MULCAHY, Patrick
(Service number 24/2044)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 22 October 1853 Place of Birth Tipperary, Ireland

Enlistment Information

Date 16 November 1915 Age 62 years
Address at Enlistment Waterloo Avenue, Wellington
Occupation Labourer (Wellington City Council)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married; 6 children living (3 independent), 5 deceased (including war death, at time unknown)
Next of Kin Mrs Isabella MULCAHY (wife), 4 Waterloo Avenue, Wellington
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date 4 March 1916
Transport Willochra
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With NZ Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 22 January 1920 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Council employee


Date 14 May 1931 Age 77 years
Place of Death 150 Upland Road, Kelburn, Wellington (residence)
Cause Senility; Myocarditis; Lobar pneumonia
Notices Evening Post, 14 May 1931
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Memorial Reference Block A, Row 3, Plot 4
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Patrick Mulcahy was born, it is believed, on 22 October 1853 at Emily, Tipperary, Ireland, the son of Michael and Catherine (née Shea/O’Shea) Mulcahy. Both Patrick and his brother John came to New Zealand. Patrick married Scottish-born Isabella (Bella) Baxter White Stewart in March 1887 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 Fairlie, South Canterbury, where several children were born. About 1896, the family moved to Wellington and there five more children were born. Of their eleven children, three died in infancy, two were to die in the war and another died in the influenza epidemic. In Wellington Patrick worked at the Botanical Gardens and as a cleaner. Bella Mulcahy, Botanical Gardens, nominated a candidate for Wellinton North in the general election of 1911.

A labourer employed by the Wellington City Council, Patrick Mulcahy enlisted on 16 November 1915 at Trentham. Married and Roman Catholic, he named his wife as next-of-kin – Mrs Isabella Mulcahy, 4 Waterloo Avenue, Wellington. A note was later inserted – “Gone to England”. How did he do it? Patrick Mulcahy disguised his age, giving a birthdate of 17 March 1870.

‘Private Patrick Mulcahy, formerly in the City Council’s service, admits to being 48, nevertheless, he is off to the front. He has one son wounded after eighteen weeks in the trenches at Gallipoli, and another son is on his way to the front. Last evening Private Mulcahy was presented by the Town Hall staff with a case of razors and a pound of tobacco. Members of the council’s staff who testified to Private Mulcahy’s grit and manly bearing were the Town Clerk (Mr. J. R. Palmer), who made the presentation, Messrs. Jas. Doyle, A. J. Paterson, H. L. Godber, R. Tait. M. J. Casey, T. W. Leslie, and Davey (a returned soldier). Private Mulcahy said he was glad indeed to go, and if possible be with his sons in the firing line; but he was sorry to say that although he had exhausted all sources of information at this end he had not been able to learn more about the lad reported wounded at Gallipoli than the bare fact recorded on 8th August. However, he was determined to do his bit wherever he might be sent and whatever he was called upon to do.’ [Evening Post. 3 March 1916.]


‘Private Patrick Mulcahy, a well-known member of the Town Hall staff, who is going to the front as a member of the Tenth Reinforcements, was the subject of a presentation from the combined staffs yesterday afternoon. On their behalf the Town Clerk (Mr. J. R. Palmer) presented him with a case of razors, and a pound of tobacco, the gifts being accompanied with a hearty “God-speed” and all possible success in his mission. He was now a soldier prepared for anything, and when it was stated that his “military age” was 48 years, they would realise the spirit that was in him. Tributes were also paid to Private Mulcahy by Messrs. J. Doyle, A. J. Paterson, R. Tait, M. J. Casey, H. L. Godber, and D'Arcy. In reply Private Mulcahy said he had always been delighted to be connected with the Town Hall staff, he was proud to be a British subject, and was delighted at the privilege of getting away to the firing line. There was another reason, too. One of his boys, after being in the trenches at Gallipoli for eighteen weeks, had been wounded on August 8, since when he had not heard of him, though he had exhausted all sources of information. Another of his boys had left with the Ninths, and he had the pleasure of marching down to the ship with him. He had been four months in camp and had got through with a clean sheet.’ (Applause.) [Dominion. 3 March 1916.]

