Personal info

  • Name: Charles MELVIN
  • D.O.B: 2nd May, 1885
  • D.O.A: 21st Apr, 1917
  • D.O.D: 17th Jul, 1941
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Private, 2nd Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 2
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Istabulat, Mesopotamia 21 April 1917

21 April 1917

More details about:
The First World War Mesopotamia 1915-1918 

After the British capture of Baghdad on 11 March 1917, the Expeditionary Force pressed north up the Rivers Tigris and Diyala in pursuit of the Turkish army. On 21 April the British attacked Turkish positions at Istabulat on the Tigris (and also on the Baghdad to Samarrah railway) about sixty miles north of Baghdad.


 For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and resource in action. Pte. Melvin’s company had advanced to within fifty yards of the front-line trench of a redoubt, where, owing to the intensity of the enemy’s fire, the men were obliged to lie down and wait for reinforcements. Pte. Melvin, however, rushed on by himself, over ground swept from end to end by rifle and machine-gun fire. On reaching the enemy trench, he halted and fired two or three shots into it, killing one or two enemy, but as the others in the trench continued to fire at him, he jumped into it, and attacked them with his bayonet in his hand, as, owing to his rifle being damaged, it was not “fixed.” On being attacked in this resolute manner most of the enemy fled to their second line, but not before Pte. Melvin had killed two more and succeeded in disarming eight unwounded and one wounded. Pte. Melvin bound up the wounds of the wounded man, and then driving his eight unwounded prisoners before him, and supporting the wounded one, he hustled them out of the trench, marched them in and delivered them over to an officer. He then provided himself with a load of ammuniton and returned to the firing line where he reported himself to his platoon serjeant. All this was done, not only under intense rifle and machine-gun fire, but the whole way back Pte. Melvin and his party were exposed to a very heavy artillery barrage fire. Throughout the day Pte. Melvin greatly inspired those near him with confidence and courage. 

Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 23 November 1917. 26 November 1917, Numb. 30400, pp. 12330-1

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