William John Miller

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William John Miller c1915. Image courtesy Colin Griffith.

MILLER, William John [aka SHORRE, William Ernest]

Service no: 1830 [1]

Place of birth: Ophir, 15 February 1896

Address: Horsham, VIC [sic]

Occupation: Motor driver

Next of kin: Donald McConnell (uncle), Horsham, VIC [sic]

Date of enlistment: 16 January 1915

Place of enlistment: Liverpool

Age at enlistment: 20

Fate: Embarked HMAT A9 Shropshire, Sydney, 17 March 1915. Returned to Australia 19 May 1919.

Date of death: 12 January 1969, Coogee

Buried: Eastern Suburbs Cemetery, Matraville

William John Miller was born at Ophir on 15 February 1896. His parents were William Thomas Miller and Sarah (Sadie) Amelia nee McConnell, who had married in Orange the previous year.

William enlisted in the AIF in 1915 under the name of William Ernest Shorre, giving his birthplace as Richmond in Victoria. It appears that William enlisted under a false name because he was under 21 years and was estranged from his father and was unable or unwilling to obtain his father’s permission. William nominated his maternal uncle, Donald McConnell of Horsham, as his next of kin.

William embarked HMAT A9 Shropshire in Sydney on 17 March 1915. He served in the 4th Battalion at Gallipoli and in the battles of Pozières and Passchendaele in France, where he was wounded on three occasions.

William returned to Australia in March 1919 and moved to Sydney.

In 1937 William wrote to the Army to have his real name included in his Service Record and stamped on his war medals. Apparently the Army requested a medical examination to verify William’s wounds before issuing him with his updated papers.

According to the 1943 census William was living at Coogee and working as engineer.

In 1964 William married Ena Mountfort Spratt. The couple lived at Coogee until William’s death on 12 January 1969. William is buried in Eastern Suburbs Cemetery at Matraville.

William’s maternal uncles, brothers Charles Cornelius McConnell and Donald McConnell, served with the 1st Australian Mining Corps during WWI. Charles died of disease in France in February 1918; Donald returned to Australia in March 1919.

William John Miller memorial plaque, Eastern Suburbs Cemetery, Matraville. Image courtesy Colin Griffith.
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