MILLAR, Leonard William
(Service number 1354)
|Aliases||Len; CWGC & AIF records list his surname as MILLER.|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||17 April 1894||Place of Birth||Orari Bridge, Geraldine|
|Date||29 August 1914||Age||20 years 4 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Robert MILLER (brother), High Street, Waimate|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 8 inches. Weight 178 lbs. Chest measurement 36 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair fair. Good vision & hearing. Free of diseases & physical defects. Heart & lungs healthy. Free use of joints & limbs.|
|Served with||Australian Imperial Force||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Australian Infantry Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||3rd Battalion, G Company|
|Date||20 October 1914|
|Embarked From||Sydney,New South Wales||Destination|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||3rd Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Balkans (Gallipoli)|
|Service Medals||1914/1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
27 April 1915 - wounded at the Dardanelles, Gallipoli.
|Date||19 May 1915||Age||21 years|
|Place of Death||Gaba Tepe, Dardanelles, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey|
|Memorial Reference||E. 9.|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall (as MILLAR L.W.), the Southburn District War Memorial (as LEONARD MILLAR), the Otipua District War Memorial (as PTE. L. MILLER), and the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour (Panel 37)|
Leonard William Millar, known as Len, was the eldest son of Alexander and Caroline Sarah (née Bell) Millar, late of Pareora, then of Waimate, later of Pirinoa. He was born on 17 April 1894 at Orari Bridge, near Geraldine. He was educated at Anama, Westerfield and Lismore schools in the Ashburton district, and at Pareora West where he lived for some time, and at Southburn.
Leonard William Millar enlisted with the Australian Forces at Sydney on 29 August 1914, aged 20 years 4 months. Leonard William Miller [sic] swore that “I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force from this day [29 August 1914] until the end of the War, and a further period of four months thereafter unless sooner lawfully discharged, dismissed, or removed therefrom; and that I will resist His Majesty’s enemies and cause His Majesty’s peace to be kept and maintained; and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service, faithfully discharge my duty according to law.” He was a brickmaker residing at Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia, single and Presbyterian, and he named his brother as next-of-kin – Robert Millar, High Street, Waimate, New Zealand. As of June 1920 his father - Mr A. Millar, Pirinoa, Featherston, North Island, New Zealand – became next-of-kin. Len was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 178 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 36 inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes blue and his hair fair. He had good vision and hearing; was free of diseases and physical defects; his heart and lungs were healthy; and he had free use of his joints and limbs. Thus he was fit for Active Service.
Private Millar embarked with the 3rd Battalion of the Australian Infantry Force on 20 October 1914 at Sydney, New South Wales, per the “Euripides”.
Mr A. Millar, High Street, Waimate, received a cable on 1 June 1915, stating that his eldest son, L. W. Millar, had been wounded at the Dardanelles. Private Leonard William Millar, who had been wounded on 27 April 1915, was actually killed in action on 19 May 1915 at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli, Turkey, just a month after his 21st birthday. A telegram received from the minister of defence by Mr R. Miller, High Street, Waimate, on 21 June carried the news - “Regret to advise you cable received this day reports that Private L. W. Miller 3rd Australian battalion, previously reported wounded was killed in action at Dardanelles. Please accept my sincerest sympathy in the loss which you and New Zealand have suffered.” He was finally buried in the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Gallipoli, as the 3rd Battalion (with which he served) Parade Ground Cemetery was very concentrated. He was initially buried at Bridges Road (Grave No. 4) on 19 May, the Chaplain reported.
In July 1915, O. E. Millar (“I am a sister”) wrote on behalf of her brother R. J. Millar, asking if the belongings of 1354 Pvte L. W. Millar would be forwarded to Robert. The reply informed them that arrangements had been made for his personal effects to be taken over by Messrs Thomas Cook & Son and transmitted direct to the next-of-kin. In November, Robert wrote again, pointing out that nothing had been received and no mention of anything. The Officer in charge of Base Records replied that he had not had confirmation from Thomas Cook & Son, and that the delay may be because of difficulty in securing shipping space. He further noted that Len’s Will had been sent to the Military Paymaster in Sydney. On 3 January 1916 one brown paper parcel of Leonard's effects was despatched per the “Ulysses” to his brother, containing 1 disc, 1 pipe, 1 fountain-pen, 1 purse, 1 Testament and 2 note-books.
It was 6 April 1916 when official advice was received by Robert Millar that No. 1354 Private L. W. Millar had been killed in action at Gallipoli on 19 May 1915. As late as April 1920, reference was still being made to the 3rd Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery at Anzac. By that date the Millar family had moved north to Pirinoa. And in August 1920, when Robert Millar was asked if Private L. W. Millar had any nearer blood relation than himself, he replied that both parents were alive and gave their names and address. For his service in Egypt and the Balkans, Private L. W. Millar was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On different dates in 1921 and 1922 his father acknowledged receipt of the medals, as well as the Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll, and the King's Message. With his receipt, Mr Alexander Millar requested 6 copies (booklets) of the cemeteries of Gallipoli. Leonard gave “gallant service”. In the brief Will, which he made on enlistment, Leonard gave the whole of his property and effects to his brother Robert.
