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Mullen, Leslie Miltiades (1882–1943)

by Rodney K. Quinn

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Leslie Miltiades Mullen (1882-1943), by unknown photographer

Leslie Miltiades Mullen (1882-1943), by unknown photographer

Australian War Memorial, H00048

Leslie Miltiades Mullen (1882-1943), soldier, accountant and prison administrator, was born on 15 August 1882 at Williamstown, Victoria, son of William Rowland Mullen, stationmaster, from Liverpool, England, and his second wife Caroline, née Loughhead. Educated to Intermediate certificate level at Queen's College, Maryborough, he joined the 5th Victorian (Mounted Rifles) Contingent as a private in February 1901 and served in the South African War until April 1902. He then settled in Tasmania and worked for the Emu Bay Railway Co. and later the Tasmanian Farmers' Co-operative Association as an accountant. At St Mary's Anglican Church, Caulfield, Melbourne, on 16 August 1910, he married Alma Hoper Langeveldt.

In 1906 Mullen had been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Tasmanian Rangers (militia); by 1914 he was area officer at Burnie. On 28 August he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as a lieutenant and was appointed the 12th Battalion's transport officer. Promoted captain on 22 May 1915, he went ashore at Gallipoli and led 'A' Company, 12th Battalion, in operations there in May-August; his unit left Gallipoli in November. On 20 February 1916, in Egypt, Mullen was promoted major and second-in-command and embarked for France in March. On 4-16 October he commanded the 11th Battalion and on 1 December was promoted lieutenant-colonel in command of the 9th Battalion.

Mullen led the battalion in operations on the Somme in February 1917 and on 25 April–12 May temporarily commanded the 3rd Brigade at Bullecourt. Awarded the Distinguished Service Order in June, he saw further action in September at Polygon Wood and then at Broodseinde where on 9 October he was severely wounded in the chest and shoulder. In 1917 he was twice mentioned in dispatches.

Mullen rejoined the 9th Battalion on 9 January 1918 and at Hollebeke, on 6 March, he was gassed. He led the battalion at Meteren, Lihons, Cappy, Villeret and against the Hindenburg outpost line in May-September. He commanded the 1st Training Brigade at Sutton Veny, England, from October to January 1919 and then became commandant of the 3rd A.I.F. Depot. Awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre, he embarked for Australia on 4 June and was discharged from the A.I.F. on 6 September.

On 1 July 1920 Mullen joined the Tasmanian Public Service as an inspector with the Audit Department. In May 1928 he became superintendent of the New Town Infirmary and on 1 September was appointed controller of prisons and governor of Hobart gaol. He had continued serving in the militia, commanding the 2/12th Infantry Regiment, Australian Military Forces, from 1920 and the 12th Battalion from 1921. He was placed on the reserve of officers in 1929.

In 1919 Mullen joined the Hobart sub-branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia. Elected State president in June 1922, he represented Tasmania at many national league conferences and was an Australian delegate to the British Empire Service League conferences in Melbourne in 1924 and Canada in 1931. In 'recognition of his distinguished work in the returned soldier movement', he was appointed C.M.G. in June 1934.

An active sports administrator, Mullen held various executive appointments with the Tasmanian Cricket Association (chairman, 1926-33). He was also a committee-member of the Tasmanian National Football League. In World War II he commanded the Volunteer Defence Corps, Tasmania, in 1942.

Survived by his wife and daughter, Mullen died of coronary vascular disease on 18 March 1943 in Hobart and was cremated. A 'sturdy, competent commander', he was remembered as a 'strict but never a harsh disciplinarian [whose] friendliness and commonsense methods made the [9th Battalion] a well-knit and supremely contented unit'.

Select Bibliography

  • L. M. Newton, The Story of the Twelfth (Hob, 1925)
  • Cyclopedia of Tasmania (Hob, 1931)
  • N. K. Harvey, From Anzac to the Hindenburg Line (Brisb, 1941)
  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1917-18 (Syd, 1933, 1937, 1942)
  • Reveille (Sydney), 1 July, 1 Aug 1934
  • Weekly Courier (Launceston), 22 Aug 1928, 9 Oct 1929, 7 June 1934
  • Examiner (Launceston), 1, 22 July, 23 Oct, 1, 30 Nov 1939
  • records, Returned Services' League, Hobart
  • private information.

Citation details

Rodney K. Quinn, 'Mullen, Leslie Miltiades (1882–1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mullen-leslie-miltiades-7678/text13435, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 21 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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