Priest gets call-up to Gallipoli

New Zealand Marist priest, David Mullins won selection from the New Zealand ANZAC Gallipoli 2015 centenary commemoration ballot and will travel to Gallipoli next year.

Fr Mullins will join 2,000 other New Zealanders commemorating 100 years since the ANZAC landing on the peninsula in Turkey, where more than 8,500 and 2,721 New Zealand soldiers lost their lives.

For Fr Mullins it is a way to connect with his late father Jack, who volunteered in the Canterbury Regiment the day World War I broke out.

“The main thing is to be on the land at Gallipoli. To feel where my father was”, Fr Mullins told Stuff reporter Ciara Pratt.

“I’ve never had the chance until now to go, so I put in the application and decided to hedge my bets.

“It’s a bit like Lotto”, the retired priest said.

Working as a missionary for many years in Tonga and completing many mission trips, Fr Mullins is used to travel, however at 83 he says travelling is not as easy as it used to be.

“I’m willing to put up with a few difficulties because the New Zealand soldiers put with up with so many difficulties and problems, and sacrificed a lot”, he said.

Mr Jack Mullins, a budding journalist at Christchurch Press, saw three years service. An injury early into the ANZAC battle saw him transported to hospital in Alexandria.

After suffering several more injuries he returned to New Zealand in 1917 and resumed his journalism career.

While in Gallipoli, Mr Mullins wrote about his war experiences and sent the reports back to his former employer.

“He never spoke critically of the war and he was proud of the fact he was at Gallipoli”, said Fr Mullins.

“In one of his writing he spoke about the captain’s sermon on the ship being commendably short, something I’ve tried to put in practice myself”, Fr Mullins said.


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