Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 6, 1897
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinAlfred Mellish (father), 2033 Charles Street, Vancouver, British Columbia
Trade / CallingWindow Shade Manufacturer
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number338841
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion55th Battery, 13th Brigade
ForceCanadian Expeditionary Force
BranchCanadian Field Artillery
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentVancouver, British Columbia
Address at Enlistment2033 Charles Street, Vancouver, British Columbia
Date of EnlistmentApril 25, 1916
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathSeptember 15, 1959
Age at Death62
Buried AtForest Lawn Memorial Park, Burnaby, BC

Mellish, George Robert

Gunner George Robert Mellish enlisted in Vancouver in the spring of 1916. He served with artillery units for three years in Canada, Great Britain and France and returned to Canada in June 1919.

George was the oldest son of Alfred Mellish and Rosa Derry of Vancouver, British Columbia. Alfred was born and raised in Galt, Waterloo County, Ontario and he was a tinsmith and metalworker. Rosa was born in Massachusetts and moved to Canada with her family around 1877, when she was six years old. They settled in the town of Rat Portage in northwestern Ontario where her father worked for the railway. Alfred and Rosa were married in Rat Portage in November 1888 and George was the third of their nine children, all born in Rat Portage (later called Kenora): Delia Louise (1891), Beatrice (1895), George Robert (6 February 1897), Emily (1899), Charlotte (1901), Charles Alfred (1903), Frederick (1905), Edith (1908) and Alberta (1910). Alberta was born in July 1910 and by the following spring, when the 1911 census was taken, the family had moved to Vancouver.

The war started in August 1914 and George enlisted in Vancouver on 25 April 1916, signing up with the 68th Overseas Depot Battery. On 15 May he was transferred to the 62nd Battery, which was in the 15th Brigade, Canadian Field Artillery. He trained with his unit over the summer and they headed overseas that fall, embarking from Halifax on the SS Cameronia on 13 September and arriving in Liverpool about nine days later. On 22 January 1917 George was transferred to the 51st Battery then, two months later, to the Trench Mortar Battery of the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery. He was sent to France in August and in September he took a mortar course at 1st Army School. On 2 October he was assigned to the 5th Canadian Divisional Trench Mortar Battery and he served with them for the next five months. In October and November the Canadians took part in the Battle of Passchendaele.

On 2 March 1918 George was accidentally injured, suffering gun cotton burns to his face. He was taken to a casualty clearing station then moved by ambulance train to No. 7 Canadian General Hospital in √Čtaples, where he was admitted on 9 March. He recovered in the hospital and at two convalescent depots and in early April he was given leave. He rejoined his unit in the field on 16 April and served with them for another seven months. On 16 November, just a few days after the Armistice, he was transferred to the 55th Battery, 13th Brigade. He spent another six months in Belgium and France, returning to England with his unit in May 1919. The battery embarked for Canada on 11 June on the SS Scotian and arrived in Quebec eleven days later. George was discharged on demobilization on 28 June in Toronto. His brother Charles Alfred had enlisted underage when he was just 14 years old and he served in Canada for ten months.

When the 1921 census was taken George was 24 years old and living with his parents at 937 Hornby Street in Vancouver. All of his siblings were at home except his oldest sister Delia, who was living in Kenora with her husband Harry Holden. George married Lena Cecilia Casher on 1 September 1928 in Vancouver. Various records over the years listed him as a window shade manufacturer, draper, interior decorator and upholsterer. He passed away in Shaughnessy Veterans Hospital on 15 September 1959, at age 62, and he’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Burnaby. He was divorced by the time he died and he was predeceased by his mother (1926), his father (1947), his brother Frederick (1947), and his sisters Mrs Beatrice Beal (1924) and Mrs. Delia Holden (1957). Delia is buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora. Their uncle Willard John Derry of Kenora was also a veteran of the First World War.

By Becky Johnson

Mellish-George-Robert-1 Mellish-George-Robert-2

Obituary and grave marker photo courtesy of Mike Melen.

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