8869 Private John Fulford, South Staffs Regiment

fulford irish brigade medal card

This is the man identified on the roll book of the Irish brigade. He was the only man in the Irish Brigade who had absolutely no ties with Ireland. He puts his place of birth as Cork in the roll book. From Waterford according to Keogh, but Keogh tends to overstate a man's Irishness. McDonagh says he was a pure Englishman - the only such in the Brigade, and that indeed is what Fulford was. He was a waiter before he enlisted

1892 May 14. Born

1901 There are no Fulford in 1901 Ireland census. In 1901 England census has this man as a possible. John Fulford, aged 13, living with his parents at 70 King St, Farnworth, Lancashire. Born in Bilston, Staffordshire, and parents born in Staffordshire. Bilston is a town a few miles SE of Wolverhampton in South Staffs. 1911 census follows through with the same man with John Fulford living at his wife's parents' house at 74 Brackley Street, Farnworth (the head of house is one Robert Jones, a married coal miner, aged 42 and his wife Janet). John Fulford is given as married, son in law of Robert Jones, a carter, aged 23 and born in Ladymore, Staffs. But it transpires that is not our man, his pension record exists, and he was not in S Staffs but ASC, and only went to France late in 1916.

1901 census has a John Fulford, grandson, living and born Longton, Staffs, and given as a cycle maker. Both his mother and his grandmother are born in Staffs. Longton is just outside Stoke on Trent. 1911 census finds him married with wife and child living in Stoke on Trent and working as a colliary labourer. I rule him out as he is married. He was born 1883. Listed as a Colliery Labourer Above Ground

1910 Aug 24. Enlisted in the army from his service number. Staffordshire Regt Museum were kind enough to check the 2nd SSR enlistment book where his number is shown is blank, which this means that he was enlisted into the 1st battalion South Staffordshire Regiment and as the numbers 8868 and 8871 enlisted on the 24th Aug 1910 it is safe to say that this is the date he enlisted as well. They enlisted at Wolverhampton, and Fulford may have enlisted there as well. The 1st Staffords were at -

There is no other candidate in 1911 Ireland census nor England nor Overseas Military.

1911 census in Ireland has only 1 Fulford entry, a 48 year old Frederick Henry Fulford (born England, and a commercial traveller) with his 33 year of wife, Annie Christina who was born Tyrone. They have been married 3 years and have only 1 child, a son Frederick Charles, under 1 year old. They are boarding in Great Denmark St, Dublin. So it is not his parents

1914 Oct 14. Lands in France

1914 Taken prisoner, and followed the rest of the Irish Brigade through Limburg, Zossen and Danzig

A POW at Zossen, and nothing on his medal card to indicate forfeiture. In a section of National Archives dealing with postal censorship in a booklet titled "Forms Issued in Connection with the Work of The Central Prisoners of War Committee" published by the British Red Cross and Order of St John in 1917, they give this service number in a list of men known to have joined the Irish Brigade

S Staffs news article

It is not clear why he wrote to All Saints, Southport unless he had a connection with it. Or it just might have been part of the "parcel scam" to get as much as possible sent to them.

1916 Jan Volunteered for service in Egypt

1917 Jan 14. Hahn to St J Gaffney. Reports that there are 29 men in the camp and that he hopes to send the 8 men away soon. He mentions debts of Fulford, McCabe, P Carr and Long, and asks Gaffney to settle them directly with the Camp Commandant.

1917 Jan 10. They had a hut inspection one day from an American official, who they mistook for someone from Dublin, and gave him information about themselves that they should not have give. Soon after this the NCOs appear to have drawn up a black list of grumblers and men branded as English. And some days later a fully armed section of German troops entered the barracks, and the Irish Brigade NCOs seemed aware of what was happening. Ten names were read out, and the men ordered to have their kit ready to leave in 5 minutes. They were then marched out of the camp under guard and into as Rahilly says "slavery", a punishment camp. A letter that Burke wrote to Gaffney about their treatment confirms the state of affirs given by Rahilly, and one can arrive at list the men sent to the punishment camp from putting together information from Burke and O'Toole, plus the official list from Hahn gives:-

They went by train and road until they found themselves in a hut built near a river at Quadsow (now Kwasowo in Poland) in a wilderness. Quadsow was a punishment camp, and I am not clear how these men had been selected to be taken there. This was their home. They slept on damp mud and the walls of the hut were damp. They worked from dawn to dusk, reinforcing the banks of the river. All they ever had for meals were hot drinks, no food. Two months later 5 of these men returned (these must have been Fulford, McMahon, McCabe, Patrick Keogh, Thomas McGrath, P Carr). Their appearance had changed, they were now bearded and pale, their eyes full of fear, their bodies bloated from hot drinks but no food. They were bullied by the guards, butted with rifles. Later that evening of their return Rahilly found that one had cut his own throat with a rusty razor. He made a recovery, but not a full recovery, and died later in 1918 "during the armistice". This man has to be Gunner Carr as he is the only man whose death fits - 15 Sep 1918

 

Irish Brigade Recruits