Rank: Private 23939
Regiment: 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment
Died: 11 March 1917
Beer Memorial Cross, St Michael's Church Tablet, Beer
Other Memorial: Thiepval [Google]
PDF Download: MILLER Thomas Leonard
Leonard Miller was born in Beer in 1888. His parents, Henry and Flora Miller, lived in Ottons Court. Leonard married Elsie and they lived at 5 West View, Beer.
The 1901 census shows Leonard, then aged 12, living with his parents, together with his three brothers, Reginald, Garnet and Lionel, and his sisters Nora and Annetta, who was only four months old. Every member of the family was born in Beer. Both Leonard’s father and his elder brother Reginald were fishermen.
Leonard served as a Private in the 9th Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment, and was killed on 11 March 1917, during a spell of a fortnight which his battalion spent in tents at Mailly-Maillet on the Somme. During this time the battalion was out of the front line, in ‘Brigade support’, providing working parties carrying ammunition and stores up to the front line, making roads and extending a light railway.
The battalion war diary entry for 11 March reads:
“Battalion in Brigade support. Working parties found. Sec. Lieuts. Martin and Clarke rejoined from hospital. Sec. Lieuts STEWART, STEVENS and BOWDEN joined for duty. Casualties 3 killed, 6 wounded on working parties.”
Leonard seems to have been one of the three men killed on the working party. The war diary gives no information on how he died, but there is a clue in The Pulmans Weekly News for 27 March 1917:
THE LATE PRIVATE L. MILLER - As announced in a recent issue, Private Leonard Miller, of the Devon Regiment, has been accidentally killed in France. He was well known and greatly respected in the district, being formerly employed as a gardener at Highcliffe and The Grove, and joined up a few months ago. He was married about a year ago, and leaves a widow and young child. The news was conveyed to the bereaved wife by a comrade of the deceased, and has since been confirmed by the War Office.
He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme.
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