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Richard Miller was born in 1892 in Preston and was one of twelve children, his parents were Samuel and Jane Miller (nee Barton). Samuel and Jane were married in St. Saviour with St. James Church, Preston on 12 February, 1885.

Samuel and Jane`s other children were: Thomas (1885), Edward (1887), Mary (1888), Ellen (1893), Albert (1895), Harry (1897), Maria (1899), Arthur (1901-1902), Lilian (1905), Norman (1906) and John (1910).

The whole family with the exception of the recently married Edward were living in a six roomed house at 4 John William Street, Preston. Most of the family were working in local mills as cotton spinners and weavers.

Richard enlisted at Preston on the 20 October, 1914 at the age of 22 years and 7 months old. He was given the service number 2961 which would later be changed to 200829 and was posted to “B” Coy. 2/4th Battalion. Richard`s address was 4 John William Street, Preston and his parents were named as his next of kin. He also confirmed that he had no previous military experience.

Richard had his medical and was passed fit for duty. He was 5`4” tall, weighed 140lbs and had a 34” chest. At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a spinner in Horrockses Mill, Preston.

In 1915 Richard married Lottie Thorpe at Christ Church, Preston. Lottie had been living with her brother Alfred and widowed mother Mary Shatwell Thorpe at 68 Ribble Bank Street, Preston before her marriage to Richard.

On the 25 August, 1916 while the Battalion were in training at Aldershot he received a punishment of 8 days confined to barracks and forfeited 3 days’ pay for overstaying a pass by 50 hours.

On the 7th February 1917 at 7.30 a.m. the 2/4th Battalion left Blackdown for Southampton. The strength of the 2/4th Battalion at this time being 32 Officers and 926 non-commissioned officers and men. The men sailed for France the same day on board the “Duchess of Argyll” and arrived at Le Havre in the early morning of the 8th February 1917.

Private Richard Miller was killed in action on the 6 June, 1917 while carrying a message under shell fire. The local paper printed the following article not long afterwards.


A summary of events at the time

“Towards the end of May, to relieve the Second Army and II Anzac Corps of the responsibilities outside the active area, the 57th Division sector right up to the Lys was transferred to the XI Corps of the First Army. The defensive front of the Corps, as contrasted with the offensive front on which the three divisions were preparing their spring on Messines, was restricted to the short sector from the Lys to St. Ives, held by the 3rd Australian Division. To relieve its garrison a separate force of two battalions of the already extended 57th Division was brought up on the 3rd June north of the Lys and attached for tactical purposes to the 3rd Australians”.

The 2/4th and 2/5th Battalions of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were the two battalions mentioned as being detached from the 57th Division. They were tasked “to hold the front from the river Lys to St. Ives as a defensive front on which other operations will pivot”

The Battalion remained with this small detached force for ten days sharing duties with the Australian battalions. For almost the whole of this time they were subjected to heavy bombardments from all types of “heavy stuff”.

Casualties were heavy, 2nd Lt. W.H. Dickson and 14 other ranks were killed. Lieutenant and Adjutant J.S. Kay and 100 non-commissioned Officers and men were wounded before they were eventually recalled to Billets in Estaires on the 11th June.

Richard`s widow Lottie received a pension of 13s/9d per week from 24 December, 1917. The Military Authorities also sent a few of Richard`s personal belongings back to Lottie at 68 Ribble Bank Street, Preston.

  • 1 Identity Disc
  • 1 A.B. 50
  • Letters
  • Photos
  • 1 Watch (glass broken) and chain

Richard was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and is buried with honour in Motor Car Corner Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.

Rank: Private
Service No: 200829
Date of Death: 07/06/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 2nd/4th Bn.

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Janet Davis
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