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George Burnett Miller

11399 Private

13th Battalion Royal Scots, 45th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division

Age: 26

Date of Death: 22.8.17

Buried: Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 11 to 14

Family history: Son of John and Janet Miller, Royal Bank House, 27 Waggon Road, Bo’ness. He had three brothers, William, James, and John, and two sisters, Catherine and Elizabeth. He was unmarried and prior to enlisting he was employed as a miner.

He had enlisted as a Territorial in March 1913, and when war broke out he volunteered for overseas service. He landed in France with the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots, on 11 August 1914.

He was also a violinist in the Battalion band. He saw action in many of the early engagements and was wounded at First Ypres in November 1914, writing from hospital to his parents about how he came to be wounded: ‘… shells came tearing over. The first two or three went bang into our hospital, and others took bits out of the roof of the place I was in. Then one cannoned off the wall and burst in the centre of us. Our clarinet player and trombonist were killed, while the big drummer, another two chaps and I were wounded. I got a piece of shell in my right thigh and hope to be all right soon.

On recovering from his wound he rejoined his battalion in time to be wounded again in February 1915 while in the trenches at Vierstraat, near Ypres he wrote: ‘… The bullet passed through the top of my shoulder and then through the right side of my jaw, fortunately breaking no bones, and only giving me a swelled face..’ On recovering from his wounds he was posted to the 13th Battalion in April 1917.

The action leading to his death

The 22 August found the division preparing for an attack on the German positions at Frezenberg Ridge. For five days prior to the attack, harassing fire was kept up every night by both the artillery and machine-guns and in addition all known strong points had been targeted by the Heavy and Field Artillery. The attack was launched on 22 August at 4.45am under the cover of a creeping barrage and fire from thirty-two machine guns. The Germans very quickly replied with counter fire and with heavy machine gun fire which met the assaulting battalions of the 45th Brigades. On the right of the attack the fate of the leading companies of both the 13th Royal Scots and 11th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders would never be known. Two hours after the attack had started the left front company of the Royal Scots had been reduced to nine men and one Lewis gun team. The few remaining men of the Royal Scots and Argyll’s were rallied in a line north-west from Railway Dump along the road running to Beck House. The Royal Scots made repeated attempts throughout the day to get forward by jumping from shell-hope to shell-hole but without success. The battalion being relieved after dusk on 23 August.

(Linesman Map)

George was posted as missing and his family notified. It was not until 19 July 1918 that his death was officially confirmed to his family.


1914 Star and Clasp, The British War Medal, Victory Medal

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