A MAN who has taken thousands of Worcestershire people to the graves of loved ones killed in the First and Second World wars has just passed a major milestone, notching up more than 40 years of trips to European battlefields.
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.
fter 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: “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 has charitable status – is the only organisation that performs 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. Although I have cut back on the number of trips in the last couple of years, popular ones such as Colditz Castle and the battlefields of the Somme and Flanders will continue into the foreseeable future.”
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 is a widower – his wife Jessie died earlier this year (2012) - and has two sons, Keith and Ian.
He will be taking a coach party to France and Belgium this November during Remembrance season.
The highlight of the visit will be the Armistice Day service held every year on November 11 at the Menin Gate, Ypres.
For details of this trip call Mr Bulloch on 0121 4599008.