A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Sapper Bertram James Mullett
Born: 12 November 1884 Isle of Wight England. Died: 3 August 1950, Heidelberg.
Enlisted: 26 October 1914 aged 30.
Served: Egypt and Gallipoli.
When Bert enlisted he was a 30-year-old farmer but also studying accountancy.
Bert became a sapper and served at Gallipoli, where he was in the trenches for five months as a wireless (radio) operator.
There, Bert suffered shell shock caused by concussion from an exploding shell and also contracted diphtheria.
As he was assessed as fit for light duties only, Bert was later transferred to the gift shop of Cairo’s Savoy Hotel, where the British Army had their headquarters. He was then assigned to escort duty on HMAT Clan Macgillivray and returned to Australia in August 1916.
Bert visited Pakenham Upper shortly thereafter “to recruit his health”, but was discharged from the Army in October as permanently unfit due to neurasthenia caused by shell shock.
By 1919, Bert was living in Balaclava, working as a clerk with the Army Base Records Office at Victoria Barracks.
Bert married Ruby Lewis in 1919 and later had two sons, eventually settling in Caulfield.
Bert suffered significant ill health, particularly headaches, nervous exhaustion and sore throats which he attributed to his war service, and died at 66.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com