Len Millar was well known and popular in athletics, distinguished himself in boxing and cycling, and was a good rifle shot. Mr L. Millar was voted to the chair for the Waimate Harriers’ Club annual meeting in early March 1909, and elected to the committee. In June he was deputy captain of the harriers, and in March 1910 he was appointed handicapper. Len was also a member of the St Augustine’s Young Men’s Society, receiving one of the “Booby” prizes for the progressive euchre held at the social in June 1910. It was at the Beaconsfield sports held in late December 1911 that he finished in second place in the One mile Bicycle Race, winning for himself 10 shillings.
On 4 February 1916, The Timaru Herald published much of a very touching letter sent to Len's mother at Waimate by Private H. N. Maher (the only survivor of eight who left their hometown together), of Greenbell, New South Wales, Australia, informing her of the death of her son at Gaba Tepe on 26 May 1915. Len and Private Maher were friends in Australia before the war broke out. They enlisted together and made a vow to stick together, no matter what may happen. “Len was as true a comrade as ever lived,” he wrote, “the very type of Australia's manhood. . . . He was the bravest of the brave. . . . They have parted us by death. But I shall always remember him.” He told Mrs Millar (Miller) that she should be proud in the memory that her son gave his life for his country, and assured her that Len died without any pain and the boys of his company buried him at Gaba Tepe, in “a lovely grave with a little cross erected over it with his name and number”. Pte Maher sent Len's little Bible, the only thing he had of Len's, to Mrs Millar. He too was grieving. Len was like a brother to him and he hoped one day to meet Len's mother.
Leonard was sorely missed by his family who remembered him through memorial notices.
“Great is the loss, the blow severe,
To lose a son who was so dear.
In a lonely grave in a far off land —
A grave we may never see;
But let this little token tell,
We still remember thee.
A precious one from us is gone,
A voice we loved is stilled,
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.” (1916)
“Farewell, dear son, your life is past,
My love for you to the end will last,
I think of you in silence,
No eye can see me weep;
Yet many a silent tear is shed,
When others are asleep.” (1917, 1918, 1919)
Leonard William Millar is remembered on the Timaru Memorial Wall (Millar L. W.), the Southburn District War Memorial (Leonard Millar), the Otipua District War Memorial (as Pte. L. Miller), and the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour (Panel 37). In late December 1921, a War Memorial to the eleven men of the Otipua district who lost their lives in the Great War was unveiled by His Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Jellicoe, in the presence of several hundred people. In losing their lives, Viscount Jellicoe said, they had set an example to everybody of unselfishness, loyalty, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice which all should try to follow in the future. The memorial is 16 feet high, the obelisk being of New Zealand grey granite. There among the names inscribed on the pedestal is Private L. Miller.
The Southburn District War Memorial was unveiled by Lady Jellicoe at the beginning of February 1922, “with appropriate and solemn ceremony”. After those present stood for a minute in silent respect for the dead, the National Anthem was sung. On the base of the polished Coromandel granite in a folded scroll are the words in bold lettering ‘‘For King and Country,” flanked by upright fern leaves. Above appears a wreath of bay leaves within which in gold lettering is the word “Peace,” and along the lower edge is a modest line “Erected by the residents of Southburn.” On the face of the memorial are the dedication and the names “In loving and grateful memory of the men of this district who gave their lives for the honour of the British Empire during the great European War 1914 —1918.” Among the names of eight ex-pupils of Southburn School is that of Leonard Millar. The structure is capped with an engraving of crossed magazine rifles and two flags, the Union Jack and the N.Z. Ensign. The people of the district were very proud of what their boys had done, said the chairman of the Memorial Committee, they felt deep sympathy for those who had lost dear ones in the war and hoped that this stone would keep the memories green in this generation. “The Last Post” was played by the bugler, a dedication prayer was read, and the programme was concluded by the assembled company singing “O God our help in Ages Past.”
Len’s brother (and next-of-kin) Robert James Millar (58558) also served in World War I.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [26 April 2015]; CWGC [19 November 2013]; Australian Imperial Force Attestation Paper (National Archives of Australia) [21 November 2013]; Waimate Daily Advertiser, 7 December 1908, 5 March 1909, 18 June 1909, 11 March 1910, 8 June 1910, 4 & 22 June 1915, Timaru Herald, 6 March 1909, 29 December 1911, 7 & 25 June 1915, 4 February 1916, 27 May 1916, 26 May 1917, 25 May 1918, 27 May 1919, 23 January 1922, 3 February 1922, Star, 3 June 1915, Press, 4 & 28 June 1915, 30 December 1921, Temuka Leader, 29 December 1921 (Papers Past) [19 November 2013; 01 & 02 September 2014; 09 February 2018, 29 & 30 January 2020; 11 March 2020]; Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial (www.awm.gov.au) [20 November 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs historical records) [22 November 2013]; School Admission Records (South Canterbury Branch & Ashburton Branch NZSG) [November 2013; 01 September 2014]; The AIF Project (www.unsw.adfa.edu.au) [11 March 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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