A First War South African Officer's Medal Pair
A First War South African Officer's Medal Pair - British War Medal (2/LT. C. MELLISH.); and Victory Medal (2/LT. C. MELLISH.). Naming is officially impressed, VM is the SA bilingual issue. Court mounted, cleaned, light contact, extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Attestation Paper, Service Records and Provisional Release Certificate (Officer). Footnote: Cecil Mellish was born in 1892 in Cape Town, South Africa, the son of Mrs. J.P. Mellish of Cape Town. He was educated at the South African College in Cape Town and before the war, was employed as a Bank Clerk with the African Banking Corporation. Mellish served with the Cape Field Artillery in South Africa from August 7, 1914 to July 20, 1915. The Cape Field Artillery was mobilized on August 7, 1914 and moved into Wynberg Camp for training. In October, they moved by road to Simonstown to hand in their old non-recoiling 15-pounders and marched back to Wynberg with four new 15-pounder breach-loading converted guns. They left Wynbery in late October as the 6th Citizen Battery, Cape Field Artillery, "consisting of 90 Europeans and 50 coloured drivers" and entrained at Wynberg station, joined by de Villiers (Saddler), Johnson (Farrier) and Mellish (Transport Sergeant), arriving at Booysens Camp outside of Johannesburg on October 30. Three days later, they arrived at Pretoria station where they detrained on November 2nd. They passed through Virginia on November 10th and hearing the sound of skirmishing between government and rebel commandos, they manhandled their guns off the train at Theunissen at about 1600 hours. The next morning, they moved towards Mushroom Valley and took up positions about 0730 hours. General Botha and a staff officer arrived shortly thereafter and with rebel men and horses stirring in the valley, he gave the order "Skiet" (Fire). The rebels immediately dispersed and rode quickly away, the General visibly relieved and leaving the battlefield. The battery left Mushroom Valley on November 15th and arrived in Bloemfontein by rail on the 18th. A few days later, the Battery crossed the Orange River and camped at Upington, 70 miles east of the border with German South West Africa (modern day Namibia). The rebels, supported by German artillery attacked Upington on January 21, 1915, in the first direct attack on South African soil in World War I. After the battle, an officer in the 20th Mounted Rifles wrote: "All this time the guns of the C.F.A. were splendidly served, and really they won the battle for us." The Cape Field Artillery had fired 360 rounds, killing 60 and capturing 136 of the rebels, leaving them thoroughly shaken. Van Deventer began his northward advance from Kakamas on March 14, 1915, with the Cape Field Artillery as artillery support, but in late March, the Cape Garrison Artillery relieved the CFA, with the CFA going home for a well deserved rest. They returned to the theatre of operations in May, crossed the Orange River by rail and took over for the CGA, who had earlier replaced them. The CFA was too late to take part in the decisive clash at Gibeon, SWA and reached the German capital on July 5th, only to find that the South West African campaign was virtually over. The Battery made a slow, three day rail trip to Luderitz, where they embarked on the City of Athens for Cape Town. A fair nucleus of Cape Field Artillery men stayed with the brigade, among those who became officers was Lieutenant Cecil Mellish. He enlisted in the Union Imperial Service Contingent as a Gunner, signing his Attestation Paper with the South African Field Artillery, South African Expeditionary Force on August 23, 1915 at Cape Town, at the age of 22 years and 8 months, "For (the) Period of (the) German War and Six Months After if Required", stating that he signed with the SAFA as his Battery of the Cape Field Artillery had been demobilization and that he was not married. He was taken on strength the next day. He embarked aboard the Armadale Castle for the East African theatre on January 10, 1916, was named Bombardier SAFA on July 1st and posted to the 3rd Battery on July 26th. Mellish was hospitalized with diarrhea at C120 Field Ambulance at Musha River, then transferred to No. 52 Casualty Clearing Station at Morogoro, German East Africa (modern day Tanzania) with Malaria and hospitalized from September 30 to October 9, 1916. He was named Acting Corporal SAFA on December 1st and returned to South Africa in March 1917 aboard the H.M.H.S. Guildford Castle, disembarking at Cape Town on March 23, 1917. Upon Arrival at Cape Town, he was hospitalized from March 23 to April 6 at No. 2 General Hospital in Maitland, again with Malaria. Upon his release from hospital, he was granted recuperation leave from April 9 to June 8, 1917. Fully recovered from his encounters with the dreaded Malaria, Mellish was taken on strength at the General Depot and commissioned from the ranks on June 13, 1917. Four weeks later, he embarked Durban aboard the H.M.T. Eastern for Egypt on July 8, 1917, disembarking at Port Said on July 26th. The following month, he was transferred from the South African Field Artillery and posted to the 75th Divisional Ammunition Column on August 28th. Mellish was named Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on June 13, 1917 (London Gazette, April 17, 1919), where he was to spend the next year, before being posted to 'B' Battery, 1st Brigade SAFA on July 23, 1918 and held supernumerary, then returning to the 75th Divisional Ammunition Column on August 8th. Mellish was attained the rank of Lieutenant on December 13, 1918 (London Gazette, April 17, 1919). He was hospitalized once again, this time for "Cellulitis" (localized or diffuse inflammation of connective tissue with severe inflammation of dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin) of the right tibia (lower leg) from January 18 to February 23, 1919, after which he rejoined his unit. With the war having ended and his war service having come to an end, he embarked Egypt aboard H.M.T. Yaroslavl for South Africa on April 29, 1919, disembarking at Durban on May 20th. He was posted to the General Depot, where he was issued his Provisional Release Certificate (Officer), demobilizing and releasing him from service on June 2, 1919. Mellish relinquished his temporary Imperial commission on ceasing to be employed with the Union Imperial Service Contingent and retained the rank of Lieutenant (London Gazette, April 22, 1920). He stated that address in civilian life would be Westfield, Schoonder Street, Gardens, Cape Town.