We received an excellent note from the son of Fusilier Harold Mellor, who served with the 6th and 2nd Inniskillings in Italy and Austria.
In his note to us, Stephen Mellor told us:
“ My father died in 2000 and three years ago I commenced research into my father’s war experiences in order to better understand what he went through and document them for the other members of our family. I visited Monte Cassino in 2018 and had a very rewarding and emotional experience. I hope to visit the regimental museum in Enniskillen next year (all being well). Your excellent website has been a fantastic resource and even three years on I am still discovering fresh and enlightening material. Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication.
Harold was from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent. He enlisted in June 1940 aged 24 and spent his first period of active duty with the fire service, helping to fight the blitz fires. By his own account, as I recall, he was at Coventry during the large air raid in November 1940, amongst other places. In January 1943, he began his infantry training and was then formally transferred to the 2nd battalion Royal Fusiliers. Harold was posted to North Africa to join 8th Army on 15th July 1943 and transferred to the 6th battalion of the Inniskillings on 7th September when they were resting in Sicily. He stayed with the 6th, later amalgamated with the 2nd, until 2nd April 1945, when he was transferred to the 2nd London Irish Rifles and stayed with them until February 1946. He finally left the Army in May 1946.
My Dad was wounded and withdrawn from the line twice. The first time, on 14th April 1944, on the Phantom Ridge positions, from mortar fire, meant that he missed the battalion’s activities during Operation Diadem. The second occasion was on 23rd June 1944, on Pucciarelli Ridge, during the fighting near Lake Trasimene, and he suffered his wounds as a result of artillery and mortar fire. According to his war records, he returned to the battalion on 7th July.
I don’t seem to have any photos of him during his war service myself, but I have asked my sister if she has any, so if we find any, I will let you know (now added above). We do have a piece of shrapnel in a container that was extracted from him during surgery. We will also see if we have anything else. In the meantime, I attach three photos that I took at Monte Cassino two years ago:
Nec Aspera Terrent