Pullman in the First World War

Foreign Service

A large percentage of Pullman’s employees and residents were born abroad. According to the 1910 census, the population of the United States was 93 million, with 21% born overseas. The 1920 census showed 15% born overseas in of a population of 106 million. In Pullman, the percentages of foreign-born employees and residents were considerably higher: the 1910 census shows that Pullman, in a population of 8,193, 55% were born abroad.  The 1920 census shows that 45% of the 6,905 residents of Pullman were foreign-born.
At times, their sympathies lay with their native country. Several Pullman employees served with foreign armies.

James E. Hooper (left) and Robert Cullen.

Hooper and Cullen were visiting relatives in England when the war broke out in 1914. They immediately enlisted in the British Expeditionary Force. Hooper, a veteran of the Boer War, joined the Hospital Corps. “Ernie” Hooper was a team leader in Steel Shop; he was killed while attending the wounded on a battlefield in Hooge, Belgium.
Robert Cullen was an inside finisher in the Passenger Steel Department. He was killed on the first day of battle at the Battle of the Somme.
In August, 1917, two officers from the 48th Canadian Highlanders came to Pullman on a recruiting drive. Accompanied by a pipe and drum band, the recruitment drive convinced Mr. Reid to immediately enlist in the Canadian Army. He was sent to boot camp in Canada, and after a short training regimen, was immediately shipped to the front in France. He was assigned to a special service as a sapper, a combat engineer. Reid’s specialty, as reported in the Standard, was to clear enemy barbed wire entanglements in No Man’s Land the night before an attack.
Reid was employed in the Calumet Stores Department.

 From left to right, Walter Waltron, George Meanwell, and Arthur Casey. 
Waltron, Meanwell, and Casey were all Inside Finishers in Passenger Steel Department. All three were members of the local lodge of the Sons of St. George. The Order of the Sons of St. George, now defunct, was an ethnic fraternal benefit society for Englishmen residing in the United States of America. It offered sick and death benefits to members, benefits, and social activities such as dances, picnics and other lodge activities. Membership was limited to first-, second- and third-generation Englishmen.
As of September, 1917, it was reported that Waltron had participated in several battles in France without injury. Meanwell, on the other hand, was wounded in his trench by shell fragments, and was convalescing in England. Casey had not yet been sent into action, as he was training in the Signal Corps.
John H. Cartwright, Power, Light, and Machinery Department, is pictured here in the back row, second from the left.
Cartwright was born in England. In July, 1917, he went to Canada to join the Second Ontario Regulars, pictured here. He served on the Western Front in front line duty near Flanders.
 Ernest Payne Spurlock was employed at the Pullman Company as a Trimmer and was the lead of a team of Body Builders.
Spurlock was visiting his parents in Swindon, England when war broke out. He immediately enlisted, joining the Wessex Engineers. Spurlock was twice promoted in the field for conspicuous bravery under fire. On August 16, 1917 he won the Military Medal, and he won the bar to it on June 27, 1918. He was mentioned in dispatches in the London Gazette.
In addition to working for the Pullman Company, he worked for the Great Western Railway in Swindon, England, and the Canadian Northern Railroad.

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