Sunday, October 19, 2014

Private William Richard Miller, Army Service Corps

I am surmising that W B Miller (as the name appears in Chailey’s parish magazine), is actually William Richard Miller, the ‘R’ having been mis-transcribed as a ‘B’.  Certainly, a William Richard Miller solution fits better into the Chailey picture than a W B Miller one and in the absence of other information I have assumed that this man is William Richard. 

William Richard Miller was born in Lewes, Sussex in 1879, his birth being registered in the September quarter of that year.  He appears on the 1881 census of England and Wales as a one year old infant living at Old Malling, Sussex.  The family comprised Benjamin Miller (head, aged 32 and working as an agricultural labourer), his 31 year old wife Harriet and their three children: Albert J Miller (a six year old scholar), Elizabeth Rosa Miller (aged three) and William Richard (aged one). 

He appears on the 1891 census as an eleven year old scholar still living at Old Malling.  Elizabeth R Miller does not appear on the census but his parents and Albert do, along with some more siblings: Edward Alfred Miller (aged nine), Alice Jane Miller (aged seven), Joseph Charles Miller (aged five) and Edgar Stanley Miller (aged two). 

He appears on the 1901 census of England and Wales as a twenty one year old miller’s carter living at the family home: Anchor Cottage, Barcombe, Sussex.  The family comprised 53 year old Benjamin Miller (a miller’s carter), his 52 year old wife Harriet (a caretaker) and three sons: William Richard Miller (aged 21; a miller’s carter), Joseph Charles Miller (a fifteen year old carter’s apprentice) and Edgar Stanley Miller (a 12 year old scholar).  By this time, Albert Miller was living in Mayfield with a young family of his own (and coincidentally living next door to another Albert Miller who was possibly a relative) and Alice Miller was working as a housemaid at Little Buckingham Farm, Old Shoreham.  I can find no trace of Edward. 

Chailey Parish Magazine first notes him in January 1918 as Private W B Miller MT.  There are no Private W B Millers listed on the National Archives’ on-line medal information card register with Army Service Corps Motorised Transport connections but there are a couple of William R Miller possibilities.  One of these is M2/227378 Private William R Miller and the other is DM2/097428 Private William R Miller.   The information in Chailey’s parish magazine is repeated up to and including the final published roll in July 1919 and it seems likely that he was conscripted into the army. 

Three of William’s brothers – Albert, Edward and Joseph – also served their King and Country during the First World War.

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