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Social history and biography of

Major General George Murray Miller

Overview

From the census and burials, it seems that many military officers chose to retire to Great Malvern. Perhaps that was due to the arrival of the water cure and the development of Great Malvern as a fashionable spa town.

Recently we happened to come across the name of Major General George Murray Miller who died at a house named Franche in Tibberton Road, Great Malvern, in 1911 aged 82 years. George survived the Crimean war and the Indian Mutiny, but two of his great nephews, who were 'called to arms' in the Great War, fell - as did George's butler.

Here is more about George and his family.

George's death was announced in The Times, and his obituary published in the Inverness Courier newspaper on January 31st 1911.

To quote:

'A distinguished Cameron officer'

The death of the late Major-General George Murray Miller CB, which occurred on 11th inst, at Franche, Malvern, removes another of the Crimean and Mutiny officers, and one of the last survivors of those campaigns of the old 79th Regiment.

He was a son of the late Mr John Miller of Muirshiel, Renfrewshire, and obtained his commission as Ensign in the 79th Cameron Highlanders on 30th January 1846, and his subsequent commissions bore dates as follows: -

 Lieutenant 2nd April 1847

Captain 4th August 1854

Brevet-Major 26th April, 1859

Substantive-Major 2nd May 1865

Brevet lieutenant-colonel 4th June 1870

Lieutenant-colonel 19th October 1872, from which date he commanded the 79th until 19th October 1877

Brevet-Colonel 25th March 1877.

He served with his regiment in the Crimea, and was present at the battles of the Alma and Balaclava and Siege of Sebastopol (medal with 3 clasps and Turkish medal); also during the Indian Mutiny, 1858-59, including the Capture of Lucknow, where he was severely wounded, the capture of Rampore, Kussia, and subsequent operations in Oude, across the Gogra and the Raptie Rivers (mentioned in dispatches, brevet of major and medal with clasp).

He was awarded the CB (Companion of the Bath) in 1875, and on 10th November I877 was appointed to the 61st Regimental Depot at Ayr, which he held until 6th August 1879, when he was placed on half-pay.

He retired 31st October 1882 with the honorary rank of Major-General, and was granted a Distinguished Service Reward in April 1906.

The funeral took place at Malvern on 16th inst, and among those present were Mrs Murray Miller, Colonel Miller, Commander Miller-Stirling RN, Mrs Dowson, Miss Stuart, and Mr and Mrs Ferneley, Colonel Law, Lieutenant-Colonel CH Miers (late 79th Highlanders), Admiral HD Grant, Colonel Twynam, Colonel Campbell CB, Major Wintors, Captain Hobbs, and other friends.

The officers of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders sent a handsome wreath of scarlet flowers.

Family

George Murray Miller, born Glasgow 1829, died at Malvern 1911, was the son of John Miller (1778-1854) and Mary Robinson McCook.

John Miller, born Glasgow, was a merchant of Kingston Jamaica who returned to Glasgow about 1816; his wife Mary the daughter of a soldier or 'planter' was born in Jamaica. They married about 1808 and had fourteen children, some of whom were born in Jamaica and some died infants.

George married late in life at All Saints, Salterhebble in Yorkshire, Mabel Louisa Barnes (1876); they had no children. Following his retirement from the army he is recorded living in Devon in 1891 and Cheltenham in 1901, before coming to Malvern.

The National Probate Calendar records George died at Malvern on 11th January 1911 leaving £8,054; his executors were his nephews John Francis James Miller, a Colonel in HM Army and George Harry Miller-Stirling a Commander RN.

The nephews were the sons of George's elder brother James Black Miller born Glasgow about 1821 and Martha Livingstone or Bradshaw. James was a merchant, like his father, with interests in India and South Africa - as a young man he is recorded as a partner in Brownrigg Miller and Co of Liverpool. James Black Miller died at King William's Town, Cape Province, South Africa on 24th July 1861 aged only 40 years.

James received an inheritance from his godfather Dr James Black, surgeon of Jamaica, after whom he was possibly named. Dr Black died at Glasgow on 19th October 1834.

Nephews

George's nephew, John Francis James Miller, latterly a farmer, was born Bombay, India, in 1847 and died at Pershore, Worcestershire, in 1917. He married Lydia Chapman at Bombay in 1880.

George's nephew, George Harry Miller was born Natal, South Africa, in 1861. He married Caroline Frances Stirling in 1883 and subsequently appended Stirling to his surname. Caroline was the daughter of Major Campbell Charles Graham-Stirling and Elizabeth Agnes Dunmore Napier of Craigburnet, Stirling.

Great nephews

George and Caroline's children were Elizabeth Miller-Stirling, Harry James Graham Miller-Stirling, Edward George Bradshaw Miller-Stirling, and Arthur Eustace Stirling Miller-Stirling.

Of the three sons, only the youngest, Arthur, survived the Great War.

Harry James Graham Miller-Stirling, Lieutenant, 1st Battalion Nigeria Regiment, was killed in action in German East Africa on 16th October 1917.

