Private Hugh Mullen


Hugh Mullan was born on 5 June 1893 at Garvagh, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the seventh or eighth of ten children of cattle dealer James Mullan and his wife Eliza Jane (née Stewart). He grew up at Garvagh, but by the time of the 1911 Census was living as a boarder at 20 Malone Avenue, Belfast, and working as an apprentice in a flax and flour business.

Mullan enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 8 and 12 December 1915 (No.2040). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot until around October 1916, when he embarked for France. There he was posted to C Squadron of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Like the majority, Mullen was posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – but a few weeks later than most, on 11 October 1917. He was issued regimental number 41626 and posted to C Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

Mullen was one of the many posted as missing following the 9th (NIH) Battalion's fighting withdrawal from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive. It was later learned that he had been captured, unwounded, on 27 March at Erches, near Roye, when much of the battalion had been overwhelmed by the fast-moving German advance. He remained a prisoner until the end of the war, held at a camp in Giessen.


At least one of Mullan's brothers, James, also served in the war, in the Border Regiment and Labour Corps.