Mr. George Pullinger, formerly hon. secretary of the Winchester Diocesan Guild, rang his 100th peal on Saturday. Ninety-nine of them have been rung with only one arm - a great triumph over handicap. Mr. Pullinger lost the other arm in the war. By a coincidence his peal on Saturday was rung in the same tower and on the same bell as his first peal in March, 1913 - the only one he ever rang with two arms.
The Ringing World No. 1077, November 13th, 1932, page 732
George Pullinger’s many friends throughout the country will be very sorry to hear of his death, at 75, on October 23rd, in the belfry of St. Mary’s, Cheltenham.
Having rung in a good touch of Stedman Caters and listened to some good rounds on 12, George refused a rope for Grandsire Cinques, and before the bells were pulled off again his distress was evident. First aid was expertly applied, but the five-minute bell (the tenor) for Matins had deeper significance for the ringers whose exertions had proved unavailing.
Until George’s retirement seven years ago, he and Mrs. Pullinger lived at Bishopstoke, Hants, where for many years George had served St. Mary’s faithfully; they then moved to Willingdon, Sussex. None who heard George’s excellent striking and saw his superb bell control can have failed to wonder whether they, with two arms, could ever achieve the standard he reached with his one.
The ringing fraternity is indeed the poorer for his passing, and it is to be hoped that the deep sympathy of their many friends will be of some encouragement to Mrs. Pullinger in continuing her solitary path after many years of happiness with George.
The Ringing World No. 2898, November 4, 1966, page 723
It was with great regret that I read of the tragic and sudden death of George Pullinger.
During my residence in Hampshire I had the privilege of ringing with George at his own tower at Bishopstoke and at the far-famed tower of North Stoneham, the latter tower then having only eight bells.
It was a pleasure to see the masterly way he handled his bell through a peal, with only one arm. And almost 50 years to the day of his death I can well remember ringing my first peal of Double Norwich at Bishopstoke where George faultlessly rang the third. This peal was conducted by his old friend George Williams.
The Ringing World No. 2900, November 18, 1966, page 759
As were many members of the Exercise, I was shocked to hear of George’s sudden demise. I knew George in the ‘20’s when I was a schoolboy and he an attendance officer. He carried out this job with meticulous efficiency and soon struck fear into the local boys, wrongly, as I later found out. To him I was always Master Hill.
As a choirboy I saw George regularly in his place at least once each Sunday after ringing for service. With the breaking of my voice I was invited to try my hand at ringing. It was the late George Grant who taught me to handle a bell. My first introduction to change ringing was when the band met one short for Grandsire for a special service. I was put on the treble knowing little about it; George steered me through whilst keeping most of the band as well.
After leaving Bishopstoke I cycled to meetings all over the county with George, being pushed into this or that method always with the warning: “If George Williams is there he will want to know if you have looked it up.” This psychology worked.
I was tutored in conducting and at 16 called 5,040 Grandsire Doubles and the next year 5,040 Triples (Holt’s ten-part) with a local band George never liked peal ringing - the strain was too much for his one arm - but he was always the first to stand in for someone’s “first” and to assist a learner in some way.
Once you got to know him, the dour impression he gave soon went and he was a generous and good-hearted man and in all ways a thorough Christian. The Exercise, the Church and the county is the poorer for the loss of a man of his principles.
G. K. D. writes: “George Pullinger was one of the last of the older members of the Winchester Guild, before Guildford became a separate Guild. A frequent visitor to our part of the county, he was a lifelong friend of Frank Knapp a pre-war captain of the Kingsclere band and took part in the first peal on these bells - Cambridge Major in 1929, conducted by the late George Williams.
“Whenever we met he showed a lively interest in local ringing His early years were spent in the gardens of Stargroves. East Woodhay, and his former employer, Sir Frederick Ardagh. has just died at the age of 93. He will be missed by the many who knew him well.”
The Ringing World No. 2901, November 25, 1966, page 771
Mr. Harry Badger writes that it was in 1926 that he rang his first peal of Double Norwich with the late George Pullinger at Bishopstoke, and not almost 50 years ago as mentioned on page 759.
