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War research society founder retires
6:00am Saturday 4th January 2014 in Local
A MAN who has taken thousands of Worcestershire people to the graves of loved ones killed in the First and Second World wars has decided to call it a day.
Alex Bulloch, of King’s Norton, founded the Birmingham War Research Society together with police force colleagues in 1972. Since then, he has performed a unique service by transporting people to the last resting places of relatives who fell during both wars, mainly in France, Belgium and Germany.
Mr Bulloch, who received the MBE in 2008 for charitable services, was born in April, 1932, in East Lothian, Scotland.
After national service in the British Army, he joined the Merchant Navy in 1956 and became an assistant baker on the Queen Elizabeth. Mr Bulloch also served on sister ship the Queen Mary as an assistant cook and later aboard the Caronia, which regularly undertook world cruises. He also worked on board the Mauretania 2.
In 1957, Mr Bulloch joined City of Birmingham Police, going on to found the force’s pipe band. He served as a police constable for ten years, later winning promotion to sergeant, and attended the Birmingham bomb outrages in November, 1974. He retired from the force in 1988.
Mr Bulloch said: “After more than 40 years, I’ve decided to stand down because of health reasons. But I do feel a sense of pride and achievement at having taken so many people to the battlefields.
“I first became interested in war research after travelling to Paris with my wife. I visited a cemetery over there, and on returning to Britain, my colleagues and I decided to set up trips to the former battlefields. This fascination started to grow and we were soon regularly taking coach loads of relatives to the last resting places of relatives.
“The Birmingham War Research Society became a unique group, because although many travel companies now run battlefield tours, the society – which had charitable status – was for many years the only organisation that performed such a personal service.
“I have had many enjoyable journeys to Europe and it has given me great satisfaction to have taken people to the graves of family members.”
Mr Bulloch has been a Freemason for many years and is a life member of Dunbar Castle No 75 Lodge. He is on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and also the Lodge of St Andrew Province of Warwickshire.
He has regularly appeared on local radio and answered questions about his work with the society.
Mr Bulloch’s wife Jessie died 2012. He has two sons, Keith and Ian.
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