lance Corporal Charles Bulpitt

Regiment: 14th (Service) Battalion The Hampshire Regiment
Service No.: 12881
Date and place of birth: Fourth quarter 1894 in Droxford district, Hampshire
Date and place of death: 3 September 1916 (aged 21) at Beaucourt Ridge on the Somme

Charles Bulpitt was born in Hampshire in 1894, the son of a farm worker. He enlisted in Portsmouth into the Hampshire Regiment and he gained the rank of Lance Corporal during his service. He was killed during the fighting on the Somme on 3 September 1916.

Family background

The birth of Charles Bulpett (sic) was registered in the last quarter of 1894 in the Droxford district of Hampshire. In different returns his birthplace is variously given as Durley parish, Hants, and Linch, Hants. He was the son of Harry Bulpitt (1857 – 1932) and his wife Mary Louisa née Collis (1851 – 1911), who had married at the end of 1882 in Alresford.

In 1891 the family was living in the village of Beauworth, Hampshire and his father’s occupation was given as cowman. There were already five children, three girls and two boys. The 1901 Census raises the possibility that there was some problem in the family since Charles’s mother Louisa is listed as the head of the family but no occupation is given for her. Six of the family’s children are living at home including Charles aged six. The only sign of Harry Bulpitt, his father, in the 1901 Census is a prisoner of that name listed at Reading Gaol who may or may not be the man in question.

However in the 1911 Census, Charles is shown in Woodmans Green. The address is given postally as Liphook, Hants but is registered under Linch, Sussex in the Census. Here he was living with his father Harry Bulpitt aged 53, a widower after the death of Louisa in early 1911. His father’s occupation is given as cowman and Charles is listed as an undercowman. His elder sister Amy is keeping house for them. It is stated that there were eight children of the family, three boys and five girls all of whom were still living.

Military service

Charles Bulpitt enlisted at Portsmouth in to the Hampshire Regiment and became part of the 14th Service Battalion. This unit was formed in Portsmouth on 3 September 1914 by the Mayor and a local committee, as the 1st Portsmouth Battalion, a local example of a “Pals Battalion”..It was adopted by the War Office on 30 May 1915 when it was moved to Witley and came under the orders of the 116th Brigade in the 39th Division. The unit landed at Le Havre in March 1916 and was used later that year in the Battle of the Somme. Charles was promoted to the rank of Lance-Corporal.

Death and commemoration

On 3 September 1916, the 14th Battalion was involved in heavy fighting. They attacked and A Company took the front line and held it with B Company occupying the second line. C Company then advanced toward the wire but was repulsed by rifle and machine gun fire. It retired with heavy casualties and eventually the battalion withdrew after strong counter-attacks toward Mailly Maillet Wood. Casualties of 457 men were sustained of whom Charles Bullpitt was one.

He was buried at the Serre Road Cemetery No 1, Puisieux.

His death is commemorated on the War Memorial at Linch as well as at Iping.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project