from Kent History Forum
Courtesy of Kyn, 9-19-09
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES - 1Hi Ralph. Reference your request for info on FT Pullen
via email from Les Kirk, 10-11-09
Frederick Thomas Pullen Able Seaman J388 was my uncle. Killed 28th March 1912.
Frederick’s father, my grandfather, Fred senior told me the story of his son Fred’s death after being selected to serve for the Areo Club duties as:
“He was the first navy able seaman killed by an aircraft”. This has been acknowledged by Ministry Of Defence. Hence the grave inscription “A Naval Aviation Pioneer Remembered For His Loss And His Place In History.”
Very shortly after his death the navy formed the Navy Air force operating at Eastchurch.
His duty was to remove the wheel chock on one wheel with another person to remove the other side.
My grandfather never understood what caused Fred to be hit by the propeller It was understandable to me his father placed no blame on his oldest son for this accident “The Inquest found Accidental Death” reported in The Sheerness Times of about 2 April 1912. He was holding the tail of the new Short Bi plane in strong wind which had three propellers 2 front 1at the rear he tried to weave between them to remove the wheel chock.
I have not been able to access the Archives of the Sheerness times online for your reference of the inquest report. The heading is: “A Too Zealous Sailor”.
I have a copy of this Sheerness Times report.
The reference to him being hit previously on 13 Jan 1912 I believe is not correct.
I have never heard of this before. My commonsense tell’s me 3 months after a broken leg & arm then running around medically fit 2 months later in 1912 ??
Fred must have been a very good able seaman before being one of 4 selected to move to the fledgling areo club at Eastchurch. Prior to this I understand he was an early recruit to qualify at the torpedo school.
In about 1999 my cousin (now Deceased) on behalf of the family, presented all Fred’s service medals (Persian gulf chasing gunrunners only 450 issued) plus other voyages and his detailed Diaries to The Fleet Air Arm Museum Somerset. Her contact & information assisted with the provision and approval of a head stone inscription, photo supplied by Kyn.
The navy provided quite an impressive funeral for Fred in Sheerness I have a one page copy of this information.
You may find the museum helpful should you contact them.
The Pullen family as follows, now all deceased, moved from England to Australia on RMS OPHIR on the10th May 1912
Fredrick T Pullen
19 yrs AIF (Military Medal 2/3 June 1918 France)
My mother Violet Adelaide Pullen was born in Australia October 1912
Ralph --Kyn may not know of the material at the museum and could be interested in this info.
Regards Les Kirk
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES - 2Hi
via email from Kyn, 9-17-09
I have just started looking for a small amount of information on Frederick Pullen. I found his war grave in Halfway Cemetery on the Isle of Sheppey and it intrigued me, him being an able seaman and beneath it saying he was an aviation pioneer. He is listed in your list of fixed wing deaths however the date of his death conflicts with the one on your list. Obviously if it is the same man then it will be good to see it corrected.
Here is a link to my forum where I have copied a report from The Times about the death of this man, it also has a photo of his gravestone.
His grave stone states:
Frederick T. Pullen
J388 Able Seaman
28th March 1912 Age 20
A naval aviation pioneer remembered for his loss and his place in history
The Times reported:
"1st April 1912 Able Seaman, Frederick Pullen, of HMS Acteaon, who was struck on the head on Friday evening by the propeller of an aeroplane, has died at the Royal Naval Sick Quarters, Sheerness Dockyard, as the result of the terrible injuries he received."
I would be very grateful if you could confirm this as the same person.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES - 3Ralph,
via email from David Lam, 9-20-09
More research. Pullen is an interesting one. I still can't find an exact report of his death confirming the date, though I am sure there is one out there somewhere. A report of the circumstances of his death is in Flight Magazine of 6 April 1912, without any dates, and it implies that he may have slipped into the propeller while trying to remove chocks from the wheels.
Of interest is the fact that he seems to have been a bit careless around propellors. Flight Magazine of 13 Jan 1912 reports on his being sent to the hospital with broken arm and leg after being hit with a propeller. I have found no other report of someone being hit with a prop on two occasions. I will continue to look.
(9-18-09), you will find about nine links. So far, the only relevant one is the one which is referred to by Kyn above.
You will also find an entry in Dave Lam's listing of "Aviation Deaths Summary" on this website;
FRED T. PULLEN (1892 - 1912)
Courtesy of Find A Grave
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper