Private William Edward Miller


This North Irish Horseman was probably the William Edward Miller born on 11 January 1892 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the sixth of seven children of carter (later brewer's labourer) Edward Charles Miller and his wife Elizabeth Ann (née Ridgard). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Beam Hill, Tutbury Road, Burton-on-Trent, with his parents and four of his siblings, and working as a cleaner in the Bass and Co brewery. In early 1915 he married Margaret J. Davies.

Miller enlisted on 21 November 1914, though it is not known with which regiment. He gave his occupation as chauffeur. On 25 or 26 May 1915 he joined the Leicestershire Yeomanry (No.3281). He later joined the Staffordshire Yeomanry (Corps of Hussars No.300557), probably serving with the 3/1 Staffords at Aldershot, part of the 3rd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry formed on 1917.

In 1918 Miller embarked for France, where he was posted to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, probably E Squadron. This regiment was serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, but in February-March 1918 it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

At the beginning of October 1918, during the Advance to Victory offensive, E Squadron was camped east of Epehy, near the German defences on the St Quentin Canal. The squadron war diary recorded:

[1-2 October] Attached 100th Inf Brdge 33rd Division. Sent out a patrol under 2/Lt Downey to reconnoitre Canal de St Quentin ... preparatory to small raiding operations on following night which however never took place.

[3 October] 15 ORs Gassed by gas shelling. Sqdn moved forward to Battn H.Q. owing to report that enemy were retiring. This did not prove to be the case, so Sqdn moved back to previous location and were engaged in afternoon on salvage work.

Miller was one of the men gassed that day.

He was discharged on 19 February 1919 as 'surplus to military requirements, having suffered impairment since entry into the service' (paragraph 392 xvi(a), King's Regulations), and awarded a pension for bronchitis (gas) and disordered action of the heart, his level of disability assessed at 20 per cent. A medical board held at Burton-on-Trent reported that he "is in very poor condition & weak ... he is doing unsuitable work (train conducting)".

Around this time Miller was living at 30 Kilting Green Lane, Horninglow, Burton-on-Trent. By the time of the 1939 Register he had moved to Derby, living with his wife and three children at 2 Railway Terrace, and working as a timekeeper assistant.


This page last updated 20 December 2022.