Private William Joseph Culluam

William Culluam
@ Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Jo Herman for this research.

Culluam Baptism Image © Ancestry.com

William Joseph Culluam was born in 1886 in Dorking, Surrey to Joseph, a carter on a farm and Eleanor Culluam. Due to the unusual spelling of his surname, he was registered at birth as William Joseph Callum.  He was baptised on July 24th 1892 as William Joseph Cullum.

Culluam 1891 Census Image © Ancestry.com

At the time of the 1891 census the family are living at Sandy Cross Cottage in Holmwood. William was not at the house at the time of the census and doesn’t appear on it.

Culluam 1901 Census Image © Ancestry.com
Culluam 1901 Census Image © Ancestry.com

In 1901, the family are still living at Sandy Cross Cottage, Holmwood. Joseph and Eleanor (shown as Emma on the census) now have 8 children. Annie (13), Harry (11), Jane (10), Louisa (7), Frederick (6), Charles (5) and James (2) . William, aged 15, is working as a cow boy on a farm.

Culluam 1911 Census Image © Ancestry.com
Culluam 1911 Census Image © Ancestry.com

In 1911 the census shows that William’s father Joseph has died and Eleanor (shown as Hellen this time) is now living at Bunce Common, Leigh, Reigate. William is not in the house at the time this census was taken, but is shown as a servant to an officer at a Barracks in Guildford

Culluam Medal Roll 1914 Image © Ancestry.com
Culluam Medal Roll 1914 Image © Ancestry.com

William joined The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and travelled overseas on the 4th October 1914. The regimental website records the following

“The first battalions to see action in the First World War were the Regulars. The 1st Battalion arrived in France in 1914, as part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. The 2nd Battalion joined the British Expeditionary Force in September 1914 and joined the 22nd Brigade of the 7th Division. The scale of casualties in both battalions was horrific; by the end of the first week of November 1914 there were only thirty-two survivors out of a total of 998 men from the 1st Battalion. The 2nd Battalion had suffered 676 casualties. Their ranks were to be filled by Territorials, men from Kitchener’s “New Army” and then Conscripts. The 2nd Battalion fought at Ypres, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, Loos and the Somme. In 1917, it was sent to Italy with the 7th Division, where it added to its honours at Piave and Vittoria Veneto.”

Image © Queens Royal West Surrey Archive
Image © Queens Royal West Surrey Archive

It is not totally clear how William was killed, but the war diaries for that day record shelling of the trenches and an officer and two soldiers being killed.

Culluam Medal Roll Image © Ancestry.com
Culluam Medal Roll Image © Ancestry.com

William was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and the 1914 Star.

Culluam St Martin's Memorial. Image © Royston Williamson 2015
Culluam St Martin’s Memorial. Image © Royston Williamson 2015

He is commemorated on the South Street Memorial (spelt incorrectly as Cullum) and on Dorking, St. Martin’s (spelt incorrectly as Collum).

Born                       Dorking
Lived                       Dorking

Enlisted                   Guildford

Regiment                 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Number                   L/9865

Date of Death          16th February 1915
Place of Death          France
Cause of Death        Killed in Action

Memorial                  Ploegsteert Memorial, Belguim