Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (17 August 2021)
Date of Auction: 17th August 2021
Sold for £170
Estimate: £200 - £240
1914 Star, with later slide clasp (L-12132 Pte. E. J. Miller. 1/Midd: R); British War and Victory Medals (L-12132 Pte. E. J. Miller. Midd’x R.) good very fine (3) £200-£240
FootnoteEdwin John Miller was born in 1890 at Hove, Sussex and attested for the Middlesex Regiment in London in 1908. Following the outbreak of the Great War, he was posted to the 1st Battalion and served with them on the Western Front from 11 August 1914, his battalion seeing action in 1914 at the battles of Mons (and subsequent Retreat), The Marne, The Aisne, la Bassèe, Messines and Armentières.
Miller was reported missing on 31 October 1914 during the Battle of Armentières and later presumed to have been killed in action on or since that date. His date of death for official purposes was deemed to be 31 October 1914 although it is likely that he was killed in the heavy fighting which took place on 30 October.
His battalion had been holding trenches in front of La Boutilleries between 23 and 29 October, suffering casualties under heavy shell-fire and sniping, when the enemy broke through between C and D Companies on 30 October. B Company then made a successful counter attack and cleared the enemy from the lost trenches:
‘This attack, in which every man was used—servants, pioneers, cooks, etc., who were carrying ammunition or fighting
with “B” Company—was entirely successful. Every German who had penetrated the line was killed—37 being accounted for in this way—or captured. And on the following morning over 200 dead Germans were counted lying out in No Man’s Land in front of the trenches. But “B” Company practically ceased to exist.
In this very gallant little fight, the 1st Middlesex lost 16 other ranks killed and 25 wounded, including Lieut.-Colonel Rowley, Capt. Gibbons and 2nd Lieut. Shaw. “Where all ranks behaved well,” said Colonel Rowley, “it was hard to single out any for reward, but at any rate all had the satisfaction of worthily upholding the name of Die-Hards.
The Battle of Armentières closed on 2nd November, with the 1st Middlesex still holding the line at La Boutillerie.’ (The Die-Hards in the Great War. Vol I. 1914-16 by Everard Wyrall refers).
Miller’s body was later found and identified and lies buried in Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. He was the son of Joseph Henry and Eliza Miller (nee Hammond) of 9 Reeves Place, Hoxton, London.