Small Dole’s first casualty of the war

Postcard showing Small Dole street and the Fox and Hounds Inn
Postcard showing Small Dole street and the Fox and Hounds Inn

Petty Officer Frank Tullett

Royal Navy

Died November 26, 1914, aged 30

Frank Tullett was born in Nuthurst, Sussex, on August 26, 1884, the second son of Henry and Louisa Tullett.

The family had moved to Steyning by the time of the 1901 Census, when Frank was a carter on a farm.

By the time of the 1911 Census, his father was a publican (beer retailer) in Small Dole.

Frank joined the Royal Navy as a 17-year-old boy entrant on October 21, 1901, giving his civilian occupation as labourer.

He served on board various ships and shore postings, joining his last ship, HMS Bulwark, on August 11, 1914.

HMS Bulwark was the fifth of seven ships to bear that name and had entered service with the Royal Navy in 1902.

After a refit in 1912, she was assigned to the 5th Battle Squadron and, when war started, was attached to the Channel Fleet.

On November 26, 1914, while anchored off Sheerness, Kent, and taking on munitions, she was destroyed by an explosion, probably caused by the overheating of cordite charges placed next to a boiler-room bulkhead.

Only 12 men survived.

The remains of the 736 men who died, including Frank, were buried in a mass grave in Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, Kent.

Frank was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, and is commemorated on Upper Beeding and Small Dole war memorials.