Norman Melluish (1917-1921) and Keith Melluish (1915-1920)

 

Amidst the dark days of the winter lockdown a small package arrived in the post for the attention of the archive.  With a boyish enthusiasm dating from early Christmas mornings, I opened it up to find two boxes each containing a bronze medal.  They were sent by Christopher Melluish and they had belonged to his father, Norman Melluish who was at Merchant Taylors’ from 1917-1921.

 

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Norman had a distinguished career at Merchant Taylors’, notable for his contribution to the Officers’ Training Corps and school cricket.  He lead No. 3 platoon and oversaw its victory in the Thomas White Shield in 1920 and 1921.  The Taylorian tells of a highly impressive Inspection Day on July 21st, 1921 where the inspecting officer was Col. J.E. Turner.  It would appear that Norman Melluish’s No. 3 platoon distinguished themselves in a recreation of a fight against a mock German machine gun post.  It’s hard to do justice to the description of the action, with rattles being used to simulate machine gun fire, the attack being launched via the school steps and the angle of the Chapel Wall.  Eventually, after “gallantry on both sides” the post was rushed and captured” and the Taylorian goes on to praise the “ingenious system of casualties, so that the ground was dotted with excellent corpses.”  Following the display, Norman Melluish went up to collect the Sir Thomas White Shield and, presumably, the second of the two medals presented to the school this year by his son.

The Thomas White Shield was presented to the school by the Sir Thomas White Lodge in 1902 and was originally presented to the best Army section in the OTC.  It was originally displayed in the Great Hall at Charterhouse Square.  The shield depicts a raised figure of Victory, holding laurel wreaths in outstretched hands.  Three medallions represent men shooting at Bisley, the dogs of war let loose and the gentle occupations of peace. It was recently restored to its original magnificence and is mounted in the Sir Geoffrey Holland Room, which used to be the Master’s Recreation room situated adjacent to the entrance to the Dining Hall.