Edward Noel Mellish

Edward Noel Mellish
Edward Noel Mellish

Edward Noel Mellish VC MC DL (24 December 1880 – 8 July 1962) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early Life

Edward Noel Mellish was born on 24 December 1880 at Oakleigh Park, Barnet, North London. He was the son of Edward and Mary Mellish. He went on to be educated at Saffron Walden Grammar School and from there became a member of the Artists Rifles. In 1900 he began serving with Baden-Powell’s Police during the Second Boer War in South Africa.

He returned to study Theology at King’s College London and took holy orders in 1912.

World War I

On the outbreak of the First World War Mellish was assistant curate at St Paul’s, Deptford. He offered his services to the chaplaincy and served from May 1915 until February 1919. Just a few months after the start of his service, his brother Second Lieutenant Richard Coppin Mellish was killed in action whilst serving with the 1st Middlesex Regiment at the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. Reverend Mellish was attached to the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers in Ypres Salient in 1916 and it was then during the first three days of the Actions of St Eloi Craters, 27 to 29 March 1916, that he performed the actions for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Victoria Cross

The citation reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery. During heavy fighting on three consecutive days he repeatedly went backwards and forwards, under continuous and heavy shell and machine-gun fire, between our original trenches and those captured from the enemy, in order to tend and rescue wounded men. He brought in ten badly wounded men on the first day from ground swept by machine-gun fire, and three were actually killed while he was dressing their wounds.

The battalion to which he was attached was relieved on the second day, but he went back and brought in twelve more wounded men.

On the night of the third day he took charge of a party of volunteers and once more returned to the trenches to rescue the remaining wounded.

This splendid work was quite voluntary on his part and outside the scope of his ordinary duties.”

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Fusilier Museum in the Tower of London. Replica medals are on display at the Museum of Army Chaplaincy.

After the war

Meelish was awarded the Military Cross in 1919.

After the war Mellish was vicar of St Mark’s, Lewisham and later of Wangford-cum-Henham and Reydon in Suffolk. He was vicar of St Mary’s Church, Great Dunmow in Essex from 1928 to 1948 and then was licensed as the perpetual curate of the Church of St Dunstan, Baltonsborough in Somerset.

He served in the Second World War as an air-raid precautions warden. In 1946 he was appointed a deputy lieutenant of the county of Essex.

4 thoughts on “Edward Noel Mellish

  1. A couple of years ago we visited my wife’s sister in Coventry. We walked across many fields at a place called Coundon Wedge. We arrived at a grave yard and to be honest I have never read grave stone information before. I have no great memory to possess but remember the names of forces members. We got back to the house and I tried to look up some of the names for insights into their brave contributions. Nothing of note other than very basic information of a few lines. Your extensive presentations here are both fine reads and an acknowledgment to recognising and making us aware by retelling their stories. Brilliant. All the best.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you like. All these stories are so humbling and I’m just trying to do my little bit in remembering them, in the same way as the early Brighton players in my earlier posts. 😊

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