This page is dedicated to the memory of:

59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers

Michael (Mick) Melia was born at Oldham, Lancashire on the 21st September 1951. His father (Bill) and mother (Kitty) are no longer alive, but they had a large and loving family of six sons and three daughters; three of the nine children, including Mick, are now deceased. Mick attended St Anselm's Secondary Modern School, where his academic achievements were modest, but he excelled at sport, especially soccer. Leaving school at 15, he trained as a welder, then joined the Regular Army in 1971 as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, following time as a Territorial. In this respect he was following the example of his father who had served with the Sappers in WW2; three of his brothers also had Armed Forces experience, Bill in the East Lancashire Regiment, Jim in the RAF and Tony in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

After basic training, Mick then volunteered for parachute training, served with '9 PARA' - the famous Airborne Sapper Squadron - in Aldershot and Belize, then undertook Commando training for service with 59 Independent Commando Squadron based in Plymouth. Here, his footballing skills developed significantly, and he also displayed great skill and ability in the sport of canoeing. His physical prowess then led to selection as one of the Training Team preparing Army volunteers for the famous Royal Marines 'All Arms' Commando Course. Like so many of his fine young friends and colleagues, Mick had chosen a path of excellence in the van of British infantry action, leading by example and wearing either the red or green beret, both of which he had earned the right to wear through sterling personal effort.

With 59 Cdo RE he sailed for the Falkland Islands in April 1982, and was attached to 2 PARA for the initial landings and the assault on Goose Green. In the dawn of May 28th, during the long and bitter fight for that settlement, Corporal Mick Melia was killed. Along with sixteen of his Parachute Regiment and Royal Marine colleagues, he was then buried at Ajax Bay on 30th May 1982.

In October 1978 Mick married Gill Sandy in Plymouth. She survives him, along with his brothers Bill, Jim, Tony and Terry plus his older sisters Maureen and Jacqueline. Mick's other brother and sister, Jack and Kathleen, have also died and are now with him. There were no children from his own marriage. Gill, his widow, remembers Mick as a wonderful man who could always make her laugh, even when her heart was filled with dread at the prospect of his departure for the South Atlantic in April 1982.

Mick's body was brought back to England at the end of that momentous year. Following a funeral with full military honours, he was re-interred at the Weston Park cemetery in Plymouth, fittingly surrounded by three football pitches, and close to the rugged terrain of Dartmoor which he loved so much.

Mick, left, best man at a friend's wedding

Mick and Gill on their wedding day

Mick, bottom right, in the victorious rowing team.
Photo taken in 1976 outside the R.E. museum, Chatham.

Mick on his confirmation into the Catholic Faith, aged 7 yrs