Philip Frederick Mallett

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Captain Philip Frederick Mallett, MC and bar


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Jerseyman Philip Frederick Mallett was awarded the Military Cross twice, in 1917 and 1918, and died, the day after the war ended, from his wounds received during the incident which led to the second award


British soldiers cross the Aisne over a damaged bridge on the day before Sergeant Philip Mallett was first wounded
Career soldier Philip Frederick H Mallet served throughout the Great War with distinction and died of wounds received a few days earlier on the day after the Armistice ended the conflict. He was twice awarded the Military Cross.

Family

The son of tailor Philip John Mallet and Emma, a dressmaker, Philip was born in St Helier in 1885 and went to Halkett Place Primary School and was a member of St Mark’s Company of the Boys Brigade.

Following a brief period working as a grocer’s assistant after leaving school, he joined the Gloucester Regiment, and had been promoted to Sergeant by the outbreak of war. He married his wife Elizabeth, probably in England, and they had a daughter Doris, born in 1911, when the couple were living in Bristol.

Philip Mallet’s gravestone in St Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen shows his name as Philip F H Mallett, but the 1891 Jersey Census shows the family name spelt Mallett, with an extra ‘t’ crossed out by the enumerator. We have been unable to find any birth or baptism record for Philip, and do not know what the H in his forenames stood for. If he was baptised, it was not in a Church of England church.

He had a sister Alice, probably named after their aunt, Alice Anne Mallet (1862- ). Their father, born a year earlier, also had a younger brother John de Veulle Mallet (1864- ) and sister Emelia Esther (1867- ) They were all children of Philippe Mallet, a merchant, and Esther Elizabeth de Veulle, daughter of Aaron. This Philippe was the son of another Philippe, but we have been unable to trace the family line any further back.

Not long after he arrived in France as a member of the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment he was wounded at Mons on 14 September 1914 and transferred to the General Field Hospital in Brighton. He was soon back in action and in late 1917 was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry at Paeschendaele.

Regiment’s war

1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment were at Bordon serving with 3rd Brigade, 1st Division when war was declared in August 1914. They proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre on 13 August 1914 and fought on the Western Front throughout the war, taking part in most of the major actions. In 1914 they were involved in The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, the First Battle of Ypres and the Winter Operations of 1914-15. In 1915 they were in action during The Battle of Aubers and The Battle of Loos. In 1916 they were in action in the Battles of the Somme. In 1917 they saw action in The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Third Battle of Ypres. In 1918 the Battles of the Lys, the Second Battles of Arras, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of the Selle and The Battle of the Sambre, in which the Division fought the Passage of the Sambre-Oise Canal.

Evening Post reports

His war service was chronicled by these reports in the ‘’Evening Post’’, which are reproduced in the website of the Channel Islands Great War Study Group

23 September 1914 - Another Jerseyman Wounded

’Mrs Mallett, of 12 Windsor Road, last evening received a postcard from her son, Sergeant P Mallett of the 1st Gloucestershire Regiment, stating that he had arrived at the 2nd Eastern General Field Hospital in Brighton, having sustained a wound on the thigh in the big battle of 14 September. Sergeant Mallett, who is an old St Mark’s Brigade boy has many friends in the island who will regret to hear of his misfortune, they will however be pleased to learn that he hopes to soon be right again and be able to rejoin his regiment.’

This was the Battle of the Aisne, during which Sgt Mallett’s regiment sustained heavy casualties.

Gloucestershire Regiment soldiers at Passchendaele in 1917, when Captain Mallett won his first Military Cross

14 December 1917 - Another Jersey Officer Awarded the Military Cross

Nothing more is heard of Sergeant Mallett until the end of 1917, when news comes through of his award of the Military Cross. By this time he has been promoted to Lieutenant for his services in action, and then to Acting Captain.

’Our hearty congratulations to Captain P Mallett of the Gloucester Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs P J Mallett of 12 Windsor Road, who has been awarded the Military Cross for gallantry at Passchendaele. This gallant Jerseyman enlisted some years before the outbreak of war and as a Sergeant went out with his Regiment as part of French's "contemptible little army". He was shortly afterwards promoted Company Sergeant Major and later, for services in the field, was given a commission. In January of this year he was gazetted Captain and has now been awarded the above named decoration for bravery.’

19 January 1918 - For Gallantry

'A special supplement of the London Gazette issued for publication this morning states that His Majesty the King has been pleased to confer the Military Cross on 2nd Lieutenant (acting Captain) Philip Mallett of the Gloucester Regiment. We announced some time ago that this Jerseyman had been awarded this distinction.'

30 April 1918 - How the Military Cross was Won

'A special supplement of the London Gazette gave this statement of how the Military Cross was won by 2nd Lieutenant (acting Captain) Philip Mallett of the Gloucester Regiment. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when detached about a mile and a half from Battalion Headquarters, he succeeded in filling up a gap of some 900 yards between the two attacking battalions. When, during the relief, the guides went astray, he personally led each platoon of the relieving company up to its position under trying conditions of weather and shell fire and brought his company out successfully.'