The Ringing World No. 2902, December 2, 1966, page 791
At noon on Saturday, November 19th, the ashes of the late George Pullinger were laid to rest in the “Garden of Rest” at the Parish Church, Willingdon, where he had spent the last seven years as a ringer and churchman. He was 74 years of age. The Vicar, the Rev. W. Greenfield, officiated at the committal service, which was private.
This was followed at 1.30 p.m. by a memorial service and for this the bells were rung open, in accordance with deceased’s wish. The Vicar officiated, assisted by the Rev. A. N. Olwen, and Charles Percy was the crucifer. It was regretted that Canon K. W. H. Felstead was unable to attend.
Psalm 23 was sung to the tune of Crimond, and also the Ringers’ Hymn. The lesson was read by Mr. R. W. R. Percy.
The Vicar based his address on the words of the psalmist: “The Lord ordereth a good man’s going and maketh his ways acceptable to himself.”
“Many of you present this afternoon,” he said, “will have known George Pullinger in many capacities; and as you reflect on the words of the psalmist you, from your own deep knowledge of his character and personality, will be able even more than I to appreciate just how these words are true of the life he lived.
“He was at heart a countryman manifesting in his character all the steadfastness and stability which we have learned to associate with people reared in a rural setting. He was a good and kind and gentle husband, too … how gentle, how understanding, how unselfish were his goings in this field of human experience!
“He saw clearly that the future of the craft which he loved so well was to be preserved in the hands of the young. In his gruff way, with a twinkle in his eye, and his lovely Hampshire accent, which he never lost, he would teach the young ringers the way they ought to go … Yes, the Lord ordered this good man’s going.”
Ringers present at the service included the Master of the Sussex C.A. and Mrs. Johnson, the hon. general secretary and Mrs. Betty Percy (vice-president, Ladies’ Guild, Sussex District), Mr. F. I. Hairs (Past Master) and Mrs. E. L. Hairs (hon. Secretary, Northern Division), Mr. S. E. Armstrong (Past Master and vice-president) and Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. G. M. Fitzhugh (hon. secretary, Eastern Division), Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Baldock, Messrs T. Barlow, C. Brettel, F. Dallaway, H. Hobden, B. Linacre.
Mesdames J. Biscoe, J. Finch, J. Percy, S. Percy, D. Russell.
Mr. and Mrs. Price (Southboume), Mr. and Mrs. Conley (Dover), Mr. and Mrs. Kippin (Farnborough), Mr. and Mrs. Dart (Bristol), Mr. J. Chesterman (Basingstoke).
An in memoriam peal of Grandsire Triples was rung at Hailsham by eight members of the Ladies’ Guild, Sussex District.
Mrs. Pullinger wishes to thank all the ringers and friends for their attendance, and for the letters of sympathy from those unable to attend, especially Nolan Golden, G. E. Fearn and Canon K. W. H. Felstead.
Bob Minor 5. Grandsire Doubles 1, Grandsire Triples 15, Stedman Triples 17, Bob Major 14, Kent Treble Bob Major 5, Double Norwich Court Bob Major 22, Cambridge Surprise Major 19, Superlative Surprise Major 10, London Surprise Major 11, Bristol Surprise Major 5, Grandsire Caters 2, Stedman Caters 6, Bob Royal 4, Kent Treble Bob Royal 3, Cambridge Surprise Royal 1.- Total 140.
Peals rung with George Williams 112, at North Stoneham 54, at Bishopstoke 22, for the Winchester Diocesan Guild 75, the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild 53, the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths 5, the Bath and Wells Association 3, the Salisbury Diocesan Guild 2, the Oxford Diocesan Guild 1, the Sussex County Association 1.
The Ringing World No. 2903, December 9, 1966, page 809
Following the memorial service to Mr. George Pullinger, the late Master of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild, it was resolved that the various bands in the Guild would attempt in memoriam quarter peals. Quarters were successfully brought round at Bishopstoke, East Tytherley, Sherfield English and Lyndhurst, but unfortunately those at Eling, Fawley and Romsey Abbey were not successful. In the attempt at Eling the bells were brought round at 1,200 changes due to lack of time. It was at Eling that George first rang after the loss of his arm in Mesopotamia.
