Back on 11 February I brought you a blog about William Seeley who enlisted with the British Royal Navy way back in the late 1850's and soon found himself fighting at Shimonoseki Japan and earning a Victoria Cross for his bravery.
Seeley would be the first of five known, and two more Unknown Americans who would be awarded the Victoria Cross.
Today I want to share with you the story of George Harry Mullins who was born in August of 1892 in Oregon. By age two he and parents moved to Moosomin Saskatchewan (Just to the west of the Saskatchewan Manitoba. border and about 100 miles west of Brandon Man.) and took up farming.
Like 600,000 Canadians, Mullins and lots of Americans joining the Canadians and volunteered to enlist in the military. Signing up first with the 32nd Canadian Battalion of the Expeditionary Force he'd be shipped off to England and by 1915 he was in Europe where he would soon be transferred over to the Princess Patricians Canadian Light Infantry.
After 11 months of service as a private, by mid June of 1916 Mullins was wounded in battle at Ypres and invaleded back to England to recover. By November Mullins was back in action and this time he was put into a sniper and scouting platoon where he would soon be promoted to Corporal and expected to be shooting at something other than chickens. Within 5 months he was promoted to Sergeant and fought so heroically at Vimy and saving the life of an officer who had a leg shot off, that he was awarded the Military Medal, pictured to the right.
Of all the Allies fighting in the western theatre it has been said that the Canadians were the most feared by Germany. In fact is none other than Lloyd George who, as the Prime Minister of England that said that when the Germans heard the Canadians were coming they would prepare for the worst fighting ever.
And yet again Mullins, pictured at left, would do his part. It was not far from the Town of Passchendaele that the PPCLI was in a heavy battle against the enemy and being pinned down with many casualties from many very well entrenched gun pits and machine gun nests.
Mullins who was the sergeant, and in charge of a snipper platoon, headed off in a direction that he was sure would lead him to the front of a most powerful german Pillbox fortifified Machine Gun nest. The position was injuring or killing many of the PPCLI soldiers and so he decided to take his own action to take out the nest. He set off on his own as the movement of too many troops would be detected. Soon he was discovered and despite the heavy fire then sent in his direction, he manage to evade the enemy, toss grenades, take out two snipers, get up on top on the nest and using his pistol he would shoot down into the Pillbox and kill 2 Germans. Then making his way to the entrance he demanded that they surrended. Ten were still alove and all did! Despite the fact that his uniform was riddled with bullet holes he miraculously escaped even the slightest of injuries.
This American hero was recommended for the Victoria Cross and sent off to London to take officer's training. While there he would write home to family and mention the recomendation and that he did not really expect to get it. He even noted that it was no big deal, like so many Medal of Honor and Victoria Cross recipients, his letter stated that it was..."Just another job of work."
When WW11 broke out he left this position to get back in the military by joining the Veterans Guard of Canada which was responsible for guarding German Prisoners of War. As he would walk by some of the cells the Germans actually saluted him as they had learned he was awarded the VC.
After the war he would retrun to Regina and back to his position as the Sgt at Arms, a position that he held till death in 1963.
Mullins is pictured to the right as a Sgt at Arms and wears the VC on the left, next the Military Medal, then the British War Medal, the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and finally the Victory Medal with the MID (Most difficult to see but is the Mentions in Dispatch Medal... a bravery medal in itself.) (It's badge or symbol is a leaf that is worn on top of the ribbon that supports the last medal.)
Each month I will bring you another story of an American VC recipient till all 7 are covered.