=14 October 1918 - Letter home

Captain Mallett was was wounded again in September 1918, but appeared to be recovering in hospital and wrote without mentioning this to the Evening Post

'Captain Philip Mallett, who is an Old Boy of St Marks Boys Brigade and a good correspondent, writes that he has had a very hard time all this year, but in spite of the struggle the men are very keen and willing, but what they think is very hard and not understandable is to hear of the many strikes in England, he says "We have just heard of the great success in our division and I had the honour of capturing a whole German battalion head quarters, not so bad for a young one! The spirit of the troops is great, the only thing against us is the weather". Captain Mallett went out with the Gloucester Regiment in 1914, was wounded at Mons and has been at the Front ever since. He was given his commission for bravery and has been awarded the Military Cross and recommended for a Bar and is now commanding the Company in which he served as Sergeant.'

1 November 1918 - Letter to friend

Less than a fortnight before he died Captain Mallett wrote to a friend in Jersey. It had still not become apparent that he was lying wounded in hospital.

'Captain Philip Mallett of the Gloucester Regiment, writing to a friend in Jersey, states that he has just received Bars to his Military Cross for the actions at Fresnoy and Gricourt, and that he has been commended by the Company Commander, who is an Old Victorian.'

5 November 1918 - Captain P Mallett MC Wounded

'We regret to learn that Captain Philip Mallett of the Gloucester Regiment, who we stated a few days ago had received a Bar to his Military Cross, has been wounded. We trust that the parents, who reside at 12 Windsor Road, will shortly receive better news of this gallant officer, whose wife and family reside in Bristol.'
This was the scene at Route du Fresnoy, Gricourt, after the fighting which won Capt Mallett a bar to his Military Cross, but cost him his life

13 November 1918 - Roll of Honour

'It is with feelings of profound regret that we chronicle the sad fact that Captain Philip Frederick Mallett MC of the Gloucester Regiment, after passing successfully through the campaign in which he had won distinction and advancement in rank, died on the day following the cessation of hostilities of wounds received in action. The deceased soldier was the only son of Mr and Mrs Mallett of 12 Windsor Road and was an old boy of the St Marks Boys Brigade. At the outbreak of war he was a Sergeant in the Gloucester Regiment and formed part of the invincible army which held up the German hordes in ever memorable 1914. For his services in action he was gazetted Lieutenant and proving himself a capable and gallant commander was eventually appointed Captain. In recognition of several acts of gallantry on the Somme he was awarded the Military Cross and a few days ago we announced that for his services in recent engagements he had been awarded a Bar to the Cross. Unfortunately on 6 November he was wounded in the head and was removed to Rouen, where, to the general regret of all who knew and appreciated his sterling character and gallantry, he passed away last evening. The deceased gallant Captain was in his 34th year and in his death England loses a capable officer and Jersey one of her most gallant sons. We tender the widow and daughter, who reside in Bristol, and the parents our heartfelt condolences, regretting that in the hour of victory they are plunged into the deepest sorrow. A memorial service will be held in Victoria Street Congregational Church, with which in his later years Captain Mallett was connected, on Sunday evening in conjunction with a memorial service for Private J W Kingsland.

18 November 1918 - Impressive Memorial Service at Victoria Street Congregational Church

'Yesterday evening a very large congregation gathered for the memorial service of Captain P Mallett MC and Private J W Kingsland. The 8th Company of the Boys Brigade occupied seats on the right of the pulpit, the Girls Brigade occupied seats on the left. The service opened with an introit all singing the hymn For All Thy Saints followed by prayers for the mourners, all in trouble and a solemn committal of the departed to the infinite love and care of the Lord. The hymns God of the Living, A Few More Years Shall Roll and Lead Kindly Light were afterwards sung and prayers of thanksgiving offered and suitable passages from the scriptures read. In his address, referring to Captain Mallett, Mr Walters said that he always owned how much he owed to his training in the St Marks Company of the Boys Brigade and to the influence of Captain Mallett. Captain Mallett was a brave soldier and had won his way to distinction, he was a good man, respected and beloved by all and had, at the very close of the war had the call to higher service and over him the words Well Done had been uttered by his Lord. The service closed with the singing of Father in High Heaven Dwelling and Chopin's Marche Funebre impressively played by the organist, Lewis Murray.

5 February 1919 - How Captain Mallett Won a Bar to his MC

'A special supplement of the London Gazette issued for publication yesterday gives particulars of several awards His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve for gallantry in the field, included is the following. "Awarded Bar to Military Cross. Lieutenant (acting Captain) Philip Mallett MC 1st Battalion Gloucester Regiment. For conspicuous gallantry in the attack in Fresnoy and Gricourt on 24 September 1918. His skill and dash resulted in a large number of the enemy being captured after the barrage passed over their dug-outs. Later he repelled a determined counter attack without asking for artillery support and captured 40 prisoners". Unfortunately Acting Captain Mallett has since died of wounds.'
  • Family tree Although Philip Frederick's family tree can be traced back two generations with certainty, all that is known about his great-grandfather (from his grandfather's marriage record) is that he was called Philippe.
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