The life and death of World War One soldier Private John Miller

From left with the documents are Louis Poole, Barbara Lee and Elaine Brooks

From left with the documents are Louis Poole, Barbara Lee and Elaine Brooks

From left with the documents are Louis Poole and Elaine Brooks

A letter home from school sent by Private John Miller’s nephew to his mother on October 15, 1915

Louis Poole with the documents

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , news feature writer

PRIVATE John Miller died a “true soldier” — and his short life is revealed in a collection of documents preserved for the last 100 years.

Letters, notes, a ration book, a bible and a short biography reveal that Private John Miller lived at 221 Spa Road, Bolton.

He was just 17 when he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1914 and he died just one year later.

The beautifully written notes can still be read perfectly, and depict the life and death of the Bolton soldier during World War One.

Among the letters is a letter of sorrow to his sister, following his death.

For his service to his country he was later posthumously awarded a Victory Medal and a British War Medal, with the letters detailing that King George V had “high appreciation of the services rendered”.

Now, the owner of the letters has donated them to the Moseley Arms in Red Lane, for a memorial evening.

Eventually, 84-year-old Louis Poole hopes to find a home for the letters at a war museum.

Mr Poole, of Romiley Crescent, Breightmet, said: “None of my family wanted the letters and I kept them for as long as I could but think they would be better off in a museum.

“John Miller was my late wife’s uncle, so by marriage I am his nephew. From what I, know he was a really good man despite his young age.

"He enrolled to fight with the Lancashire Fusiliers but died just a year later, so he never had the chance to marry or have children, so it would be nice to carry on his legacy.”

The letters will take centre stage at a memorial evening honouring soldiers who lost their lives in World War One on Sunday, August 17.

An extract from letter home from school sent by Private John Miller’s nephew to his mother on October 15, 1915: 

“It was with very great sorrow that I heard last sundown of the death of your brother John — I know it must have been a dreadful blow to you.

"To think of such a bright, young life cut off so suddenly and so cruelly. I sympathise very deeply with you and your father and mother and sister. 

"At present, I dare say you can only see the dark side of your loss, but I believe that when the first bitterness of your grief is passed, you will be proud that he died giving his life on behalf of his country and king and to preserve our homes for us all. 

"He died as a true soldier would like to die. I pray that God may comfort you all with his own special comfort."

 

 

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