On October 31st 1917 The Times carried a report of Fallen Officers:

Harry James Graham Stirling Miller-Stirling attached Nigerian Regiment eldest son of Commander and Mrs Miller-Stirling of Craigburnet Campsie Glen (Glasgow) was killed on October 16th aged 31. He  was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and eductated at Rossall School and Keble College Oxford. In 1910 appointed Assistant Commissioner in the political service Northern Nigeria, and in 1915 was gazetted Lieutenant, West African Field Force being attached to the Nigerian Regiment with which he served in operations in French West Africa and latterly East Africa.

Lieutenant Edward George Bradshaw Miller-Stirling was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy, a prep school, and Eastbourne College. We found this account of his life and death which seems to be largely based on reference 5.

On leaving School he went to the Aspatria Agricultural College, Cumberland, and then became a farm pupil near Wooler and Kelso in Scotland until December 1912.

In February 1913 he left for Ceylon, and was assistant manager of a tea estate until August 1914, when he joined the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, and, arriving in Egypt in November, he was given a temporary commission in the Indian Army and attached to the 69th Punjabis.

He served in Egypt until after the attack of the Turks on the Suez Canal, went to Gallipoli in May 1915, and was in France from June to December, in the Bareilly–Meerut Division of the Indian Army Corps, until the Corps left France.

He was in Egypt again in 1916, and took part in the operations against the Turks round Aden. In June he transferred as Lieutenant to the 2nd Bn Black Watch, joining them on the Tigris, and serving throughout the campaign for the capture of Kut and of Baghdad on March 11th, 1917.

His Division went in pursuit of the Turks, and in capturing a position held by them on the railway about 25 miles from Baghdad he fell in action on March 14th 1917.

The two brothers names are recorded with many others on the Campsie Parish War Memorial in Scotland.

'Stirling E.G.B. Miller'

'Stirling H.J.G.S. Miller'

Youngest brother, Captain Arthur Eustace Stirling Miller-Stirling, Indian Army, educated at the Royal Military College Sandhurst, survived the Great War.

People sometimes forget that the conflict was not restricted to France and Belgium.

More about the children of James Black Miller

George's brother, James Black Miller, and Martha Livingstone had seven children in total:

John Francis James Miller and George Harry Miller, mentioned above.

Archibald Robert Miller - born about 1849, died at Southburn Ottawa, Natal South Africa on 1st November 1894, aged 46 years, leaving a widow Sarah. Possibly they had a son George Mackenzie Miller born at Verulam, Natal about 1882 who fought in the Boer War.

Florence Alexandria Miller - born Glasgow about 1851 died unmarried at Rome, Italy in 1899.

Frances Amelia Miller - born Glasgow about 1849 died unmarried at Rome, Italy in 1929.

Samuel Bradshaw Miller - born Gloucester about 1858. In 1871 he was living with his widowed mother near Weymouth, but we have found no trace of him after that in England; possibly he emigrated to New Zealand (see below).

Charles Joseph Miller - born Kaffraria, Cape, South Africa in 1861 had a disability. In 1891 he was living with his mother near Bognor in Sussex where he died unmarried in 1896.

Samuel Bradshaw Miller

Possibly Samuel Bradshaw Miller farmed with his brothers in South Africa, but someone with the same name appears in the New Zealand records.

On 22nd December 1883 at Holy Trinity church, Tauranga, Auckland, New Zealand, a Samuel Bradshaw Miller married Ulica de Burgh Wynn. She was the daughter of Ulick John de Burgh (Marquess of Clarincarde) and Caroline Wynn.

Samuel and Ulica had three children, Edith Margaret Miller, Frances Ulica de Burgh Miller, and Ann Bradshaw Miller.

France Ulica de Burgh Miller, born Tauranga New Zealand 1885, married at Salisbury, Rhodesia, in 1911 Paul Ewart Frankau born London 1890.

Lieutenant Paul Ewart Frankau 20th Bn The Rifle Brigade was killed while leading his platoon in the Third Battle of Gaza in Palestine on 2nd November 1917. He was aged 30 years.

Paul's brothers survived the Great War.

Captain Gilbert Frankau (1884-1952), Royal Field Artillery, also served in the army. After the war he became a writer and war poet.

Ronald Hugh Wyndham Frankau (1894-1951) became an entertainer.

Their mother Julia Davis had been an author and journalist.

Thomas Lyne (Butler)

The 1911 census indicates Thomas Lyne, a retired Boer War reservist, had been employed as butler by George Murray Miller at 'Franche'.

Thomas, born North Malvern in 1871, also took up arms in the Great War.

Private 4154 Thomas Lyne, Queen's South Africa Medal, 13th Bn, The Royal Scots, was killed in action in France on 11th May 1916, aged 45 years. He left a widow Emily Lyne, of Willow Cottage, Cowleigh Bank, North Malvern.

Thomas's name is on the Loos memorial which commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave.


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Sources

1. National Probate Calendar

2. England and Wales Census

3. Scottish Census

4. Inverness Courier

5. UK De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour 1914-1919

6. London Gazette

7. University College London, legacies of British slave ownership

8. The Times digital archive


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