Corporal Philip MELLOR


Regiment/Service:
King's Royal Rifle Corps
Unit:
18th Battalion
Service Number:
C/6659
Date of Death:
15 September 1916 - Killed in Action
Age:
29
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Number:
II. D. 15.


Personal History:

Phillip was born in January 1886, the son of Abraham (Collier) and Harriett Susannah (née Goodwin) Mellor, married March quarter 1879. In 1891 (Census RG 12/2817)  the family were living at Dane Bar Cottage, Wildboarclough, Cheshire and Phillip had four older siblings, Abraham, Richard, John and Harriett, and a younger brother, Emmanuel.

By 1901 the family had moved to 18 Market Street, Buxton and Phillip was working as a "Tailor's Apprentice" (Census RG 13/3269). On the 3rd January 1910 Phillip married Mabel May Mellor at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Buxton.
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21238) they were living with Abraham and his new wife, Ann (née Goodwin - same as Harriett - married September quarter 1909), at Ladmanlow, Buxton. (Harriett had died in the September quarter 1903) Phillip was working as a "Tailor Maker" and they had a son, Phillip Henry, born 21st March 1910.

On the 8th January 1912 Phillip and Mabel had a daughter, Mary Susannah. When Philip enlisted in December 1915 he was 5 ft. 8 ins (1.73 m) tall, and the family was living at 8 Wye Head, Buxton.

Military History:
The 18th (Service) Battalion (Arts & Crafts)  the King's Royal Rifle Corps was formed at Gidea Park in London by Major Sir Herbert Raphael on 4th June 1915. Philip enlisted into the Battalion at Buxton on 2nd August 1915, aged 29 years 6 months, becoming a 'Rifleman'. He was immediately posted to Gidea Park, then to Witley in October 1915 and Aldershot a month later - all for training.

On 26th January 1916 he was appointed (unpaid) Lance Corporal, and paid from 1st April. Philip was posted with the Battalion to join the forces in France on 2nd May 1916, and promoted to Corporal, in the field, on 15th July 1916. Just 2 months later he was killed in action whilst taking part in what became known as The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and is buried at Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers.

On the 11th September the Battalion marched into the line at Fricourt Camp, at that time their strength was 624 Officers and men. Four day later Philip was one of 346 casualties suffered by the Battalion in a single day - Officers – 7 killed, 14 wounded. Other ranks – 57 killed, 227 wounded, 3 died of wounds, 59 missing [According to the War Diary.] However the CWGC records show 133 Officers and men of the 18th Battalion died that day. Phillip is one of 35 who now lie in Bull's Road Cemetery. Of the remainder, 85 have no known grave and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Battalion War Diary for those few days reads:

"13.09.1916 FRICOURT Camp The Bn. moved off from Fricourt Camp at 2am halting at Pommieres Redoubt. Arrived at Green Dump Area about 4pm relieving 10th Queens. Our trench strength was 624 + positions occupied were Headquarters at ‘C’ Company:- York Trench. A, B & D Companies: Orchard, Carlton & Savoy Trenches respectively. Casualties: Nil.

14.09.1916 TRENCHES. At 9 pm the Bn. moved via Milk Lane Communication Trench, taking over Tea Trench from 11th Royal West Kents. Relief being completed by about 1.30 a.m. 15.9.1916. Casualties: 10 caused by barrage of Whiz-Bangs.

15.09.1916 TRENCHES. The Bn. advanced towards FLERS at 6.15 a.m. in waves of 150 men each. The first wave occupied the Hun first line, the second wave was followed taking their second line, the third and fourth adv. enemy ______  on the west half of Flers. Casualties: Officers – 7 killed, 14 wounded. I.R. – 57 killed, 227 wounded, 3 died of wounds, 59 missing (Total 346)

16.09.1916 TRENCHES. Capt. W. Moore Alpine who had been acting as O.C. details in transport lines went up and took command of the Bn.. Reorganising in Savoy Trench. Strength roughly 274. Casualties: Nil. "

In reporting his death "The Buxton Advertiser" of 14th October 1916 reprinted a letter from Philip's C.O.,
saying in part:

" .... I write these few lines to break the saddest of all news to you about the death of your husband,
Corporal Mellor. He was killed on the 15th of this month. Death must have been instantaneous by what
the lads in platoon tell me. All the boys under him feel his loss very much as he was very well liked by
all who knew him. Comfort yourselves in this sad bereavement that his body will be recovered and laid
to rest by his comrades in a little cemetery behind the firing lines which will be looked after. ..."

Sources:
· The Buxton Advertiser, 7th and 14th October 1916
· National Archive - WO 95/2635

Link to CWGC Record
Cpl Mellor's grave
Cpl Philip Mellor
King's Royal Rifle Corps Memorial, Bellewaerde, Belgium


poppy