Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Second Lieutenant David Joseph Miller

 

 

David Joseph Miller was born on 24 January 1895 at Bridge Street, Banbridge, County Down, the last of five children of pawnbroker William John Miller and his wife Mary Jane (formerly Hobson, born as Andrews).

Before the war he did a five-year apprenticeship as a damask designer with William Ewart & Son of Belfast. A later report in the Belfast News-Letter stated that he was "a brother-in-law of Mr. Walter McCammond, who is well-known in motor circles, manager of the North of Ireland Motor Company, Ltd., Belfast."

Miller enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 22 May 1915 (No.1567). He embarked for France on 11 January 1916 with E Squadron. He was promoted to lance corporal on 27 November 1916 and corporal on 24 March the following year. He was said to be a "first class marksman". On 13 April 1917 he applied for a commission, and the following month was posted to No.12 Officer Cadet Battalion at Newmarket.

Miller was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 31 October 1917 and was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was initially sent to France to join the 7/8 Battalion of the Fusiliers, but at the beginning of 1918 that battalion was disbanded. On 16 February Miller and a number of other officers were attached to the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – he was posted to B Company.

It is likely that Miller saw action with his battalion in the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918 during the German spring offensive.

On 9 April 1918 the 9th Battalion was on the Ypres front when the Germans began their offensive in that sector. The battalion saw severe fighting between Wulverghem and Kemmel for more than a week and suffered many casualties. Miller was one of those killed. The diary of the battalion for 12 April states:

Moved to near Wulverghem. H.Q. at N. Midland Farm. Enemy attacked, pressing back our line. Counter attack completely restored position. Casualties heavy, including M.O., Lieuts Hamilton, Hardy & Miller killed. Capt. Dean, Lts. Turner and Orr wounded.

Miller was initially reported as 'missing, believed killed', but his death was soon after confirmed.

Having no known grave, his name is inscribed on Panel 140 of the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

 

McFarland 1

 

McFarland 2

 

The picture above shows Miller newly arrived in France with a men from E Squadron (standing, first right).

 

Images of memorial panel Copyright © Phillip Tardif with all rights reserved as set out in this Use of Material policy. Image of E Squadron troops from the Belfast Evening Telegraph, 21 February 1916, and of Miller as an officer kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster.