Lt. Col. George Henry Bull IMS — a volunteer out of retirement at the Pavilion Hospital

We have recently been contacted by Georgina Hutber, a descendant of an officer stationed at the First World War Pavilion hospital. Georgina has kindly written us a short biography of her great great uncle, and it provides an insight into the administration of the hospital. Like many of the medical officers at the Pavilion hospital, George Henry Bull had retired from the Indian Medical Service, but entered a new and unexpected phase of his career at the outbreak of war. 

George Henry Bull in group portrait of British officers. Bull is front row, third from right, with prominent white collar.
George Henry Bull in group portrait of British officers. Bull is front row, third from right, with prominent white collar. (Image courtesy of Georgina Hutber)

George Henry Bull was born in Cork, Ireland, the fourth child and third son of Joshua Edward Bull MD, who owned and ran a private lunatic asylum called Citadella, just outside Cork City. George Henry and his two older brothers, Joshua Edward and Ralph Anthony, all qualified in medicine. Joshua ran the lunatic asylum, helped by Ralph, and George Henry joined the Indian Medical Service, based at Poona. He seems to have been loved and respected as much for his prowess in hunting and showing horses as for his medical expertise! George Henry returned several times to Britain looking for new horses, and on one such occasion, he and his brothers were all out hunting when the Inspector of Asylums called. The lack of qualified medical staff on the premises resulted in a loss of their licence and the asylum closed (or so the family story goes!). George Henry retired in 1908 and returned to Britain about 1910.

George Henry Bull in group portrait of senior officers of Royal Pavilion Indian Military Hospital, c1915. Bull is seated in front row, second from right.
George Henry Bull in group portrait of senior officers of the Royal Pavilion Indian Military Hospital, c1915. Bull is seated in front row, second from right. (Image courtesy of Georgina Hutber.)

At the outbreak of WW1, George Henry again joined up, and served at the Indian Hospital in Brighton, where he was in charge of a section. He may have stayed on after it became a hospital for limbless men, because the next known event in his life was his marriage (at the ripe old age of 67), to a widow, Annie Fairrie, who was 20 years his junior. She was Quartermaster at the Princess Christian’s Hospital in Englefield, for which she received an MBE. They then divided their time between a London club and Monte Carlo. George Henry Bull died in July 1930, his wife Annie in September 1949. Georgina Hutber

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