Victor John Meese was born at Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex in 1889, the son of John and Margaret Meese. He enlisted in the Worcestershire Regiment on 10th August 1906. A reservist, he was called up at the outbreak of war and, as a member of the original British Expeditionary Force, he landed in France with the 2nd Worcestershire Regiment on 26th August 1914.
On the 24th October 1914, the Malvern News reported:
“Pte Victor Meese of 2nd Worcesters, the son of Mrs Meese, 2, Sankey Terrace Quest Hills Rd has died of wounds received in the Battle of the Marne. He joined the 2nd Worcesters at the age of 18 and served with the regiment for some years in India. He came home in October last year and was drafted into the Reserves. When war broke out he rejoined his regiment and went to France with the BEF. He was wounded in the Battle of the Marne, but not seriously and took part in the Retreat from Soissons and subsequently the advance when he was shot though he lung and from the first the case was hopeless. He lay on the battlefield for several days before he was found in a barn with several other British wounded. He was then taken to the Base Hospital and from there to friends of his sisters at 21 Avenue de Bois, Paris where he died on October 5th. He was buried with full military honours with other British soldiers at Bagneux Cemetery, Paris.
“His sister, Miss Mary Meese, who has been for 5 years a resident of Paris and householder to the Duchess Bassano left for England at the outbreak of hostilities probably on the way home passed her brother who was then embarking with the BEF. Her friends in Paris immediately informed her of her brothers illness and she went over to Paris to see him. Unfortunately he died before her arrival. She was however able to attend the funeral and returned home on the 14th. She was in Paris when it was shelled.
“According to a number of letters Mrs Meese has in her possession written by a nurse in the hospital where Victor Meese was said:
‘…he was a good boy and I congratulate you on him. He says just cheer up and I will be home by and by.” Also one written by a friend says “I saw your son in the hospital train today, Wed Sept 30th, he is wounded and ill, but begged me to tell you he is going on well. He is in God’s hands and your comfort must be in praying for him. He has been a true soldier and you must be proud of him.”
Other sources talk of the fine soldierly qualities possessed by Meese who was a general favourite in the battalion.
“He was aged 25 and his father Sgt J Meese who died 7 years ago was for some years Military Instructor at Harrow School and later at Malvern College. While at Harrow the late Sgt Meese had as one of pupils Mr Winston Churchill. Mrs Meese has a letter from Winston Churchill saying ‘…under him (Sgt Meese) I learnt sufficient fencing in three months to gain championship for public schools at Aldershot.’“
Malvern News 24/10/14