Philip Mellor

PHILIP MILLER (MELLOR) (1891 - 1916)

Two spelling errors on our war memorial meant it was particularly difficult to uncover Philip's stories. His name is given on the memorial as "Phillip Mellor", however, the parishioner who died in WWI is "Philip Miller".

Philip, named after his father's brother, was the first child of teenagers Alfred, a silk weaver, and Elizabeth (nee O'Brien), a silk winder. Their baby son was born on Tuesday 6th January 1891. Some weeks later, on 15th February, Philip was baptised at St Alban's. The young couple perhaps did not have a permanent home when Philip was born since the 1891 census tells us Elizabeth and her three-month-old son were staying in Widnes with her uncle, John Mitchell, and his wife, Sarah. At the same time, Alfred was living with his parents, Lavinia and Jabez Miller, at 26-28 Watercotes in Macclesfield.

By 1901, Philip's father was on active service in South Africa with the 4th Cheshire (Cheshire and Derbyshire) RVC. The ten-year-old Philip was a student at our parish school and was living at Court 3, House 8, Watercotes, close to where his father had grown up. Philip now had two sisters, Mary Ann (aged 8) and baby Elizabeth (aged 1) as well as two brothers, James (age 6) and Thomas (age 4). With Philip's father away, his mother had help from her mother, Mary O'Brien, originally from Ireland, who lived with the family.

On leaving school, Philip worked at Lower Heyes Mill on Black Lane. However, he did not stay here for long since, at the age of sixteen, Philip moved from serving with the 5th (volunteer) Cheshire Regiment to enlisting with the 4th Cheshire Regiment. Less than a year later, he transferred to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

Service records show Philip was a short man, measuring five feet three and a half inches, and weighing just over seven and half stone. He quickly established himself as a good footballer and became a member of the Regimental football squad. Back home, Philip now had a new sister, Lavinia (born 1904) and brother, Alfred (born 1905). Following the death of his mother, on Thursday 16th May 1912, the Miller family moved to 1 Buke Street, off Mills Croft, in Macclesfield.

Philip was about to transfer to the reserve forces when war broke out. He landed with the King's Shropshire Light Infantry at Saint-Nazaire, in Brittany, on 10th September 1914, as part of the British Expeditionary Force. With his battalion, Philip headed for service on the Western Front and we know that he took part in heavy fighting around Ypres. It was when serving here that Philip caught bronchitis; he was eventually was sent home in 1915 to recuperate. Once he had recovered, the now Lance-Corporal Miller, returned to his Regiment on the Western Front.

In June 1916, Philip was allowed home for furlough. A few weeks after his return to France, Philip sustained wounds when he was attached to a trench mortar battery. He was transferred to a medical unit, the XIV Corps Main Dressing Station (a concentration of field ambulances), but died of his wounds on Tuesday 12th July.

Philip is buried in the Dive Copse British Cemetery, in the village of Sailly-le-Sac, within the Department of the Somme. Following the instructions of his father, Philip's headstone has a simple cross and bears no inscription.

News of Philip's death came at a very difficult time for the Miller family. His nineteen-year-old brother, James, had been discharged from the army less than three month's service. His father, Alfred, serving with the North Staffordshire Regiment in France, had been missing shortly after arriving in France. When Philip died, Alfred had been missing for nearly seven weeks. We do not know the circumstances but Alfred, like his son James, did survive the war.

The Army Register of Soldier's Effects show that the £11 owed to Philip for his service was, at his bequest, split evenly between his brother, Thomas, and sister, Mary Ann.


If you would like to share any information you have about someone named on our memorial, please email Ann,

This website honours the WWI casualities of St Alban's Catholic Church, Chester Road, Macclesfield

StAlban's WWII war dead