D.S.O. (GV), and Second Bar award, M.C., (GV), 1914-15 Star (2. Lieut. 2/Lond. R.), B.W.M., Victory Medal (Lt. Col.)
Lieut. Col. J.P. Kellett, 2/London Regt.
Together with a copy of the regimental history (Grey) in which Lieut. Col. Kellett is extensively mentioned and contains a portrait photograph and officers group photographs for 1914 and 1919 in which Kellett is identified and is one of only two officers remaining in 1919.
Served with the battalion from it’s arrival in France as a junior 2. Lieutenant rising to permanent command the battalion in 1917 and continued to serve with the battalion until some three weeks from the war’s end less some five months following serious wounds
D.S.O. L.G. 3/6/1918.
D.S.O. Second Award Bar L.G. 1/2/1919.
‘For conspicuous gallantry and able leading of his battalion on 27th September, 1918, at the crossing of the Canal du Nord during the attack near Oisy-le-Verger. The villages and enclosed ground were occupied by a large number of machine-gun posts, which threatened to hold up a rather thin attack; By quick and skilful manoeuvring he reduced the centres of resistance one after the other, capturing a number of prisoners well in excess of his own losses.’
M.C. L.G. 3/6/1916.
Mentioned in Despatches L.G. 24/12/1917, (Laangemark), 25/5/1918, 30/12/1918, and 10/7/1919),
John Philip Kellett was born on 28 July 1890 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd (City of London) Battalion, the London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) on 29 August 1914. He commanded the Battalion during the Great War on the Western Front from 13 May to 16 August 1917 and again from January 1918 until the cessation of hostilities. Twice wounded, for his services during the Great War he was four times Mentioned in Despatches, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order with Second Award Bar, and the Military Cross.
He was appointed to command the battalion, previously having on occasion held temporary command, in May 1918. From the history ‘Major J.P. Kellett, M.C., was eminently fitted to take over the command, succeeding Lieut. Col. Attenborough . At this time it was the practice of the higher authorities to appoint Regular officers to the command of Territorial battalions, whenever a vacancy occured; it was rarely that the command was given to a Territorial officer, no matter how long he had served nor how efficient he had proved himself. It was therefore a matter of no little satisfaction when, on the 16th May, Major Kellett’s appointment was confirmed, and he was promoted Lieutenant -Colonel.’
At Langemark, August 1917 the Regimental History records ‘halfway back through Glencorse Wood, one party, consisting of men of fifferent units, was met by Lieut col. Kellett, who, with Lieutenant Francis, had followed the attacking companies in their advance. These two officers had been heavily sniped, but by jumping from shell hole to shell hole had escapted the enemy’s unwelcome attentions. Lieut-Col.. Kellett rallied the men , and was leading them forward, when he was wounded , although he carried on for a short time , he was in the end obliged to leave the fight, and hand over to Captain S.H. Stevens, the senior officer remaining.’
It was recorded that the battalion when into the attack slightly over 400 strong and came out with barely 100. The casualties were later numbered at 329. Lieut. Col. Kellett was able to resume command on recovery from his wounds Jan 1, 1918. Kellett was wounded for a second time on 27 August (remained at duty) at the Second Battle of Arras. The histroy records that Kellett ‘Established his hq at the junction of Bow Lane and Tunnel Trench and reorganised the remnant of his battalion which excluding hq personnel, was now reduced to 3 officers and 80 men.
Kellett remained in the army after the War and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel with the Wiltshire Regiment in August 1939. He retired in 1943 with the honorary rank of Colonel.
He died 20/1/1959, New Amberden Hall, Debden Green, Saffron Waldon.