Philip Miller/Millar, L/Cpl 8776, 7th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Died of wounds 12th July 1916 in the Somme, France, aged 25
Philip Miller was born on 6th January and baptised on 15th February 1891, the eldest son of Elizabeth and Alfred Miller, a silk weaver of Macclesfield. The 1891 census shows three-month-old Philip and his mother staying with Philip’s aunt and uncle, Sarah and John Mitchell, at 66 Timperley Street, Widnes, while Alfred is living with his own parents, Lavinia and Jabez Miller at 26-28 Watercotes, Macclesfield.
Ten years later in 1901, ten-year-old Philip was living at House 8 Court 3 Watercotes with his mother and siblings Mary Ann (8), James (6), Thomas (4) and Elizabeth (1), and his widowed maternal grandmother Mary O’Brien, who was born in Ireland. Philip’s father Alfred was away from home, serving with the 4th Cheshire Regiment in the South Africa wars.
Philip was educated at St Alban’s school and, after leaving school, found employment at Lower Heyes Mill.
On 15th April 1907 Philip joined the 4th Cheshire Regiment, receiving service number 6130 (his surname being spelled on his service records as ‘Millar’). At the time of enlistment Philip was already serving with the 5th (Volunteer) Cheshire Regiment. He stated that he was a Catholic, lived at 51 Watercotes and was employed as a labourer in a cotton factory by Mr J Marsden of Higher Hurdsfield. He was described as 5 feet 3½ inches tall, weighing 106 pounds, with a 30 inch chest, and had a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. The following year, on 10th January 1908, Philip transferred to the Shropshire Light Infantry.
By 1911, Philip’s parents were together again, living at 5 Orchard Passage, Macclesfield, and had two more children: Lavinia (7), and Alfred (6). Philip was mistakenly included on the census return as a twenty year old soldier, and was crossed out by the enumerator. Philip’s mother died the following year on 16th May 1912, and the family later moved to 1 Buke Street, off Mills Croft, Macclesfield.
Philip was still serving with the Shropshire Light Infantry when war broke out, and was immediately sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving there on 10th September 1914. He was sent home in 1915, suffering from bronchitis, and after recovering he returned to France.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 25th August 1916:
FATHER MISSING AND SON KILLED – PAINFUL NEWS FOR MACCLESFIELD FAMILY
A Macclesfield Soldier who went out with the British Expeditionary Force has met his death after two years’ hard fighting. Lance-Corporal Philip Miller, of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, concerning whom official notification was received on Saturday that he had died of wounds sustained in action. His father, Alfred Miller, who was in France with the North Staffordshire Regiment, has been missing for seven or eight weeks.
Lance-Corporal Miller, who was 25 years of age, had served for ten years in the KSLI and was on the point of being transferred to the reserve when war broke out. He was drafted out immediately to France and participated in the heavy fighting around Ypres. Towards the end of last year he was invalided home suffering from bronchitis, and upon his recovery returned to the Front. He came home again on furlough in June and had only been back a few weeks when he was killed. L/Cpl Miller was attached to a trench mortar battery. His parents formerly lived in Leigh Street, Macclesfield, but his mother has been dead for some time. He enlisted at the age of 16, prior to which he was employed at the Lower Heyes Mill. He was educated at St Alban’s School. The deceased soldier was a well-known footballer, having been a prominent member of the regimental team. Another brother has been discharged from the Army on medical grounds.
His father, who was an old soldier, took part in the South African war with the Cheshire Militia. Subsequently he was employed as a silk weaver and he ‘joined up’ while working in the same capacity in Leek. He had only been out a short time when he was posted missing, and no news of him has since been received.
Son of Alfred Miller, who served as Private 201805 with the North Staffordshire Regiment; brother of James Miller, who served as Private 24859 with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers but was discharged on medical grounds after a short time. Both survived the war.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Family History Society of Cheshire “Roman Catholics in Macclesfield” CD: Baptism & Burial Register Transcriptions
Census (England & Wales): 1891, 1901, 1911
WWI British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects
WWI British Army Service Records
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards
WWI Britain Absent Voters’ Lists
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 25 August 1916, 23 September 1921 (photo supplement)