PRIVATE THOMAS HUGH MILLER
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT
21ST OCTOBER 1917 AGE 36
BURIED: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE
William Taylor was proud of his brother. How can I tell? Look at the inscription he chose for him. Thomas Hugh Miller was 33 when the war broke out, a self-employed, married man whose household consisted not only of his wife and at least one child but his widowed mother too. His commitments prevented him from volunteering but once conscription was introduced in January 1916 "he made no appeal", meaning he didn't make an appeal to a tribunal to try to get himself excused military service but obeyed the call. He was "a man when his country needed him".
William Taylor himself was 45 when the war broke out. The upper age limit for conscription was 41 until April 1918 when it was extended to include men up to the age of 50. By this time William Taylor was 49; he would never have been expected to serve abroad.
Thomas Miller joined the 7th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment on their return from the Mediterranean theatre of war in July 1916. The battalion took part in the Somme Campaign before moving to Ypres. I can't be sure but he could have been wounded on 4th or 5th October when the battalion war diary recorded: "Attack carried out on enemy positions round Poelcapelle". On the 7th the diary summarised the casualties: 5 officers killed and 2 wounded; 41 other ranks killed and 169 wounded. Miller's name however isn't among the list of wounded. Instead, the Nominal Roll records his death (died of wounds) on the 21st, a day when all the war dairy says is:
Noeux-les-Mines. Battalion relieved 14th D.L.I. in reserve in the AUGUSTE sector. QM stores, 1st line Transport etc. proceeded to MAZINGARBE. 2/Lieut H.W. Ford joined the Battn for duty & posted to B.Coy.