Private Robert Millar


Robert Millar was born on 8 February 1882 in Springwell Street, Ballymena, County Antrim, the sixth of ten children of shoemaker Samuel Millar and his wife Rose (née Colvin (or Colgan or Colville)).By the time of the 1911 Census he was living as a boarder at 12 Glentilt Street, Belfast, and working as a postman. On 10 August that year he married Sarah Lena Torbitt at St Anne's Church of Ireland Parish Church, Belfast. The couple had a child, Lena, the following year, but Sarah died of tuberculosis just over a month later, aged just 24.

Millar enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 10 June 1915 (No.1691). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiments.

In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, 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 41252.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918.

In the first half of 1918 Millar was wounded in the left forearm, probably in the fighting around Wulverghen and Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918. The injury was serious enough to end his military service. On 16 July 1918 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension, his level of disability being assessed at 30 per cent.

Following his discharge from the army, Millar resumed work with the post office. On 22 November 1920 he married Margaret Graham at the Church of Ireland Parish Church, Larne, County Antrim.


Millar's brother Samuel Millar also served in the North Irish Horse during the war.