Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Cullen boys of Cockatoo Creek

This is another post on brothers who enlisted, in the last post we looked at the Maher Brothers of Pakenham and we have also looked at the Carter Brothers of Bunyip, here, and in this post we will look at the four Cullen Brothers of Cockatoo Creek, as the town of Cockatoo used to be called. Interestingly, one of the enlistment papers has the address as Cockatoo Creek, Gembrook line, obviously referring to the 'Puffing Billy'  Railway line. The Cullen Brothers are the sons of Francis Patrick Cullen and Mary Jane Whitehead who married in New South Wales in 1883. They had seven children (there may be more)  the first three listed were born in Sydney, Francis (born 1884) Arthur Byrne (1886), Frederick (1888), Kathleen Mary (1890), Emily Margaret (1891) William Beechworth (1894) and Alfred Charles (1899). Mary Jane died in 1950, aged 91 and Francis died in 1942 aged 84.

The Argus May 26, 1915

Here are the four brothers, including their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full service record in the National Archives of Australia,

Cullen, Alfred Charles (SN 2629)     Alfred first enlisted on September 6, 1915 and said he was 18 years old, but this was untrue. There is  a letter in his file from his father saying that his signature must have been forged as he didn't give permission and his son was only 16 years, ten months old. So Alfred was discharged less than two months later on October 31 for 'being a minor and enlisting without parents consent', He enlisted again as Christopher Patrick Cullen on March 11, 1916 aged 18. His occupation was listed as grocer. It appears that he was  bit of  a 'lad', and was charged with Desertion in November 1917, after having been reported as missing, but found guilty of being absent without leave, sentenced to ten years gaol, which was later commuted to two years and then suspended.  Christopher Returned to Australia July 5, 1919. His real name was actually Alfred Charles Cullen and there is a note in his file saying that in 1922 he signed a Statuary Declaration saying that he wasn't really Christopher. Alfred died in 1969.

National Archives of Australia 
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920

Cullen, Arthur Burns   (SN 1347 or 842) Arthur seems to have two Service Numbers and  is listed as having the same Service Number as his brother Frederick. Arthur enlisted on September 21, 1914 aged 25. His occupation was labourer. Arthur Returned to Australia on  December 3, 1918.

Cullen, Frederick  (SN 1347)   Frederick enlisted on the same day as his brother, William, November 11, 1914. He was a 26 year old Saw Mill hand. He was wounded in action - bullet wound to forehead, - and Returned to Australia in September 1915, but then obviously returned to serve overseas and he was  Killed in Action in Belgium on October 19, 1917. 

The Argus November 14, 1917

Cullen, William Beechworth (SN 1348) William enlisted on November 11, 1914 aged 21. His Occupation was sawyer. William Returned to Australia on  March 11, 1916 and discharged on medical grounds as he was suffering from nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys) William died in 1957.

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