PRIVATE THOMAS BULL
ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
7TH JANUARY 1916 AGE 16
BURIED: PINK FARM CEMETERY, GALLIPOLI, TURKEY
Almost a month after the evacuation of Suvla and Anzac, the Turks were getting very suspicious about British activities at Helles: was the increased activity evidence of preparations for another evacuation or for a new attack? General Otto Liman von Sanders, head of the German military mission to the Ottoman Empire, decided to find out. At noon on 7 January 1916, he launched a Turkish bombardment of the British trenches. After four hours, Turkish troops charged the British lines. However, they met with such strong resistance, a combination of small arms fire and naval gunnery, that they withdrew. The strength of the defence convinced von Sanders that the British army was still on Gallipoli in force and wasn't about to go anywhere.
In fact, from 35,000 at the end of December, the British presence at Helles was now down to 19,000 men. Two thousand more were due to leave that night, the 7th/8th January, and then the last 17,000 on the night of the 8th/9th.
Seventy nine men died on Gallipoli on 7 January, only eight of them have graves, and of these, five are special memorials to men who are "Believed to be buried in this cemetery". These special memorials commemorate men either "believed to be" or "known to be" buried in the cemetery. They are graves lost as the tide of war either moved over or away from them, either destroying them or abandoning them to the elements, as would have been the case on Gallipoli. In addition to the above words, most of them carry the inscription: "Their glory shall not be blotted out". The words, quoted from Ecclesiasticus 44:13, were chosen by the poet Rudyard Kipling, the War Graves Commission's literary advisor. The passage talks about the praise due to famous men and then turns to those "which have no memorial; who are perished as though they have never been; and are become as though they had never been born". It is such as these whose "glory shall not be blotted out" for "their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore".
This is the inscription on Private Thomas Bull's grave - "Believed to be buried in this cemetery: Their glory shall not be blotted out". It is the inscription on many Gallipoli headstones although by far the greatest number of the Gallipoli dead have no grave and are commemorated on the five memorials to the missing located around the old battlefields.
Thomas Bull lived in Swansea, where his father was a colliery worker. He enlisted in 1914 and served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Gallipoli from July 1915. He was evacuated with them from Suvla at the middle of December. But, on 26 December, after a week's rest, the 13th Division, including the Fusiliers, were sent to Helles to reinforce the troops there. They were caught in the Turkish attack on 7 January and Bull was killed. He was 16.