Great Dunmow




The Great Dunmow War Memorial was unveiled on 17th July 1921.


The parish of Great Dunmow is justifiably proud of their past vicar who is described as a modest and self-effacing war hero. Reverend Noel Mellish VC was appointed Vicar of Great Dunmow in 1928, serving until 1948 when he retired to Somerset. He died in July 1962 aged 82.

Reverend Noel Mellish was already a Curate in the parish of St Paul’s Deptford when Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. He volunteered to enlist several times to serve as a soldier-priest but could not be released from parish duties. Finally, he succeeded in receiving an official commission as Chaplain of Forces with the honorary rank of captain and left for France on 5 May 1915.

On 27 March 1916 he was in Ypres Salient when the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers attacked St Eloi. The battalion was repulsed, suffering heavy casualties. During heavy fighting on three consecutive days he repeatedly went to and fro under continuous heavy shelling into enemy lines to tend and rescue wounded men. The ground was swept by machine-gun fire and three were killed while he was dressing their wounds. Reverend Edward Noel Mellish, was awarded the Victoria Cross for ‘most conspicuous bravery’ on 20 April 1916 by His Majesty the King.

The full story of this remarkable man is told in: For Valour, The story of Reverend Noel Mellish, VC,MC, Vicar of Great Dunmow 1928-1948 : Ken Dury, 2008, Great Dunmow Historical & Literary Society.

The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’ to members of the armed forces of Britain and the Commonwealth. It takes precedence over all other medals and may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service or any civilian under military command. It is presented by the British monarch during an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

On the Home Front

The Dunmow District Emergency Committee was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant of the County to co-ordinate local activities. It consisted of W de Vins Wade Chairman, A P Humphry, MVO, Major Davey, Military Representative, E T Foakes, William Hasler, C H M Thring, J Hugh Matthews.

In the case of Evacuation, movement should be westward along small roads and lanes. Military Roads were to be avoided, except in emergency. All should pass North of Ware, Hertfordshire towards Oxford. Local members of the District Emergency Committee were: R Stacey, J. Gibbons, and C J M Welch. ‘Food and lodging should be provided by residents for people arriving from other districts who after two days march would have exhausted their provisions.’

Cattle Movement was from Bigods Lane and Green Lane: Military road to Little Easton, Easton Lodge Park, Molehill Green, Stansted Hall, cross Military road, Farnham and Albury.