Oliver Miller

Oliver Miller on horseback

Oliver Miller on horseback

Date of birth: 31st March 1888
Place of birth: Parkstone, Poole on 1901 & 1911 Census, but Dorchester on enlistment.
Date of marriage: April 1914
Place of marriage: Christchurch, Dorset
Service No.: 850183
Rank: Private
Regiment: 1st Central Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry
Battalion: 75th
Died: 2nd September 1918 aged 30 years
Death location: Arras, France

 

 

Life before the War
Oliver was born on 31st March 1888 to Ada Annie Miller (1870 – 1932).  Ada married Sidney James Kellaway (1877 – 1946) in Parkstone on 1st May 1899.

Oliver’s siblings were:

 Alfred Mutheem (1888)

 Oliver’s half siblings were:

 Phillip Charles (1899 – 28/01/1961).  Married Lizzie Cross in Christchurch in 1924.

 Terence Arthur (21/02/1905 – 1979).  Married Maud Lilian Gibson in Branksome Park on 12th August 1935.

 Gilbert Sidney (14/03/1908 – 1998).  Married Kate Elizabeth Ewins in Poole in 1959.

The 1891 Census shows Oliver’s mother Ada is living with her son Alfred at her mother’s address at Buckland Road, Poole.  Ada is employed as a Dressmaker.  Also at this address are boarders William and Mary Norton.  Oliver is not recorded on this form and cannot be found anywhere in the 1891 Census.

On the 1901 Census Oliver is living with his uncle William and aunt Mary Norton at 3 Southcote Road, Bournemouth.  Oliver’s brother Alfred is living with his grandmother Maria and his Aunt Lily, at 6 Ashley Buildings, Ashley Road, Branksome, Poole.  This Census shows that Oliver’s mother is living with her husband Sidney and son Philip at 5 Surrey Villas, Parkstone, Poole.

When the 1911 Census was taken Oliver was employed as a Groom at The Stables, High Ashurst, near Dorking, Surrey.  His mother is living with her family at 2 Surry Villa, North Lodge Road, Parkstone, Poole.

Oliver married Elizabeth Caroline Bishop in Christchurch, Dorset in 1914.  They sailed to Canada from Southampton, aboard S S Ausonia, and arrived in Quebec on 4th May 1914.  Following his death Elizabeth sailed from Canada aboard S S Metagama and arrived in Liverpool on 7th April 1919.  Travelling with her were their two sons Alfred C, aged 6 and Leonard G, aged 4.  Her address on the passenger list was recorded as 71 Pound Street, Shirley, Southampton.

 

Military History
Oliver was employed as a Papermaker when he enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force on 14th March 1916.  His address was recorded as West Street, Thorold.  Oliver was killed in action on 2nd September 1918 and at the time he was serving in the 75th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry.

His Casualty Card reads:
‘He took part in the attack and capture of the Drocourt-Queant Switch Line, and was killed during the attack on the Sunken Road beyond, between the town of Drury (Dury) and the Arras-Cambrai Road’

In August 1918 Dury was behind the German defence, known as the Drocourt-Queant line.  On 2nd September 1918, during the 100 days offensive, the Canadian Corps attacked the line with support from tanks and aircraft.  In the first 4 days of fighting in September the Canadians suffered 5600 losses and more than 6000 Germans were taken prisoner.

The Canadian Dury Memorial commemorates the Canadian Corps attack on the Drocourt–Quéant Line in 1918.  The inscription reads:

‘THE CANADIAN CORPS 100,000 STRONG, ATTACKED AT ARRAS ON AUGUST 26TH 1918, STORMED SUCCESSIVE GERMAN LINES AND HERE ON SEPT. 2ND BROKE AND TURNED THE MAIN GERMAN POSITION ON THE WESTERN FRONT AND REACHED THE CANAL DU NORD’

Oliver was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the Victory and the British War medals.  He is buried in Dury Mill British Cemetery, grave reference II. A. 7.  The inscription on his grave reads:

Miller,-Oliver-Grave          ‘850183 Private O Miller
          75th BN. Canadian Inf.
          2nd September 1918, aged 32
          Though out of sight
          To memory ever dear’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cemetery is located 10 miles South East of Arras, France.  It was started by Canadian units on 5th September 1918 and is located in open fields, approached along an unsurfaced track about 500 metres long.  337 First World War casualties are buried here.  The cemetery was closed sixteen days after it was opened.  This cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also designed Southampton’s Cenotaph.

 

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Photographs reproduced here with the kind permission of Jan and Peter Norton.
Published: 29th March 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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