Private Richard Lindley Mulcahy
St Patrick’s Catholic School Roll of Honour
Born: 1892 - Nagambie, Victoria
Enlisted: 14 July 1915 aged 23
Unit: 21st Battalion, 13th Reinforcement (SERN: 5129)
Served: Western Front
Died: 3 February 1926 - Wonthaggi, Victoria
Recorded on the St Patrick’s School Roll of Honour as “L. Mulcahy”, Richard Lindley Mulcahy (perhaps known to his friends as “Lin”?) was the youngest son of John and Margaret Mulcahy. His family was not related to the pioneering Mulcahy family. Rather, his father was the police constable stationed at Pakenham. Together with some other St Patrick’s students who went on to serve in WWI, Richard is mentioned in a composition written by future Shire President Michael Bourke in March 1904. This records a cricket match played between St Patrick’s and Pakenham State School: “L. Mulcahy opened the bowling at the north end while M. Bourke bowled at the south end. Both were bowling well and the [state school] team were disposed of for 29 runs. ... Our team [then] made a very bad start three wickets being down for no runs; but H. Bourke and J. Fennell came to our rescue. The former batted well for 6, and the latter carefully for a well made 4. The innings closed for 16 runs” ... [In the second innings] Stanley Ford and D. Clancy went to the wickets confident of making the number of runs required but they were doomed to disappointment for they were separated before any runs were scored. H. Bourke and D. Bourke batted well. M. Bourke hit a fine three but his luck was out for he was run out next ball.” (1). Richard left St Patrick’s when his father was posted in July 1904 to Russell St Police Barracks in Melbourne (2).
A carpenter and joiner by trade, Richard first tried to enlist in January 1915, but was deemed to be medically unfit. He tried again in July 1915 and was accepted this time and attached to 21st Battalion 13th Reinforcement (3). Richard seems to have been a bit of a “wild colonial boy” though. He served a period of detention at Broadmeadows Army Camp before leaving Australia and after arriving in England went absent without leave (AWOL) for over a month. He was arrested and court-martialled. Pleading guilty, Richard sought the military court’s mercy: I ask the court to deal leniently with me as I am anxious to get to the front and do my duty. I have already lost two brothers in the War, one killed at Gallipoli, one died of wounds in France (4). Richard was sentenced to six months gaol, later reduced to two months, with a substantial loss of pay. He then proceeded to the Western Front, and was wounded after a relatively short period of time. Repatriated to hospital in England, Richard then had a series of other misadventures, including going AWOL several more times. Even Richard’s return to Australia was eventful: he was disembarked in Egypt because he had caught influenza and when he finally reached Fremantle in June 1919, he went AWOL again! (5). Richard’s death was equally dramatic: he died at Wonthaggi in February 1926 after being thrown from a cart when the horse pulling it bolted (6).
(1) School work book of Michael J. Bourke, 1904
(2) South Bourke & Mornington Journal 6/7/1904 p. 2
(3) & (5) NAA B2455, MULCAHY, R L
(4) NAA A471, 15963
(5) Advocate 4/3/1926, p. 13