Joshua Charlesworth Mellor (1875-1900)

An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.


Joshua "Joss" Charlesworth Mellor was born on 27 August 1875, the son of farmer Joshua Mellor and his wife Sarah (née Charlesworth) of Hogley, Austonley.

By 1891, the family was living at Hard End, Marsden, where Joshua worked as a rag grinder. They later resided at 22 Mount Road Cottages, Marsden.

He served in the 1st Volunteer Battalion, West Riding Regiment and took part in the Second Boer War. His service record described him as 5'7½" tall, sallow complexion, with dark brown hair.

His friend, Private G. W. Ward, wrote a letter back home describing their initial experiences in South Africa:[1]

I expect that you will have heard something about me and Joshua C. Mellor since we left England. The voyage after we left Southampton was splendid with the exception of coming through the Bay of Biscay, where we had it very rough. I came through with only one day's sickness, and Joss was the same. We arrived at Cape Town and disembarked on the 16th of March. We camped on Green Point Common about four days, and then we got orders to go up country. We had about two days and nights' railway travelling. On our way up country at Worcester, about 80 miles from Cape Town, we had a rather pleasant surprise. Aaron R. Wood, late of Marsden, came into the station and had a good long talk with us. He treat us with quite a luxury — six quart bottles of Bass's ale, which is 1s. 6d. a bottle. We encamped at Naauwpoort for three days, and then we had another day's ride to Norvals Pont, and have camped here three days. We have received orders to march up country to-morrow on our way to Bloemfontein. We are beginning to feel what active service is like. What with being called up at 12 mid-night to do a six hours' fatigue and long marches we shall soon know all about it. The Boers have blown up a fine bridge about half a mile from where we encamped, a 10-spanned one, 440 yards long. Three spans of it are completely wrecked. We have had to go on fatigue, pulling trucks over a temporary bridge, with food, &c., for "Tommy" at the front. The engineers are a fine body of men, and soon put up a pontoon bridge for walking over and a temporary bridge for the railway. We have had a good few baths in the Orange River, but the current is too strong in the centre for those who are not strong swimmers. You can bet I kept near the edge to be on the safe side. The country as far as we have seen is very barren, but the further we go the better it gets for pasturage, &c. As we advance the water gets worse. We are drinking water now that is the colour of clay, but it is supposed to be some of the best in South Africa. Boer farmers come into our camp every morning hawking bread at 1s. a loaf, and milk at 6d. a pint, but their stock disappears miraculously, and they get their temper out. They are rather slow. We can beat them at most things except eating and sleeping. We make our march through the Free State in the morning. Give my best respects to all my friends and mates, so good-bye, old chum, till we meet again, from your old friend,

G.W. Ward.
Norvals Pont.
Orange River,
March 29th

By the bye, we have met a Marsden man at Naauwpoort, Fred Holroyd, from Cat Holes, who is a Section D man. He is going up country with us, and often visits out tent.

Joshua Charlesworth Mellor contracted typhoid fever and died at Bloemfontein, South Africa, on 22 June 1900.

A memorial service was held at St. Bartholomew, Marsden, on Sunday 15 July 1900.[2] According to the Huddersfield Daily Chronicle, the "tastefully executed funeral card" read:

There sin and sorrow cease
And every conflict's o'er;
There we shall dwell in endless peace
Nor thirst nor hunger more.

He is commemorated on the Boer War Memorial at Marsden, which was unveiled in 1904.


Notes and References

  1. Published in the article "Marsden Men at the Front" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (05/May/1900).
  2. "In Memoriam" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Jul/1900).