Honour roll location: Pillar 7B
Feature story location: Pillar 6C
A daring pioneer in ‘wretched conditions’
David Mullen was 20 years young when he embarked for war. Just 18 short months later this youthful man was tragically killed.
Dave, a Mitiamo resident, embarked for war in Melbourne on the 18th of September 1916. On the 4th of December 1916 David was admitted into the Tidworth hospital with dangerous and severe pneumonia. It wasn’t until the 4th of January 1917 that he was in recovery from this illness.
Dave was part of the 5th reinforcements of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. His squadron was located at the front of the battle area. Their role was to prepare the area and create defensive positions, barbed wire perimeters and dugouts. They often did the work of engineers as well.
This was the kind of work Dave was completing each day when he was stationed at Ypres, Belgium in 1917. It was here during the Battle of Passchendaele (otherwise known as Third Ypres) that he was killed in action on the 15th of October, 1917 at Zonnebeke. The conditions during the winter were awful. It was wet and freezing cold. Men were often up to their knees in the mud and slush. Many ended up with frostbite.
Back home in Australia, the local community mourned David’s loss. His parents had already lost another son, Hugh, in 1915. His other brother, Harold, would later enlist in 1918 only to be discharged before participating in active service.
David’s body was moved from its original resting place and moved to Aeroplane Cemetery (Belgium).
- 2nd Pioneer Battalion, Virtual War Memorial
- ‘Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres)‘, Craig Tibbitts, 11th April 2007, Australian War Memorial
- ‘David Mullen‘, The AIF Project
- David Mullen, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Embarkation roll- David Mullen, Australian War Memorial
- Enlistment records- David Mullen, Discovering Anzacs
- ‘Hugh Mullen‘, The AIF Project
- ‘Killed in Action: Private David Mullen‘, Bendigo Advertiser, 10th of November 1917, p. 2
- Nominal roll- David Mullen, Australian War Memorial
- Passchendaele image, Australian War Memorial
- ‘The Battles of Third Ypres: Gallery‘, ABC.net.au
- They Shall Not Grow Old (documentary film), directed by Peter Jackson, 1918.
- Zonnebeke image, Australian War Memorial