PRIVATE FREDERICK MILLER
5TH OCTOBER 1917 AGE 22
BURIED: RAILWAY DUGOUTS BURIAL GROUND (TRANSPORT FARM), ZILLEBEKE, BELGIUM
This is yet more evidence of the popularity of Tennyson's poetry in headstone inscriptions. Frederick Miller's comes from In Memoriam, the poem Tennyson wrote following the death of his friend, Arthur Hallam. Hallam was only 22, yet Tennyson was able to believe that Hallam's youthful life wasn't wasted by his death since his potential would be fulfilled in the next life.
Nor blame I death, because he bare
The use of virtue out of earth:
I know transplanted human worth
Will bloom to profit, otherwhere.
The only thing Tennyson's blamed death for was that:
He puts our lives so far apart
We cannot hear each other speak.
An enquiry by Miller's family to the Australian Red Cross in October 1918 elicited the following witness statement:
"This man was killed by my side on the 5th October 1917 and was buried by myself and another man on the morning of the 6th October 1917. He was buried in the field. It was impossible to get his body back to a soldiers cemetery as the shelling was very heavy and the cemetery was so far away. This man was a short dark man."
Another witness told the Red Cross:
"Miller was my mate. This grave position has been smashed up since, as the Huns came through, it was on the right of Zonnebeke. Broodseinde road (from Zonnebeke) just below Daisy Wood."
Miller was 'buried in the field'. It was not until December 1924 that his body was discovered in an unmarked grave, identified by his clothing and his discs. This was three years after the Graves Registration Unit had stopped scouring the battlefields for bodies and yet plenty continued - and continue - to turn up.