Mullane, an Irishman, was born in Ahmednager, Deccan, eastern India in October 1858. He was approximately 21 years old and a Sergeant in the Royal Horse Artillery when he earned the Victoria Cross during the 2nd Afghan War at the Defeat at Maiwand, north of Khandahar on 27 July 1880. He was living at 31 Coronation Road, Plaistow with his sister, Mrs E. Mahoney when he died on 20 November 1919. Aged 61, he was then working as a Writer at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. He was buried in an unmarked grave in St Patrick's Catholic Cemetery, Leytonstone. There is a memorial plaque in the cemetery chapel, given by his regiment, the Royal Artillery.
During the 2nd Afghan War, Sergeant Mullane of the Royal Horse Artillery earned his Victoria Cross at the Defeat at Maiwand, north of Khandahar on 27 July 1880. On the day of battle, the Afghan hordes surged forward overwhelming the British infantry.
"On 27 July 1880 during the action at Maiwand, Afghanistan, Sergeant Mullane's battery was on the point of retiring and the enemy was within 10 or 15 yards when the sergeant ran back and picked up a wounded driver and placed him on the limber, where unfortunately he died almost immediately. Again during the retreat, Sergeant Mullane volunteered to procure water for the wounded and succeeded in doing so by going into one of the villages in which so many men lost their lives".
London Gazette, 16 May 1881
A description of the action:
On the day of battle, the Afghan hordes surged forward overwhelming the British infantry. At about 2.30 p.m. the Afghan horde surged forward again and this time succeeded in overwhelming the two isolated and inexperienced companies of the Rifles. They fled into the rear ranks of the Grenadiers and, as Burrows reported, "the infantry gave way, and commencing from the left, rolled up like a wave".
Gunner WM Williams of E/B Battery described the gun positions where "many of the draught horses were kicking and plunging in the last agonies of death. The enemy, led by their chiefs who carried large silken banners of various colours, charged down on the guns, yelling and shouting as they came on"
On the right Lieutenant EG Osborne's two guns got out with difficulty but he was shot dead helping his gunners to hook on. Slade deployed the four remaining guns of the Battery about 400 yards back to try and cover the retreat; but the situation was beyond saving and he had to withdraw to Mundabad from where E/B covered the remnants of broken units streaming off the battlefield
Sergeant Patrick Mullane won his Victoria Cross when he managed to save one team and, having run back under fire to pick up a wounded driver and place him on the limber, smashed his galloping horses through the ranks of Ghazis. Despite heavy losses to both its men and horses, the Battery remained the one formed and disciplined fighting unit of the defeated force and became its backbone during the long thirsty retreat to Kandahar.
*He later rose to the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major. On his return to England, Patrick married Sarah Ann Harvey, a dressmaker in 1884. They had a daughter, Dorothy Kathleen, and by 1891 were living at the South Denes Barracks in Great Yarmouth. Ten years later the couple had separated and Patrick, now receiving an army pension, was living alone at 91 Pollock Road Southwark.
In 1904 his medal was put up for auction and sold by his family. It is believed that at this time he was living overseas and on his return his medal was returned to him.
*One Crowded Hour by David Ian Chapman, Leyton & Leytonstone Historical Society Occassional Publication No.4 - 2006