William MILLER

Regiment:               R.S.F.  

Rank & Number:      Private 241497; 612221

08 April 1898; Railway Buildings, Fairlie  

                       Not Known  

Brother of John and Thomas Miller

WILLIAM MILLER was born 08 Apr 1898 at Railway Buildings, Fairlie, to parents Robert, a railway porter and Elizabeth McKinnie (who married at West Kilbride on 11 Nov 1892).   

He was a member of Fairlie Boy Scouts from its formation in 1912; noted in the Scout log-book in 1916 to be a ticket collector, aged 17, nicknamed “Fly” or “Cute”.  

In the 1901 Census, aged 2, he is living Burnfoot with parents Robert (31, born West Kilbride, railway porter) and Eliza (30, born West Kilbride), and siblings Thomas (7), John (5) and Robert (0)   In t

he 1911 Census, aged 12, he is living Mid Row with parents Robert (42, railway porter) and Elizabeth (41, m 18 years, 10 children/9living) and siblings    

No medal index card was found, but his regiment is given on the plaque as ‘R.S.F.’ (Royal Scots Fusiliers?).  The Largs & Millport Weekly News reported on 06 Apr 1918 that he’d been wounded in France, and had arrived in hospital in England suffering from a machine gun bullet wound in the arm.  As he served overseas he would have received the British War and Victory medals.

On 17 Apr 1918, Private Miller wrote to Mrs Boyle (formerly Laura Tennant, Fairlie Scoutmistress) from hospital in England describing the events of 28 Mar 1918:-

“Signalling is really important at the front as I have cause to know.  The complete signal stations of two of our companies and all the operators were wiped out with a single shell on the day I was wounded.  I escaped because I had been detailed to take the place of a runner who had gone missing.  ………..    Late in the afternoon I had occasion to take a message to the officers in front but I never reached my destination. For purposes of speed I had no equipment except my respirator and steel helmet. After crawling along the C.T. I reached the sunken road.  The main road was being heavily whiz-banged and machine guns played right across it.  I managed right to the main road when one went right through my arm.  Things were too hot to wait to apply my field dressing.  I had to wait until I reached the third dressing station before I had it attended to.  ……….  Passing from one hospital to another I eventually arrived at Le Havre.  ……..  After a seven hours voyage we arrived at Southampton where an ambulance train for Manchester was ready. I arrived here at 2 am on “All Fool’s Day”.

Extracts from the Largs & Millport Weekly News:-  

6 April 18     
The Toll Of War:  News has been received of two Fairlie lads being wounded during the present fighting in France.  Signaller William Miller, 1st R.S.F., son of Mr. Robert Miller, porter, Fairlie Station, has arrived in hospital in England.  He is suffering from a machine gun bullet wound in the left arm.  

6 April 18        
Signaller William Miller, 1st R.S.F., son of Mr. Robert Miller, porter, Fairlie Station, has arrived in hospital in England with a machine gun bullet wound in his left arm

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Fairlie Community Association SCIO
Scottish Charity No. SC028785