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Casulaty Details

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Name: John Reginald BULMAN
Casualty No.: Ranks: Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Initials: J R Service No.: C/MX59009
Date of Birth : 22/03/1920 Place of Birth : Tranmere, Birkenhead, Cheshire. Age at Death: 22
Unit: HMS Curacoa, Royal Navy.
Former Unit(s):
Place Enlisted:
Place of Residence: Greenside, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Home Address: 25 Rockwood Gardens, Greenside, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Previous Address:
Civilian Employment: Served an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner, at Vickers Armstrong, Scotswood Works, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland.
How Died: Drowned at sea.
Date of Death: Friday 2nd October 1942
Place of Death: North West approaches of Ireland.
Battle/Campaign: Ship carrying out escort duties off Irish coast.
Locally Commemorated: Ryton War Memorial, Station Bank, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham. Greenside War Memorial, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham. St John's Church, Roll of Honour, Greenside, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
UK Commemorated: Hookergate School Memorial, Highfield, Co. Durham.
Overseas Commemorated: -
Buried: St John's Churchyard, Greenside, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham.
Decoration and Medals: 1939-45 Star. Atlantic Star. War Medal.
Photographs: 3
Service Records: Yes
Death Notice/Obituary: Newcastle Evening Chronicle, In Memoriam, 2nd October 1944.
Family Details:
Son of Robert S Bulman and Jessie Bulman, of Greenside, Ryton on Tyne, Co. Durham. Sisters: Barbara, Yvonne, Elizabeth, and Blanch. John's father Robert served with the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War 1 and returned to work as a saddler at Addison Colliery. His sister Elizabeth died at the age of 12 years and is buried next to John in St. John's Churchyard, Greenside.
Notes : Educated at Greenside Council School and Hookergate School. Enlisted in the Royal Navy for a period of twelve years on 17th January 1939. He trained at HMS Caledonia at Oban until 3rd September 1939. His next move took him to HMS Cochrane at Rosyth until 12th December 1940. He spent a month at the Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham, Kent, HMS Benbroke, before transferring to the Curacoa. HMS Curacoa was a 4,200 ton Ceres Class Cruiser that was detailed to escort the 83,000 ton RMS Queen Mary, carrying 10,000 American troops into the Clyde. Both ships were zigzagging into position enabling them to avoid enemy U-Boats. The RMS Queen Mary was sailing at approximately 28 knots and both ships were misjudging their course. The RMS Queen Mary collided with the Curacoa at the stern, pushing the vessel broadside on and slicing through amidships, cutting the naval vessel in two. Almost immediately the Curacoa sank, leaving dead and injured sailors in the water. The captain of the RMS Queen Mary was under strict orders not to stop the liner for any reason until she had arrived at her destination. 102 sailors were rescued by other ships but 338 others lost their lives. John was drowned and his body was washed up on the shore of the Scottish island of Cull on 16th October 1942. No enquiry was held during the war but the Cunard Shipping Company made interim payments of £50 to the dependants of the dead sailors. After the war an official enquiry was held and the outcome was that the RMS Queen Mary's Captain was to blame. A further payment of 300 was made to the dependants.
Sources Used: Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt Of Honour Register. Information provided by family member.
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