Colonel Lewis Salisbury Mellor commanded the 1st Battalion Liverpool Regiment with distinction during the Siege of Ladysmith and for these services he was twice mentioned in despatches (London Gazettes 8 February and 10 September 1901).
The 1st Battalion, Liverpool Regiment was in Natal at the outbreak of the war as part of the force commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir George White. Their first action was at Rietfontein on 24 October 1899 when White attacked the Boers at Rietfontein in order to stop the Boers falling on General Yule’s column which was retreating from Dundee to Ladysmith. In the attack, which forced the successful withdraw of the Boers, the Gloucesters were on the left with the Liverpools, under Colonel Mellor, on the right and the Devons in support. On 30 October the Liverpools were in the thick of the action at Nicholson’s Nek (also known as Farquhar’s Farm or Lombard’s Nek). They were part of the main attacking force of four infantry regiments under Colonel Grimwood but, in a day of catastrophes, the force got separated from their artillery. The Brigade was heavily attacked and was eventually forced to withdraw. For the duration of the siege of Ladysmith, the Liverpools held part of the northern sector of the town which was relatively short but highly exposed, covering the north-eastern arc of the perimeter from Helpmekaar Ridge to Junction Hill. They suffered with the rest of the garrison from the effects of shelling, disease and the deprivations of famine. H. W. Nevinson (Ladysmith – Diary of a Siege) records one particular bombardment on 24 November 1899:
‘I had been sitting with Colonel Mellor and the other officers of the Liverpools, who live among the rocks close to my cottage, and they had been congratulating themselves on only losing two men by shell and one by enteric since Black Monday, when they helped to cover the retirement with such gallantry and composure. I had scarcely mounted to ride back, when “Puffing Billy” and other guns threw shells right into the midst of men and rocks and horses. One private fell dead on the spot. Three were mortally wounded. One rolled over and over down the rocks. Several others were badly hurt, and the bombardment became general all over our end of town.’
During the siege the Liverpools lost seven men killed and one officer and 31 men died of disease.
In the early days, the Boers made occasional attacks and on 30 November the pickets of the Liverpools and Gloucesters checked a Boer sally. Stirling records that ‘On the night of the 7th December Colonel Mellor and three companies of the Liverpools seized Limit Hill and through the gap thus created a squadron of the 19th Hussars penetrated some four miles to the north, destroying the enemy’s telegraph line and burning various shelters etc.’ (British Regiments in South Africa). During the great Boer attacks on Waggon Hill and Caesar’s Camp on 6 January 1900 the Liverpools were also under rifle and shell fire and repulsed an attack by 80 Boers. Despite all the deprivations of the siege the Liverpools remained an effective though dissipated fighting force and at the end, ‘On 1st March 1900, the day of the relief, the 1st Liverpools and other troops, now emaciated and worn to absolute weakness, crawled some five miles north of Ladysmith to harass the enemy in their retreat, and did effect some good work in that way’ (Stirling).
Colonel Mellor was born in 1853 and educated at Haileybury College. He entered the Liverpool Regiment in 1873 and, as a Lieutenant, fought in the second Afghan War including the action of 28 November 1878 and the battle and capture of Peiwar Kotal. On taking up command of the 1st Battalion in February 1899 he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and was advanced to Colonel in May 1902. He did not serve in the Boer War beyond the siege of Ladysmith. During the First World War he commanded a Reserve Battalion of his old regiment.
This ties in with the Helvetia DCM group on display at the Museum
Michael John Carney enlisted in the Liverpool Rgt on 10 October 1895 at the age of 18 years and 3 months.
He won his DCM with that of Johnson in the Helvetia attack.
No recommendation was gazetted, but Rudolph provides the relevant details.
Carney died tragically in Sept 1909 suffering from paralysis of both lower sides of the body.
IGS 1854 (1) Burma 1885-7 (Lieut. L. St. C. Nicholson. 2/L’pool R.);
Sudan (Cpt. L. St. C. Nicholson. 4/Bn. E.A.);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1902 (Major L. St. C. Nicholson, L’pool Rgt:);
1914-15 Star (Lt: Col: L. St. C. Nicholson. L’pool R.);
British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Lt. Col. L. St. C. Nicholson.);
Delhi Durbar 1911, silver, unnamed as issued;
Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 2 clasps, Firket, Hafir, unnamed as issued
Louis St. Clair Nicholson was born in 1862, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Nicholson, who commanded the 15th Foot, and had seen active service during the Indian Mutiny. He was commissioned Lieutenant in the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment on 22 October 1881, and was posted to the 1st Battalion. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion in 1887, and served with them during the Third Anglo-Burmese War. Promoted Captain on 1 April 1889, he was seconded to the Egyptian Army, and served in the Dongola Expedition of 1896, being Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 3 November 1896), and in the Nile Expedition of 1897.
Promoted Major on 17 February 1900, Nicholson served with the 1st Battalion in South Africa during the Boer War from February to May 1902. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion as Second in Command on 17 February 1904, and was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel on 17 February 1908.
Having transferred to the Reserve of Officers, Nicholson was recalled to the Colours on 6 September 1914, following the outbreak of the Great War, and served as Commanding Officer of the 12th Battalion, Liverpool Regiment during the Great War on the Western Front from 24 July 1915 until March 1916. For his services during the Great War he was Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 1 January 1916). He final appointment, from January 1917, was with the 10th Battalion, Training Reserve.
QSA (1) Defence of Ladysmith (4615 Pte. G. Mitchell, Liverpool Regt.)
George Mitchell was born in Liverpool in 1875 and attested for the Liverpool Regiment on 21 August 1894, having previously served with the 4th (Militia) Battalion, Liverpool Regiment. He served with the Regiment in South Africa from 12 November 1897, being invalided home on 17 August 1900.
He was discharged ‘medically unfit’ on 25 January 1902, after 7 years and 158 days’ service.
Previously, whilst stationed at the Curragh, he was Post Orderly for HRH the Duke of Connaught, Commander of the Forces in Ireland.