No. 2203 Private Charles Joseph Miller
Private Charles Joseph Miller, was born in Werribee, Victoria, in 1892 to James William Miller and Martha Rogers.
His father died in 1901 when Charles was nine years old, and his mother died in 1903 when Charles was 11 years old. He was one of eleven children, the others being:
- James William
- Walter Henry
- Ada Louisa
- Albert John
- Charlotte Ann
- George Victor
- Adeline May
- Dorothy Marion
- Jane Myrtle
- William Thomas
Because both parents were deceased at the time of enlistment, his oldest brother James William Miller was nominated as his next of kin. James died during the war, and another brother, Albert Miller became the next of kin. There was an arrangement made whereby his sister, Mrs Ada Louisa Anthony of 582 Barkly Street Footscray was nominated to receive his war medals. James had lived with his sister for 10 years prior to enlisting, and she had acted as a foster-mother.
After leaving school James worked as a drover, before applying to join the A.I.F.
James had applied to enlist in the A.I.F. earlier, but was rejected because of the condition of his teeth.
His second attempt to enlist was successful, and he was accepted on 6 July 1915,
After enlisting at the Town Hall in Melbourne on 3 September, Charles was sent to Broadmeadows in Victoria, with the 4/24 Reinforcements.
The 24 Infantry Battalion – 4 Reinforcements embarked from Melbourne on 27 September 1915 per H.M.A.T. A20 Hororata.
Three months later, on the 20 March 1916, Charles joined the British Expeditionary Force at Alexandria, Egypt and embarked for France. One week later, on the 26 March 1916, he disembarked at Marseilles.
The first major action of the 24th Battalion in France was around Pozières and Mouquet Farm in July and August 1916. It was while participating in this action that Charles was
‘Wounded in the field’, (a gunshot wound in the left shoulder) somewhere in France.
He was treated by the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station and the Ambulance Train, and then on the following day, was admitted to the 26th General Hospital at Etaples. On the 5 September he was evacuated from Calas the M.S. Dieppe to the General Military Hospital at Colchester in England for further treatment.
Later, he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartfordand on 13 October 1916 he was discharged from hospital, to No.1 Command Depot at Perham Downs, where he was granted leave.
Charles was transferred to No.1 Command Depot at Perham Downs, in Salisbury Plains, England, and while there, went absent without leave (AWOL) for two days. That cost him 3 days pay and was confined to camp for 7 days. He was classified "A" on 31 October 1916, and transferred to No. 6 Training Battalion at Rollestone, Wiltshire, England.
He again went AWOL, this time for 18 days, and that cost him a loss of 47 days pay.
On the 3 November 1916, Charles marched into 6th Signal Battalion, at Rollestone, where he again went absent without leave. This time he was away for 18 days and that cost him 28 days pay.
The following year saw his return to France. He embarked from Folkstone per S.S. Arundel and arrived at the Etaples Camp on 4 February 1917. Two days later he had re-joined his unit at the Becourt Camp, in the Somme.
The 24th Battalion got little rest during the bleak winter of 1916-1917, alternating between the front and labouring tasks. On 23 February 1917, Charles was admitted to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, suffering Asthenia (lack of muscle strength). After about one month of treatment, he re-joined the 24th Battalion on 20 March 1917 at the Becourt Wood Camp, in the Somme.
He fought on for another three weeks before being killed in action on the 16 April 1917 at the Battle of Lagnicourt in France. The Unit’s War Diary records that his company was in the line at Noreuil and that it came under persistent enemy shelling. The day’s casualties were two Other Ranks killed, and two Other Ranks wounded.
Private Charles Miller would have been one of those who died. He was buried in a cemetery 1¼ miles N.N.W. of Lagnicourt, France.
His death was reported in Werribee Shire Banner, 17 May 1917, p.2, as follows:
Sympathy was also expressed when it became known that Private C. J. Miller had paid the supreme sacrifice. The late soldier, who was born and reared in the district, was also well known and highly respected, and it is with deep feeling of regret that we are compelled to chronicle his demise.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star – 7 December 1920 (received by Mrs. A.L. Anthony (sister)
- British War Medal –8 December 1921 (received by Mrs. A.L. Anthony (sister)
- Memorial Plaque – 26 July 1922 (received by Mrs. A.L. Anthony (sister)
- Memorial Scroll – 29 September 1921 (received by Mrs. A.L. Anthony (sister)
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