Vol IV – Sergeant Charles William Bull (WWII)

Tutbury Remembers
Sgt. Charles William Bull, 1914-1944 – Forgotten Hero?

This section is dedicated to the memory of Sgt. Charles William Bull of Tutbury, Staffordshire, a tank commander who gave his life defending the bridge over the River Scheldt in the small town of Gavere, Belgium, on 7th September 1944. 

He was subsequently buried in the Communal Cemetery at Gavere where his grave is well tended by local people who rightly regard him as a hero for giving his life defending their town.

When the bridge was rebuilt in 1981 it named after him at a ceremony attended by 53 people from the Burton and Tutbury area.  The citizens of Gavere have an annual commemoration for him.

The following is a Google translation from the local paper in 2011:

GAVERE – The Scheldebrug Gavere the annual commemoration was held for war hero Sergeant William Bull. Patriotic associations and thirty Britons commemorated the hero, who in 1944 was killed in the defines of the Scheldt bridge.

At the monument, which bears his name, a memorial wreath was laid by an officer of the Royal British Legion. President Paul Carion and Vice President Etienne Engelbert of the local Association of Veterans of King Leopold III also laid flowers down.

Secretary Joseph Callaert welcomed and thanked all present for the fitting tribute. Twenty banners of veteran’s organizations and military forces formed a guard of honour during the Last Post and the national anthems of Britain and Belgium.

Pre-covid, a delegation from Gavere would visit the Midlands area every other year for a series of commemorative events, a key one being the service in Tutbury at St. Mary’s Priory Church to remember and honour Sgt Bull, and people from Tutbury and Burton went to Gavere on the alternate years for a reciprocal set of events, again remembering Charles Bull.  These visits are arranged by the Royal British Legion.

The visits have resumed post Covid, a party of 17 Belgians will be arriving in the UK on Friday 29th September, returning on Tuesday 3rd October.  While they are here, they will attend a Service of Remembrance for Sergeant Charles Bull at Tutbury Priory Church at 2pm on Sunday October 1st, including Standards and laying of Wreaths by the Belgian visitors and the Abbots Bromley branch of the Royal British Legion..

Photos of the 2016 Wreath Laying can be seen here https://photos.app.goo.gl/3upRcufWkCu2NTW19

The story of Sgt Bull’s war years was written by Sgt. Bull’s nephew, David Charles Bull, in 2012; it can be read by clicking this link or the link below