Roll of Honour

2nd Lieutenant

John Cullen

John Cullen was born on the 4th June 1895 in Kilarrow, Islay, to Robert and Margaret. Robert was a Bank Manager and Solicitor at Chambers National Bank, Bridgend, Islay, and it was to that address that the War Office sent a telegram on the 22nd September 1916 telling them of John’s death in action on the 15th September.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

It was a large family. John had four brothers and five sisters. The 1911 census records that there were three servants in the household. He began his education at Islay’s Bowmore Higher Grade School before going to Edinburgh to complete secondary at George Watson’s, where he was a pupil from 1912 to 1914. He began his career as an articled clerk in Glasgow and joined the University Officers Training Corps.

From there he took a commission on the 16th August 1915 to the 13th Bn. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Attached to the 11th Bn. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in June 1916 he landed in France and prepared for action at the Somme. His death is listed in the 15th Division’s history of the Battle of Martinpuich, which lasted from the 15th to the 18th September. 2nd Lieutenant John Cullen was killed on the first day of this action by ‘friendly fire’, sadly a risk of tactics which involved concurrent artillery fire in the move forwards. Aged 21, he was buried at Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumant. His name is commemorated on the Parish of Kilarrow war memorial.