MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD LUCAS MULLENS
MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD LUCAS MULLENS CB CdG(Bel) CdG(Fr)
25 February 1871 - 26 May 1952
The Oaks, School Road, c.1907-1935
By 1907 the small Langham Oaks estate had been bought by Major Richard Lucas Mullens, Adjutant of 2nd Dragoon Guards (then stationed at Colchester). Mullens had been born in Teddington, Middlesex, the son of Mr & Mrs John Mullens of Battle, Sussex, and was married to Leonore, née de Wette. They had four children, two of whom were baptised in Langham, in 1907 and 1908 respectively.
After Eton and Sandhurst, Mullens was commissioned in 1890 as Cornet in the 16th Lancers. He transferred to the 2nd Dragoon Guards, seeing action in the Second Boer War (1899-1902) on Special Service as the regiment’s Adjutant. He was severely wounded and twice Mentioned in Despatches. By the outbreak of the Great War, Mullens had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel commanding 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards. He took his regiment to France with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in August 1914; outside Mons, it was the very first unit of the BEF to exchange fire with the invading German forces.
Mullens was soon promoted to command 2nd Cavalry Brigade and in May 1915 was badly ‘gassed’ but in October of that year was appointed Major General Commanding 1st Cavalry Division, remaining its highly-regarded GOC for the rest of the war. He was Mentioned in Despatches a further seven times and appointed
Companion of the Bath (CB) in 1917. After the Armistice, his 1st Cavalry Division was given the honour of leading the British Army into the Rhineland on 1st December 1918. He returned with the division to England in April 1919 and retired from the army in 1920.
By the time Mullens returned a considerable acreage had been added to The Oaks estate. Somehow, despite his continuous service on the Western Front, the estate had expanded to include:
- most of the land north of School Road as far as the ridge on the further side
of Black Brook (Godfreys and Nightingale Farm)
- farms south of School Road, including Park Lane Farm.
The house had been enlarged earlier by the addition of a north wing, the main entrance being moved to the junction of the two structures. In the same period, a large garden room was added.
For unknown reasons, Mullens put a large part of the estate up for sale even before he had retired from the army but only part was actually sold. On retirement, he became a notable breeder of Shorthorn cattle and Suffolk Punch horses. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace and was invited by the Langham Parish Council to be its chairman, a position he held for 15 years until he left Langham. During his very active chairmanship, Mullens played a leading part in the erection of the War Memorial Gateway to the Primary School, of which he was also a manager (governor). He was also influential in having the Village Hall built in 1932 at the corner of Perry Lane and Wick Road.
The Mullens left Langham in December 1935 and to live at Devizes, Wiltshire, where Mullens died on 26 th May 1952. His medals were sold by Spink in November 2006 for £4,000.