Family visits gravesite of Victoria Cross recipient, George Harry Mullin
November 22, 2022, 4:29 pm
Susan Fisher never knew Harry Mullin nor did her husband, Tyler Dawson, who is Mullin’s great-grandson but the stories of this Victoria Cross recipient have come alive to her through both her husband and her father-in-law Bob Dawson (91).
“I have heard about Harry many times,” Fisher told the World Spectator in a Remembrance Day interview when she passed through Moosomin and visited Mullin’s gravesite there, paying their respects for family and bravery.
“My father-in-law’s grandmother, May (Mary) married Mullin when Bob (Dawson) was 12 years old,” Fisher explained, adding that Dawson knew Mullin for about 20 years before Mullin passed away. And so for Fisher, the stories Dawson has told her about Harry Mullin have really brought Mullin’s story and his exceptional bravery during World War I to life for her.
Mullin was born in the United States but at age two moved (1890s) with his family to the Moosomin area. When his parents moved further west, Mullin stayed on the farm northeast of Moosomin with his uncles, learning to shoot at an early age. In fact, as soon as he could carry a rifle, Mullin was shooting prairie chickens.
It wasn’t long after World War I broke out that Mullin’s service for his country began and his marksmanship resulted in him officially becoming one of 70 of the bravest Canadians who served in that war. He became a skilled scout and sniper and took part in the famous Canadian attack on Vimy Ridge in April 1917, earning the Military Medal for his bravery during that battle. Six months later, during the battle of Passchendaele, he earned an even greater honour by winning the Victoria Cross—the highest honour available to British Commonwealth troops, and one that only 70 Canadians earned during the war.
Mullin earned his VC on October 30, a day that found his unit under fire by a German ‘pillbox’ fortification that had stopped the Canadian advance and inflicted heavy casualties. Moving out from behind cover, Mullin crept toward the German position while under heavy fire, stopping to take out an enemy sniper position along the way. Reaching the pillbox, he climbed on top, shot the two machine gunners inside with his revolver, then rushed to another entrance and forced the remaining ten occupants to surrender. By the time he’d seized the pillbox, Mullin’s clothes were riddled with bullets, but he was unharmed.
In 1934, Mullin started a position in Regina as the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Saskatchewan Legislature, responsible for both the security of the Legislative Building and the ceremonial handling of the Mace, which symbolizes the authority of the House Speaker. Mullin left the position in 1941 to sign on with the Veterans Guard of Canada, where he stayed until 1947, guarding German prisoners of war—many of whom would salute him as he passed in recognition of his prestigious medal. In 1947, he resumed his role as Sergeant-at-Arms, and settled at 1262 Garnet street in Regina, remaining at the same address and job for the rest of his life.
In the last ceremony before the provincial legislature ended its spring session in 1963, Mullin was awarded a plaque announcing that, in honour of his military service, a lake in the province’s far north would be named after him. Just a few hours later, in the early morning of April 6, he passed away at his Garnet Street home.
Fisher, who lives in Vancouver, happened to be passing through Moosomin with her niece Allison on Remembrance Day on their way to Ontario where Fisher will be visiting her parents. The eight-day drive across five provinces included a planned stop in Moosomin to not only visit the cemetery and pay their respects, but to attend the Remembrance Day supper at the Moosomin Legion.
“I just wanted to honour the incredible sacrifice Harry made,” Fisher said of her stop in Moosomin, “and to do some visiting.” Though Fisher and her niece didn’t know anyone in Moosomin, they knew they would be warmly welcomed by those attending the local Legion Remembrance Day supper.
“We’re paying tribute to very brave people,” Fisher went on to stay. “They are why we have the freedoms we have today. What I feel wonderful about is that we are connected to our past.”
Fisher and her niece continued on their journey eastward the following day recounting the “lovely warm folks at the Legion dinner.”