30 Apr 2009
My name’s Dave Earl and, as reported in my last post, I’ve been busy researching the museum’s collection of naval small arms.One of the attractions of this project has been following the lives and careers of the seamen who owned used the objects I’ve been examining. Scattered amongst drier details of calibres, dates, and manufacturers are stories, details of past lives.
One interesting example is found in the service records of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Edward Mullins. Mullins served as a Sick Berth Steward on the HMAS Sydney (I) when it engaged with the German light cruiser SMS Emden in November 1914. During and after this battle, Australia’s first as a federated nation, Mullins “constantly attended [the] sick and wounded uninterruptedly for 6 days, including terribly severe cases which were received from SMS Emden.” As a result of his actions, Mullins was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, one of only 17 issued to Australians during the First World War.