‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

photo courtesy of Bob Boston

EDWARD MULLINS
Age:23
Date of Death:03/01/1917
Rank:Rifleman
Service No:R/11660
Regiment:King's Royal Rifle Corps
Unit:16th Bn
Cemetery:
St.Sever Cemetery Extension,Rouen
Grave Ref:O.IV.G.3

Edward Mullins was born in Rochdale in 1894. His parents were Michael, a cotton worker, and Emily. Michael and Emily had 11 children in total but sadly only five lived to adulthood. Apart from Edward those were Mary Ellen, Sarah, Emily and John. It seems the family lived for a little while in Royton around the turn of the 20th century before moving onto Oldham. They were still in Oldham in 1911 but sometime after that had moved to 271 Shaw Road in Royton. It was there that Edward was living with his parents at the outbreak of war. At that time he was working as a piecer at the Fir Mill.
Edward first enlisted in Royton on December 17th 1914 into the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He arrived in Lancaster the following day but just four days later was discharged as being "not likely to be an efficient soldier". The reason given was that the top joint of the index finger on his left hand was 'deficient'. After several weeks at home he tried once again to join the army - this time in the Oldham Territorial unit, the 10th Manchesters. Again he was rejected.
He was not to be denied in his desire to serve his country though and found success when attempting to join the King's Royal Rifle Corps which he did around about March 1915. Edward was sent out for active service in either December of that year or January 1916. It's not possible to pinpoint exactly which engagements he saw in his twelve months of active service as he was in two separate battalions of the KRRC - the 2nd and the 16th - and there is no indication in the records as to when he transferred from one to the other. Both battalions were involved during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
Edward was hospitalised with trench foot during his service on the Western Front and it is after that that he was most probably transferred from one battalion to the other. The winter of 1916/1917 was the worst of the war in France & Flanders and Edward was to be one of it's many victims. He was taken to hospital, seriously ill, and died of tetanus at No.12 General Hospital in Rouen on January 3rd 1917.
After Edward had died, but the day before his family were notified, his mother received this letter from a matron at the hospital:
"Dear Mrs Mullins - it is with great grief that I have to tell you that Rifleman E.Mullins has been brought to this hospital very seriously ill. The wet and cold of the trenches has made his feet very bad and he may have to lose a foot. He is very brave and bright. The priest came to see him today. Every possible care will be taken of him, but of course he is very ill. We can only hope and trust for the best".