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Thomas Brown Miller


276949 Private

7th Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 154th Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division

Age: 31

Date of Death: 31.7.17

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 42 - 44

Family history: Son of John & Mary Miller, Gilmerton, Broomage Avenue, Larbert. Before enlisting in April 1915 he was a teacher at Dennyloanhead School. His brother, Andrew, was a driver with the Army Service Corps. He also had a sister Anne who was unmarried and was listed as a dependent on his pension card.

The action leading to his death

On the 29 July 1917 two Platoons from the 1/7th Argyll’s were attached to the 401st Field Company, Royal Engineers to assist in the preparations for the opening day of Third Ypres on 31 July. They were known as ‘Sappers Mates’ The Platoons were sent to the line at Trois Tours as ‘Sappers Mates’.

(Excerpt from the War Diary entry from 401st Field company, Royal Engineers for 29 July 1917)

On the 31 July one Platoon went forward with the Sappers to Belle Alliance Dump. They were then sent forward to Von Werder House to build a strong point. The War Diary records:

(Excerpt from the War Diary entry from 401st Field company, Royal Engineers for 31 July 1917. Sketch of strong point at Von Werder House))

(Linesman Map showing Von Werder House location and German defence in 1916)

During the construction the Germans attempted two counter - attacks on the strong point but never got within 600 yards as they were beaten off with machine gun and rifle fire. During the month of July the War Diary of the 401st recorded that the work by the Sappers was impeded by German gas shelling. The Sappers suffered casualties during this time as did their ‘Sappers Mates’. The grave of Thomas Miller was lost and he is listed on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing.

While the two other Infantry Brigades, 152nd and 153rd, went forward to the attack on the opening day of Third Ypres on 31 July, the 154th was held in reserve and did not go into the line until 1 August when they relieved the two other Brigades.

Medals Awarded

British War Medal, Victory Medal

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