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10478 Private John Mellor 1st Battalion

John was born into a Roman Catholic family in Preston on the 14th July 1894 the son of Joseph and Susannah Mellor (nee Coghlan). His parents married in Preston in 1893, his mother Susannah (b.1869 Preston) was the daughter of Irish parents, Patrick and Ellen Coghlan. John was the eldest of three surviving siblings, the others being; Joseph Wright (1895), Margaret Ellen (1898) and Winifred (1902), another sister, Mary Elizabeth had been born in 1900 but sadly she died at 3 years old in 1903.

The 1901 Census shows the family living at 58 Essex Street in Preston where John`s father was employed as a coachman but by November 1901 when John was enrolled at St. Augustine`s R.C. Junior School, the school record notes that the family had left Essex Street and had gone to live at number 3 Gorst Street, the record also noting John`s previous school as St. Ignatius RC Infants.

By the time the 1911 Census was recorded the family had moved again, this time to a three roomed house at 17 Gladstone Street. John`s father was a hackney carriage driver whilst John had left school and was working as a farm labourer.  The Census record also shows that his brother Joseph was a `billiard marker` at a Club, his sister Margaret Ellen was a cotton weaver and his youngest sibling Winifred was still at school.

At some point during 1912 John joined the 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment as a regular soldier, his service number was 10478. After the declaration of war, John as a serving member of the Regiment disembarked in France with the 1st Battalion on the 12th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Although none of John`s service papers appear to have survived, we do know that he was captured by the Germans at some point during October 1914. The Red Cross Prisoner of War Records are quite extensive but having looked for John and using various surname spellings, it would appear that none exist for him. However, other information states that he did spend some time at Gustrow POW Camp and then later at Parchim POW Camp.

The following photograph was sent by John to the Town Clerk in Preston and shows a group of POW`s at Gustrow Camp, the newspaper dated 22nd February 1916, the piece noting that at least eight of the men in the photograph came from Preston, presumably John is in the photograph but unfortunately has not been identified;

It looks as though John was still at Parchim POW camp when the Armistice was declared but as other prisoners were being repatriated John remained in Germany, very likely through illness and where sadly, he passed away on the 25th December 1918. He was originally buried at Parchim Prisoner of War Cemetery but in 1923 after a decision was taken to create four permanent cemeteries in Germany, John`s body was reinterred in a Commonwealth War Grave in Hamburg Cemetery.

After the war his father took receipt of the 1914 Star & Clasp, British War and Victory Medals that he was entitled to and would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 10478
Date of Death: 25/12/1918
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

2104 Private Joseph Mellor 1st Battalion

Joseph, a year younger than his brother John, joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 2nd January 1913, enlisting for 6 years as a Special Reservist, initially joining the 3rd Battalion with the service number 2104. At his medical inspection it was noted that he was 17 years and 6 months old, five feet four and a half inches tall and weighed 113lbs and had blue eyes and brown hair. Joseph, like his brother was also unmarried and living at home with his parents. When he enlisted he was working as a sawyer for Messrs. Page & Taylor, a company based on Preston Docks;

There does appear to be some confusion as to when Joseph actually went to France, his Medal Index Card notes that he disembarked on 12th August 1914 with the 1st Battalion, the same time as his brother, but his papers note that he embarked on the 19th September 1914. We do know that Joseph, like his brother, was also captured at some point and he too was taken to Gustrow POW Camp in Germany. According to the information with the photograph that was sent to the Town Clerk in Preston, Joseph was captured at the same time as John, so in October 1914. However, Joseph`s papers note that he was posted as missing on the 12th November 1914.

Again, unfortunately there does not appear to be any Red Cross POW record for Joseph either but we know that sadly, he died in Gustrow Hut Hospital No. 153 on the 7th March 1915, his papers noting that this was due to typhus.

For his war service Joseph was also awarded the 1914 Star & Clasp along with the British War and Victory Medals which his father received and acknowledged.

Joseph was originally buried in Gustrow POW Cemetery, however, like his brother John, he too was reinterred in Hamburg Cemetery in 1923. Sadly, John and Joseph do not rest side by side, the second burial party obviously unaware that they were brothers.

Rank: Private
Service No: 2104
Date of Death: 07/03/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

John and Joseph are also remembered on the War Memorial that stands outside of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Preston. The family also completed submission forms for the brothers to be remembered on the War Memorial Panels inside the Harris Museum and Library In their hometown;

(Note; Joseph`s form, completed by a member of his family states that he was killed `by guard while prisoner of war in Germany` although oddly his papers state that he died from typhus, so which version is true is unknown).

Below the names of the two brothers as they appear on the Memorial Panels in the Harris Library;

Janet Davis
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