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Full Name
Charles William Melvill
Rank Last Held
Major General
Charles William
  • South African War, 1899-1902
  • World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.
  • unknown
  • 15/35
Date of Birth
5 September 1878
Place of Birth
Bournemouth, England
First Known Rank
  • Second Lieutenant
  • Captain
Occupation before Enlistment
Regular soldier
Enlistment Date
  • 1897
  • 10 November 1915
Age on Enlistment
  • unknown
  • 37
Embarkation Unit
  • South Lancashire Regiment
  • South Lancashire Regiment
Other Units
  • New Zealand Rifle Brigade, Egypt
  • 4 New Zealand Rifle Brigade
  • 1 New Zealand Infantry Brigade
  • South Africa
  • France
  • Gallipoli
Military Awards
  • Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)
  • Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
  • Queen's South Africa Medal
  • 1914 Star (5 Aug-22 Nov 1914 clasp)
  • British War Medal (1914-1920)
  • Victory Medal
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) Four Times
  • Order de la Couronne (Officer) (Belgium)
  • Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
Award Circumstances
  • CB citation: "For exceptionally good leadership on the 5th of April, 1918, at La Signy Farm in the Colincamps Sector, when, on his own initiative, he carried out with his Brigade a most successful attack, thereby securing all the high ground overlooking the British lines. This attack secured our defensive positions, and reduced casualties to a minimum during the following months. Throughout the Autumn Advance he handled his Brigade with great judgment and skill." (London Gazette, 3 June 1919, p6790, Rec No 3401)
  • CMG citation: "This Officer commanded his Brigade, 1st N.Z. Infantry Brigade, at the taking of Gravenstafel Ridge, 4th October 1917. His work as a commander has been very good, and is well deserving of recognition." (London Gazette, 3 June 1918, p6454, Rec No 1939)
  • DSO citation: "For conspicuous ability and good work since the arrival of the Division in France in April. When the trenches around Armentieres, he organised and planned a very successful raid against the German trenches. His Battalion at all times has shown great keenness in their work and the credit of this is due to a large extent to his own example. During the advance and capture of Flers on the 13th September, Colonel Melvill again showed conspicuous ability and considerable military knowledge. After his Battalion had captured their objective and seeing the Battalion ahead of him held up, he at once sent forward a Company to assist and so enabled the trench to be captured. Throughout the operations he had a thorough grasp of the situation, and used his command with skill and judgement, sending up reinforcements at the critical moment." (London Gazette, 1 January 1917, p29, Rec No 358)
  • 1st m.i.d. citation: London Gazette, 4 January 1917, p262
  • 2nd m.i.d. citation: London Gazette, 28 May 1918, p6204, Rec No 2769
  • 3rd m.i.d. citation: London Gazette, 31 December 1918, p15230, Rec No 2769
  • 4th m.i.d. citation: London Gazette, 11 July 1919, p8836
  • 4th m.i.d. citation amended: London Gazette, 12 January 1920, p531
  • Croix de Guerre (Belgium) citation: "For distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign." (London Gazette, 11 March 1918, p3097)
  • Order de la Couronne (Officer) (Belgium) citation: "For personal gallantry in leading his Battalion in thet attack on Messines on June 7th 1917. His battalion fought their way through and cleared the greater part of the Village with great success under his personal Command." (London Gazette, 24 September 1918, p9862, Rec No 1018)
Discharge Date
21 October 1919
Last Unit Served
Headquarters, New Zealand Forces
Reason for Discharge
Transferred to Reserve Forces
Place of Death
Wellington, New Zealand
Date of Death
15 September 1925
Age at Death
Year of Death
Cause of Death
Cemetery Name
Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand
Biographical Notes
  • Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with South Lancashire Regiment in 1897
  • Served in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902)
  • Captain and Adjutant in 1906
  • Went to France with South Lancashire Regiment in 1914
  • Wounded in France, 1914
  • Promoted to Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the New Zealand Forces, 1924-25
Description of Image
  • Portrait, Lt.-Col. (Major-General) C.W. Melvill, photo originally published in Austin, W. (1924) p. 208-209
  • Headstone, Karori Cemetery (photo P Baker 2005)
  • Karori Cemetery, view Wellington (photo P. Baker, 2005).
Additional Information
A Private Herbert Dooley of the NZEF Main Body was assigned the same serial number, 15/35, as Melvill. This was most likely a clerical error as Melvill did not enlist in New Zealand.
Archives NZ source
Military personnel file
Further References
Sources Used
  • Taylor, A. (1998). The New Zealand roll of honour : New Zealanders who have served their country in peace and war : 150 years, 1845-1995. Auckland, Roll of Honour Publications.
  • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (compilers). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, The Authors.
  • McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. Napier, N.Z.: Helen McDonald.
  • Austin, W. (1924). The official history of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (The Earl of Liverpool's Own). Wellington, L T Watkins. Digital copy URL:
  • Papers Past USE pp tab
Previous Military Experience
Attached to New Zealand Forces, 1911-12

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