Albert Bertram Rulf

 

 

Albert Bertram Rulf

 

 

 

Having spent a lot of time recently researching many Ryburgh village families for our

WW1 project I thought now was a good time to look at my family involvement in the

Great War and in particular my Great Uncle Bert

I have some slight remembrance, of my Great Grandmother Emma Rulf, Bert's

mother, and so start with a family group that must have been taken around 1914:

 

 

My mother had drawn a key to all her family so we could identify everyone. 

Albert, back row centre, was the eldest and would have been aged about 15.

My Grandfather Arthur is standing on his left  aged 13.

Uncle Bert was the only one of the this family to fight in WW1.

 

 

There is another earlier photo that shows the 2 eldest boys together aged about 12 and 10 on a

boat, I assume taken at Hastings and from which this detail is taken:

 

 

The impetus for this little history started with the postcard photo above of 3 young soldiers that

was  among my Grandfather's photos which my mother had sorted through. There are no names,

but in pencil on the back is written “October 1917 Hazeley Down”. There can be little doubt that

the young man on the right is Uncle Bert aged 18 and looking very much the new recruit. Hazeley

Down was a huge purpose-built training camp near Winchester, strategically sited for easy access

to the South Coast embarkation ports. I found the postcard below on Ebay and suppose it is the

sort of thing that he might have sent home at the time:

 

 

 

Internet research makes checking out some details fairly straightforward and I soon found that

Uncle Bert was in fact, 535010 Pte. Albert Bertram Rulf. 15th London Regiment also known as the

Civil Service Rifles. He is shown as L/Cpl. on the 1919 Regimental Medal Roll showing he was

awarded the British War and Victory Medals.

 

Civil Service Rifles Cap Badge

 

 

 

He saw active service from 23rd.January 1918 until 28th March that year, perhaps the date when

he was wounded. I've found no specifics of that wounding but I speculated, that perhaps his early

death was related to his war service. No discharge date is given and his service record was

presumably destroyed along with so many others in the Blitz and we are never likely to know any

more of his army life.

 

British War and Victory Medal miniatures

 

However, the Internet also revealed the year of his marriage in (August/ September)1925 to Jane

Anne Elizabeth Cooper in Ashford. She was known as Jean and had been a school teacher. There

seems to have been very little contact with her after he died less than a year later. The photo at

the top of this page is of Bert on their wedding day and the only other photo of him is with Jean

that same day, but a poor “unofficial” sort of snap and she is very difficult to discern clearly:

 

 

 

I have been able to find very little more about Jean except a record of her on a passenger list on a

return journey from Cape Town in 1932 . She died on July 11th 1957, still a widow and living in

Kennington Ashford where they had so briefly lived together.

For a long time that was all I was able to find out about him until I subscribed to the British

Newspaper Archive and a search of Rulf, specifically in South England and the Hastings and St

Leonards Observer which first produced this and with whose permission these extracts are shown

here:

 

 

and then finally and for this purpose more usefully the following, which is as much as the family

now know about Great Uncle Bert:

 

 

For me it still leaves the question did his war experience contribute to his early death or was his

tragically early death just his lot in life? We'll never know.

 

 

*********************

 

 

Peter Trent 2016

 

 


The histories of Ryburgh people today
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