22 January 2009

18655 Pte Mellish

James John Mellish was born in Bow in 1886, the son of James and Esther Mellish. He worked as a fancy cord manufacturer and married Susannah E L Brown in West Ham in 1912. Mellish joined the Essex Regiment in 1914 and was posted to the 13th (West Ham) Battalion, going overseas with the original contingent of the 13th Battalion on 17th November 1915 on the Princess Victoria and, after witnessing the HS Anglia hit a mine in harbour, landed at Boulogne alongside my gtGrandfather and the other West Ham Pals at 6pm.

Guillemont 1916
James was wounded on 8th August 1916 during the night assault on Waterlot Farm (the sugar beet refinery area) at Guillemont when the battalion suffered 90 casualties, mainly from C and D Companies (see previous posts)

Moeuvres 1917
Lance Corporal Mellish was again wounded at the Battalion’s famous action at Moeuvres on 30th November 1917 when they held up the German counter attack in the Cambrai area. In total the battalion suffered over 370 casualties with D Company being surrounded and captured after an epic resistance

9th Battalion
When the 13th Battalion was disbanded in February 1918, Mellish was transferred to the 9th Essex. In April 1918 Acting Corporal Mellish was taken prisoner during the fighting around Albert, finally being discharged to Class Z reserve on 13th February 1919.

The Second World War
James is believed to be entitled to the Defence Medal, for service with the Home Guard.

biography courtesy of 'Owen' - many thanks to you, sir

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