Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.
The April issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class, the Reverend Noel Mellish, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for courage during the Great War.
Mellish, who was born in Barnet, north London, had already served with the Artists’ Rifles during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902 when, after the outbreak of the First World War, he volunteered for service in the Army’s chaplains’ department in early 1915.
By early 1916, and when attached to the 4th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Mellish was serving in the Ypres Salient, Belgium. On three successive days from March 27 to March 29 inclusive, and during heavy fighting, Mellish, by now 35, showed outstanding bravery at St Eloi, rescuing and tending to the wounds of well over 20 men. On the first day alone, in an area swept by machine-gun fire, he rescued ten wounded men and three were actually killed as he tended their injuries.
Mellish, however, miraculously escaped injury and his VC was announced on April 18 1916. He survived the war, continued his career in the Church of England and eventually died in South Pemberton, Somerset, on July 8 1962, aged 81.
Lord Ashcroft’s articles for Britain at War over the past four years have been largely based on excerpts from four of his books on gallantry: Victoria Cross Heroes, Special Forces Heroes, George Cross Heroes and Heroes of the Skies. His fifth bravery book, Special Ops Heroes, was published in November 2014.
For the foreseeable future, Lord Ashcroft’s “hero of the month” articles will concentrate on men who were awarded the VC during the First World War. Lord Ashcroft is a military historian who has lectured extensively on courage and his various medal collections.
- Lord Ashcroft’s latest article appears in the April issue of Britain at War which is on sale now.