(Service number 10/751)
|Aliases||Known as Jack|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||20 April 1894||Place of Birth||Fairlie|
|Date||12 August 1914||Age||20 Years 4 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Patea|
|Previous Military Experience||11th Regiment - serving|
|Next of Kin||Patrick Mulcahy 4 Waterloo Avenue, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 6 inches, Complexion Fair, Eyes Grey, Hair Fair.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Wellington Infantry Battalion|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Arawa or Limerick|
|Embarked From||Wellington New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Wellington Infantry Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Balkan (Gallipoli)|
|Service Medals||1914-15 Star|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||8 August 1915||Age||21|
|Place of Death||Gallipoli, Turkey|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, Chunnuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey; Karori Cemetery, Wellington - memorial|
|Memorial Reference||Panel 13 Karori Cemetery - Block A, Row 3, Plot 4|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall; Patea War Memorial; Eureka and District War Memorial; Terrace School, Wellington, roll of honour|
John Mulcahy, who was known as Jack, was born on 20 April 1894 at Fairlie, the second surviving son of Irish-born Patrick Mulcahy and his Scottish-born wife, Isabella (Bella) Baxter White née Stewart. Patrick and Bella married at Gore and it was at Lime Hills near Gore that their first child was born in December 1887. By 1889 they had moved to South Canterbury, where several children were born. About 1896, the family moved to Wellington and there five more children were born. John started at the Newtown Catholic School in 1899, moving from there to Thorndon School, Wadestown School and the Terrace School, Wellington. Jack was a member of the Patea Football Club.
John Mulcahy was a 20-year-old farm hand at Patea when he enlisted on the outbreak of war, doing so on 12 August 1914 at New Plymouth. Single, Roman Catholic and serving with the 11th Regiment, he named his father as next-of-kin – Patrick Mulcahy, 4 Waterloo Avenue, Wellington. Private J. Mulcahy embarked at Wellington with the Wellington Infantry Battalion of the Main Body on 16 October 1914. He saw service in Egypt before heading to the Balkans, taking part in the “heroic landing on the steep shores of Gallipoli”. First reported wounded on 8 August 1915, he had been killed in action on that date at Gallipoli, aged 21 years. It was not until March 1916 that Private John Mulcahy, 10/751, who had been reported wounded, was declared as missing and believed dead. His name was inscribed on the Chunuck Bair (New Zealand) Memorial at Gallipoli. He is also remembered on the family headstone in Karori Cemetery, Wellington. John Mulcahy is honoured on the Timaru Memorial Wall and on the Patea Memorial which was unveiled on Anzac Day 1922 and the Eureka and District Memorial. The Terrace School, Wellington, War Memorial was unveiled by the Governor General in November 1924. Although no names were recorded on the memorial, a roll of honour of old boys and teachers who were killed in the war has been compiled and includes Mulcahy John: 10/751 – Pte – WIR – KIA 8/8/15 Gallipoli, and Mulcahy, Patrick: 10/3655 – Pte – WIR – KIA 16/9/16 Western Front. The memorial was ‘accidentally’ demolished during the building of the Wellington motorway in November 1971. A replacement memorial was unveiled in November 2018. All War Gratuity and War Medals were to go to his mother, Mrs Isabella Mulcahy.
‘A few short years ago young “Jack” Mulcahy, of Wellington, was playing marbles in the Terrace School grounds or chasing rabbits on the Tinakori Hills, when he could escape from his quiet home on the pretty slope of the hill in the Botanical Gardens. His mother always read the letters from folks in the Old Land, when the father and children were together. The letters young “Jack” loved best were those from Uncle Peter—the “Soldier Uncle” —as the children loved to call him— and mother’s brother.’ [Free Lance. 28 January 1916.] Peter Baxter Stewart, a brother of Mrs Isabella Mulcahy, was killed in action in 1915 at Loo, France. He was 42 years old, married with a family.
John’s brother Patrick lost his life on 16 September 1916 at the Somme. His elder brother, Michael Daniel Gladstone Mulcahy, also served in the War, leaving in 1918. A younger brother, Hugh James Mulcahy died on 11 November 1918, a victim of the influenza epidemic. At this time both their parents, Patrick and Isabella, were in London. Patrick Mulcahy, senior, had lowered his age considerably and enlisted in 1916. His wife Isabella later joined him in England to do her part in the war effort.
A Patriotic Family, reported the Dominion of 13 August 1917. ‘A very fine example of practical patriotism is that shown by Mrs. Mulcahey [sic], of Wellington, and her family. Her husband is at the present time fighting in France, a son fought on Gallipoli, another is fighting in France, and yet another is in camp preparatory to leaving for the front. Every son available for service is “doing his bit,” and Mrs Mulcahey herself has left for England to work in a munitions factory. Mrs. Mulcahey is a Scotchwoman, one of that splendid type which was the backbone of New Zealand in the early days, and whose descendants are doing so much to make the name of this country an honoured one among the nations to-day. For some time before she left she was associated with the Returned Soldiers’ Hostel at Newtown, working for the benefit of the soldiers who were inmates there.’
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [24 November 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [24 November 2021]; School Admission records [24 November 2021]; Karori Cemetery headstone transcription [24 November 2021]; Patea Mail, 19 April 1915 [MULCAHEY], 24 March 1916, 19 July 1916, 26 April 1922, Free Lance, 17 September 1915, 28 January 1916, Otago Witness, 22 September 1915, Dominion, 13 August 1917, Feilding Star, 22 November 1918 (Papers Past) [23, 24, 25 & 26 November 2021]; New Zealand History (https://nzhistory.govt.nz/) [26 November 2021]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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