Private James Hamilton Johnston Millar


James Hamilton Johnston Millar was born on 8 April 1898 at Breda, Ballylesson, County Down, the last of seven children of grocer and dairyman (later provision merchant) Thomas Henry Millar and his wife Elizabeth Hemphill Millar (née McFarland). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 296 Beersbridge Road, Bloomfield, Belfast, with his parents and five surviving siblings.

Millar enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 11 January 1915 (No.1396) – he was just 16 years old at the time. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for England with F Squadron to await orders for France. On 17 July at Hemel Hempstead Millar was given three extra guard duties and deprived of three days pay for being absent from guard mounting.

F Squadron embarked for France on 17 November 1915, attached as divisional cavalry to the 33rd Division. In June 1916 the squadron combined with C Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Millar, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Millar was issued regimental number 41228 and posted to A Company.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

On 28 December 1917 Millar was one of twenty-four former North Irish Horsemen who transferred from the 9th (NIH) Battalion to the Tank Corps (No.304898). Following a month in Swanage Military Hospital suffering from trench fever, he trained as a gunner at the Tank Corps Depot at Bovington near Wareham, Dorset. On 6 June 1918 he was deprived of 15 days' pay for overstaying his final leave pass.

Millar embarked for France on 14 August 1918. There he was posted to the 11th Battalion, Tank Corps, joining it in the field in mid-September. He probably saw action with the battalion at Canal du Nord on 27 and 29 September, Cambrai on 8 October, and Selle on 10 and 23 October.

The day after the Armistice, on 12 November 1918, Millar was disciplined with seven days' confined to barracks for being dirty on morning parade whilst on active service.

On 16 February 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.