Saturday 18 November 2017

Jim Mullen

Proud Army man went on to work for the AA, writes Marcus Spray

Jim Mullen, who died on August 5, aged 102, was a member of the Irish Army. He became a 'top-class' AA mechanic and outlived all his military comrades.

Born in 1908, James Anthony Mullen was brought up on Gardiner Street in Dublin's north inner city at a time of much political strife.

Family recollections include a bullet whizzing by his father's top hat as he stuck his head out the window, looking for his sons.

In 1922, the family uprooted to the newly built Tenters area of Dublin, near James's Street, where the family home has remained ever since. A meticulous and hard-working man, joining the Army was a natural choice for Jim Mullen.

During his 21 years of service, Troop Sergeant Jim was based in the Curragh, where he excelled in repairing and maintaining military vehicles.

When the AA was looking to expand its Irish operation, Jim, then in his 50s, was seen, with his mechanical expertise, as the perfect man.

There followed years patrolling the Bray road on his bright-yellow motorbike with sidecar. He proved popular with the local kids, who could count on him for a lift. Later, he was proudly entrusted with driving the AA's newly introduced 4x4s, which included phones, a first for mobile transport in Ireland.

Retiring from the AA in 1965, Jim still kept in touch with his comrades. Each year, the Army would honour ex-servicemen with a banquet held in the Curragh, a joyous occasion. Jim loved catching up on old times, but year by year, the number of colleagues dwindled, until only Jim and an old friend were left.

For a number of years, the two men shared reminiscences, but finally, Jim was the only one left.

Right to the end, he was mentally sharp. On his 100th birthday, Jim celebrated with his large extended family. His many great and great-great-grandchildren fondly remember him dancing among them.

Jim married Pearl Nolan in 1930. Sadly, she died of tuberculosis in 1942, leaving a young family of four.

He married Mona Young in 1954 and the couple lived together in Goatstown, south Dublin, until she passed away in 1998.

Jim died peacefully at the home of his son Michael and daughter-in-law Frances, who had lovingly cared for him in the last years of his life.

He is survived by his children Michael, Jimmy, Matt and Rita.

Sunday Independent

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