Rifleman P. Mulcahy embarked for Suez, Egypt, at Wellington on 4 March 1916 per the “Wilochra”. He was sixty-two years old! Sadly, his son John Mulcahy had been killed at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915, but this had not been determined before Patrick senior, embarked. While he had had the pleasure of marching down to the ship with his son Patrick, and being with him in the trenches for some time, Patrick, junior, was also killed in action, on 16 September 1916 at the Somme. In 1917, Mrs Isabella Mulcahy went to England to work for the war effort. In July 1918, Michael Mulcahy, the eldest of Patrick and Isabella’s family, left for the Front, and in November 1918, while Patrick and Isabella were still abroad, their second youngest son, Hugh Mulcahy, died of influemza.

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.’ 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.

Acting-Sergeant Patrick Mulcahy, 24/2044, who, though well over the military age, enlisted in 1916 and had served in France and England until nearly a year after the Armistice, returned to New Zealand by the “Ruahine”, arriving home about 22 December 1919. Mr and Mrs Mulcahy were generous and hospitable folk and noted for hosting the Wellington Harriers Club in the 1920s. Mrs Mulcahy was an active member of the Scottish Society.

Patrick Mulcahy died on 14 May 1931 at his Kelburn residence and was buried at Karori Cemetery, where the names of his sons John and Patrick are engraved on the family headstone. The funeral of the late Mr. Patrick Mulcahy was “attended by a large and representative gathering”. The coffin was covered by the Union Jack, and among the pall-bearers were his two surviving sons, Michael and Terence Muleahy. “The St. Patrick’s Branch of the Hibernian Society were in attendance, and filled in the grave, in accordance with their old custom.” The Returned Soldiers’ Association was represented, and both the Harriers’ Association and the Caledonian Society were represented by large numbers of members. Mrs Isabella Mucahy died in 1948.




‘There were numerous instances of youths who over-stated their age in order to get to the Front in the Great War and “do their bit” for their country. There were no doubt numbers of others who were some years over age who under-stated their age in order to “join up.” There were probably not many men who were twenty years over age who were accepted. T

he following simple obituary notice appeared in “The Evening Post” yesterday:—

Mulcahy. — On l4th May, 1931, at 150, Upland road, Kelburn. Patrick Mulcahy, aged 80 years. R.1.P. Rifleman N.Z.E.F., 24/2044. No flowers by request.

The late Ptrick Mulcahy was an old resident of Wellington. He was for about twenty years an employee of the City Council — a gardener at the Botanical Gardens. When the war broke out two of his sons went to the front with early reinforcements, and were killed. At this time their father, Mr. Patrick Mulcahy, was employed in work at the Town Hall. One day he said to a friend, “I would like to go to the front and find the German who killed my sons.” “You are over age, Pat, and have no chance of being accepted,” replied his friend.

One morning shortly after Mulcahy asked to leave his work for a while, and came back with a certificate of “Fit A.” He joined up as “Rifleman Patrick Mulcahey,” and left for France with the Tenth Reinforcements. He was then sixty-five years of age, but being very fit passed as forty-five.

An instance of his determined, self-sacrificing nature may be mentioned. A friend with a large family dependant upon him had volunteered for active service, but was not accepted. He told Mr. Mulcahy of his regret that he could not go. “No,” replied Mr. Mulcahy, “your place is with your family; I will go and take your place.”

At the end of the war Mr. Patrick Mulcahy returned to New Zealand, resumed his old duties, and subsequently retired on a small pension allowance.

Mr. Mulcahy leaves a widow, and grown-up family to mourn the loss of a brave husband and father. It may be mentioned that Mrs. Muleahy went to England shortly after her husband and did useful war service in the Motherland.’ [Evening Post. 15 May 1931]


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [24 November 2021]; Karori Cemetery headstone transcription [24 November 2021]; Otago Witness, 27 January 1888, Evening Post, 3 March 1916, 14 [x 2], 15 & 18 May 1931, Dominion, 3 March 1916, 13 August 1917, Feilding Star, 22 November 1918, Greymouth Evening Star, 30 December 1918 (Papers Past) [23, 24, 25 & 26 November 2021]; Birth date & exact place derived from family tree ( [24 November 2021]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB