BENJAMIN CHARLES SIMISTER MELLOR

Private, 8078, 'H' Company, 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment,
Died of Wounds, near Fir Tree Wood, Gallipolli, 3 May 1915, aged 25
No known grave. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Panel 131
 

The badge of the Royal Hampshire Regiment

Benjamin Mellor was baptised at Hartfield on 16 October 1892 as Benjamin Charles Simister Mellor, although in later life he seems to have dropped his third name. His parents were Lewis and Mary Mellor (née Green), both of whom were born in Staffordshire, and his father was a gamekeeper, possibly at Birchgrove or Maresfield Park, Sussex (both close to Ashdown Forest). There were two older sisters and a brother, but Benjamin was probably the youngest child as his father died two years after his birth. In 1901 Benjamin was enumerated in Hartfield with his widowed mother, an older sister who was a caretaker, an older brother who was a labourer, a younger sister and a 'nurse child' — presumably a means of his mother increasing her income. Her main occupation appeared to be as housekeeper to one Dr Matthews.

By the time of the 1911 census, Benjamin was a regular soldier, serving with the Hampshire Regiment. He appears as a private on a census return marked South Africa / Mauritius. As the Hampshire Regiment had been on service in South Africa until sometime in 1911 and was then posted to Mauritius, it is possible that the regiment was in transit on census night. If he continued in the army, he would also have served in India between 1913 and 1914.

Somewhat puzzlingly, a website called Bolton Remembers cites Benjamin Charles Mellor, son of Lewis and Mary of Maresfield Park and Hartfield, as having enlisted at Worcester in 1915 while living at Ringwood. This would imply that he had left the army at some point, maybe on completion of service, and was re-enlisting. There are apparently reports of his death in the Salford Advertiser and Salford Reporter dated 5 May 1915, but these have not been verified.

On 16 March 1915, the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment left Avonmouth for Egypt. The following month they moved to Mudros Bay, on the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern Aegean sea, and then to Gallipoli, where they landed at Cape Helles on 25 April. Benjamin Mellor would have fought with his battalion at the first battle of Krithia on 26 April, where allied troops tried to capture the village of that name. The regimental diary entry for the first day of the battle records 8 killed and 33 wounded. The following two days saw advances, but then the whole battalion had to withdraw to its position of 27 April. Although the Turks made no attack, 53 men were killed and a further 246 were wounded. 46 men were listed as missing. The battalion was relieved on 30 April and was in first line trenches when the Turks made a night attack at 4 a.m. on 1 May, wounding 9 soldiers.

The Helles Memorial

Presumably it was on one of those days that Private Mellor was hit. He subsequently died of wounds on 3 May, aged 25. He has no known grave, but is listed on the Helles Memorial.

Pam Griffiths