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Teddy Bullen

10 November 2013

Shakers will never forget the fallen, especially Gunner Teddy Bullen - loyal to his country - loyal to his club

Teddy Bullen was a good footballer. Good enough to play in the First Division. He was born in Warrington and brought up in Altrincham. Bury's scouting systems must have been good even then because the Shakers signed him up from Altrincham in 1906.

He made his first team debut the following year and by the outbreak of World War 1 had made 188 first team appearances as a wing-half. He would have made more but for bad luck with injuries. He was very much part and parcel of the Bury Team of the time which was a respected First Division outfit.

The life of a professional footballer in those far off days was very different to those of today's Premiership stars and like many of his contemporaries Bullen signed up for the war. He continued to play for the club during wartime fixtures whilst on leave from the front.

Teddy Bullen played for Bury in a wartime fixture against Liverpool as late as February 3rd 1917. Just 6 months later on Saturday 11th August, Teddy he was killed at Vaulx, Vracourt, some 15 miles south east of Arras. 

He was one of a number of burials later consolidated into Vracourt Copse cemetery during the 1920's. This cemetery now holds over 100 casualties of 1917-1918 who died in the village or surrounding areas.

There is a memorial to Teddy Bullen which today hangs in Boardroom at Gigg Lane. It reads - "A playing member of this club who fell in action at Vaux on the 11th day of August 1917. Loyal to this club, loyal to his country".

Of course Teddy Bullen's story is not unique. Many men from Lancashire lost their lives in the mud and slaughter of the First World War. Millions of others did too and it so shook contemporary society that Remembrance Day on the 11th day of the 11th month became part of community and national life not just in Britain but across the world. 

Sadly wars and conflicts have continued since, as we in our generation know only too well. We have to remember the Teddy Bullens and all his contemporaries from 1914-1918. We will wish to remember other Wars and conflicts since, World War 2, Korea, Ireland, the Falklands and lately the campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan amongst others. But we will I'm sure wish to take a few moments to think of those who are involved today also. 

Teddy Bullen was the only Bury player the Shakers lost during world conflicts and today is the day to remember Teddy and all his comrades from the First World War and all conflicts.

'For the Fallen' by Laurenc Binon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free. 

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears. 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them. 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam. 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night; 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.

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