The Ringing World No. 2907, January 6, 1967, page 8
A memorial service for the late Mr. George Pullinger was held at St. Mary’s Church Bishopstoke, on December 10th. About 60 members of the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild were present to pay tribute to one of their greatest members, together with many of Mr. Pullinger’s friends from Bishopstoke where he had been a ringer for over 40 years.
The service was conducted by the Rector the Rev. G. H. Rose, the lesson read and the address given by the Master of the Guild Canon K. W. H. Felstead. In his address Canon Felstead said that, in the passing of George Pullinger, they had lost a truly great man. A perfectionist in all he undertook George had also the gift of leadership which enabled many to benefit from coming under his wing as a teacher. Even with the disability of having lost his right arm in the first world war, his striking was immaculate and he expected the same from others. Above all, one knew where one stood with George Pullinger: he was honest and frank in all he said.
George gave continuous service to the Guild as an officer of the Guild for almost 40 years He became assistant secretary in 1923 and was general secretary from 1924-1930, during which time the old Winchester Diocese was broken up and the Winchester and Portsmouth Guild founded, the formation of which was due mainly to the work of George Pullinger and George Williams. Mr. Pullinger became Master in 1949 and, on his retirement from this office in 1955, he was accorded the singular honour of being elected a life vice-president of the Guild.
Canon Felstead concluded by saying that in all he did George Pullinger’s motives were right, they were those of a Christian in the service of God; the world was the poorer without him.
Following the service a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples was rung by a representative band.
A PERSONAL APPRECIATION
“It’s no good, we tried it in 1923 … it didn’t work then and it won’t work now!”
Such a remark was often heard from George at Guild meetings when some supposedly new topic came up for discussion. His knowledge and memory were unassailable features.
His early life was spent in the village of Upham, where he was introduced to the art. His interest in ringing was such that the challenge was taken up again after the loss of his right arm in Mesopotamia during the Great War. In the early ‘20’s he began ringing at Bishopstoke and North Stoneham with the war exempted band of George Williams. Recognition of his ability was soon accepted by the Winchester Guild elders and he held every available office in the Guild open to him. He was not a prolific peal ringer - his interests lying mainly in beginners and the teaching of method ringing.
This preamble of course gives no real hint as to his character, and character is the right word as far as his methods were concerned. Learning to handle followed the straightforward pattern - practice practice and more practice, during which time one would learn to live with his voice which no bellfounder could ever match with mere alloy. In the belfry his was undisputed; I remember the Rector and churchwardens asking his permission to enter! Having been Ringing Master for some 30 years probably had something to do with it!
As a learner I suffered under George Pullinger - his maxim I thought then could only be “I makes ’em or breaks ’em.” He would instil the knowledge by the strange mixture of bellowing and poking the stump of his right arm at your shoulder. Listeners at the foot of the spiral could hear choice remarks such as - “Anything the matter with your ears?” I would tremble and stutter - “No,” just waiting for the deafening gem of wisdom to arrive, “Well, use ’em then, can’t you hear that you are slow at backstroke!”
On occasions the light would dawn and the hard graft disappear, and as soon as my interest matched his, oh, how things changed. Ringing books would appear in my jacket pocket and he would take me on long bicycle rides to meetings in far-flung districts of our Guild. Under his wing I was gradually introduced into the wider sphere of the Exercise until the inevitable day came when he had finished his teaching and I was free to go my own way.
Even after his retirement to Willingdon we would meet at least annually for the Guild annual general meeting and talk about old times.
He was a member of the Old Guard all right dictatorial, forthright to the point of being misunderstood and would tolerate nothing second rate But as usual this exterior concealed a surprisingly gentle man with a deep understanding. Hampshire will miss George Pullinger. I will miss him and be eternally grateful to him for giving me the chance; it seems very hard to believe that we will not meet again.
The Ringing World No. 2908, January 13, 1967, page 21