Sapper William Tull

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Sapper William Stephen Palmer Tull

Birthdate: (38)
Birthplace: 8 Allendale Street, Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 12, 1920 (38)
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom (Tuberculosis (due to the effects of poison gas attack in WW1))
Place of Burial: Cheriton Road Cemetery, Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Tull and Alice Elizabeth Tull
Husband of Gertrude Mary Tull
Father of Doris Gertrude Hoskins; Mildred Evelyn Tull; Gladys Muriel Hopkins and Fredrick Charles Tull
Brother of Bertha Tull; Cissie Tull; Elsie Seward, BEM; Edward Tull and Second Lieutenant Walter Tull
Half brother of Miriam Kingsland

Occupation: 1901: Carpenter; 1911: House Carpenter; WW1: Sapper in the Royal Engineers
Managed by: Bill Barnes
Last Updated:

About Sapper William Tull

Casualty of the Great War, William was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers~Service No:545340. He died of the effects of gas poisoning sustained in the trenches on the Western Front.

He left a widow,Gertrude Mary Tull, nee Boxer, of 59 Greenfield Rd., Folkestone, and children.

Find a Grave

Their first son, William Stephen Palmer Tull, was born at 8 Allendale Street, a style of building known as a Monkey Puzzle house because one frontage is for two homes and internally they fit together like a 3D wooden puzzle.


William Stephen Palmer Tull was the eldest of Walter’s brothers. Like his cousin, he was also named after his maternal grandfather. He lived at 59 Greenfield Road with his wife, Gertrude (nee Boxer), and children.

William also served in the Great War. He died at home on 12 March 1920 from tuberculosis; the family tell us he suffered gassing during the War. He is buried at Cheriton, Folkestone and has a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.

Also buried in Cheriton Cemetery are Walter’s parents, his eldest sister, Bertha,and two of William’s children, Frederick and Winifred. Winifred was one year and 11 months when she died and is buried in an unmarked grave in the shadow of the Cross of Sacrifice.

William’s daughter, Mildred, lived in Greenfield Road for many years, until she died in an old peoples’ home in 1999 in Folkestone. She ran the Sunday School at St John’s Church. Cousins from the Boxer family recall visiting ‘Aunt Millie’. One cousin, Paul, remembers vividly a family picnic in Aunt Millie’s garden even though he was then only three years old – he had the misfortune to sit on an ants’ nest!

"Walter Tull’s Family History in Dover and Folkestone", The Dover War Memorial Project

What makes William particularly interesting is that we know he served in the Army during the First World War. This makes him and his brother Walter one of the few known examples of two Black British brothers who served in that war. Unfortunately his service record is one of the many from that period that has not survived and so nothing is known about where he served. The known facts are:

  • he died of tuberculosis on 12th March 1920;
  • his death certificate shows his occupation as ‘house carpenter’ but also ‘ex sapper – Royal Engineers’;
  • he is buried in Cheriton Road cemetery, not far from his parents) and his final resting place is marked by a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) headstone;
  • the headstone shows his service number as 545340 and that he was a sapper in the Royal Engineers.

Although he survived the war he was entitled to be commemorated by a CWGC headstone as the cut off date for such memorials was 31st August 1921 (this is why soldiers like Lionel Turpin, who has his own page on this site, can lie in an unmarked grave. Turpin, who clearly died as a result of wounds received while fighting in France, survived until 1929).

There is something of a mystery surrounding William. Because he served he should have been entitled to a War Medal and a Victory Medal. There are a number of men named William Tull on the medal rolls that record the award of such medals but none of them seems to have served with the Royal Engineers.

William Tull, the Forgotten Brother, Historycal Roots

Birth registration


  • 1891, with family
  • 1901, boarding
  • 1911, with wife and family at mother-in-laws

Marriage registration

Death registration

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Sapper William Tull's Timeline

Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
November 15, 1904
Age 22
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
June 9, 1906
Age 24
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 26
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 28
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
March 12, 1920
Age 38
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Age 38
Folkestone, Kent, England, United Kingdom