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Royal Australian Navy Presentation Sword owned by Thomas Edward Mullins

Date: 1922
Overall: 940 x 100 x 70 mm, 1.25 kg
Medium: Metal, leather
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Sword
Object No: 00031676
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This sword was presented to Thomas E. Mullins on his promotion to the rank of Warrant Wardmaster in 1922. Mullins had a distinguished career as a Sick Berth Steward, and later Wardmaster, with the Royal Australian Navy. During the First World War, he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for tending the wounded in the aftermath of the SYDNEY and EMDEN encounter.
    SignificanceThe battle between the SYDNEY and the EMDEN was a significant event in the history of the Royal Australian Navy, and this sword represents the importance of the encounter.
    HistoryThe naval officer's sword and scabbard symbolises the pomp of naval officers' dress and are an important ceremonial aspect of naval life. By the mid-nineteenth century, cutlers and manufacturers were active in many English industrial centres, notably Birmingham. The weapons were designed exclusively for use at sea and developed in the late eighteenth century, with the Royal Navy producing the first regulation sword pattern in 1905. Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century, these regulations were regularly revised. Officers usually carried swords when landed, and many preferred to maintain two swords: one for ceremonial use, and one for combat. By the early twentieth-century, swords were seldom used during boarding action, but were retained for ceremonial and presentation use.

    This sword features a number of engravings. On one side of the blade is the French phrase 'dieu et mon droit' ('God and my right'), which features on the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The other side has the text "Thomas E. Mullins / DSM RAN." The hilt is engraved with the words "Presented by S B (Sick Berth) Staff, Royal Australian Navy, 1922."

    Thomas Edward Mullins was born in Leicester, England in 1882. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in 1912 and served as a steward on HMAS SYDNEY during the First World War.

    Following the SYDNEY - EMDEN battle in November 1914, Mullins was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for 'general efficiency in attending to sick and wounded uninterruptedly for 6 days, including terribly severe cases which were received from SMS Emden'. It was one of only 17 issued to members of Australian Forces during the War.

    Mullins briefly served on the CERBERUS in 1917 and 1918, before being posted on PENGUIN.

    After the First World War, Mullins was promoted to Warrant Wardmaster in July 1922 and this sword likely commemorates his achievement of this rank.

    Mullins was transferred to the emergency list in 1937 and to the retired list in 1942. In 1957 he was promoted to Wardmaster Lieutenant-Commander RAN Rtd.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Royal Australian Navy Presentation Sword owned by Thomas Edward Mullins


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