The MILLS family – Lance Sergeant MILLS, George Emery (1895-1915)

g-e-mills.jpgAmos Mills (1869-1955) and Annie Elizabeth Daniels (1862-1950) married in Hull, where Annie was born, in 1894.  They had two children, George Emery (1895-1915) who was born in the parish of St George, Hull in 1895 and Marjorie (1899-), who was born in Leicester and baptised at St Martin’s on 18th March 1899.  In 1898-1899 they all lived at 7 Hazel Street, Amos working as a travelling sales representative.  In 1901 the family – including Annie’s widowed mother – lived at 95 Narborough Road.  In 1904 they lived at 111 Fosse Road South and Amos was a district manager for James Hole and Co, brewers.  In 1905 they all moved to 10 Daneshill Road where Annie and Amos would live for the rest of their lives.  There was a strong link with St Martin’s – Amos served as a songman in the choir between 1899 and 1928, and as sidesman for a further four years.

Mills 10 Daneshill Road
10 Daneshill Road

 

George was still at school at Wyggeston Boys’ School aged 16, which prepared him for his work by 1914 as a clerk at the London City & Midland Bank.  He joined the 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment on 1st September 1914 at Leicester and was swiftly promoted to Lance Corporal and then Corporal on 31st October 1914.  In January 1915 he was appointed Lance Sergeant.  George landed in France very early on 25th June 1915, one of a draft of 91 men who joined the Battalion at a field camp which was being drenched by a heavy thunderstorm.  He arrived at 1.30pm at Poperinghe, Flanders and paraded the next morning with the rest of the new draft.  At 7pm the Battalion relieved the 5th Notts and Derbyshires at Sanctuary Wood.  And so followed four months of ordinary life in the trenches: Training, marching, digging and lookout – often under fire.

On 10th October 1915 Church of England divine service followed by Holy Communion was held at 12 noon, immediately following two hours’ training.  The Battalion had spent part of the previous day “practising attack.”  The War Diary records that on 12th October 1915 the Battalion marched five miles at 9am from Hesdigneul to Sailly-Labourse where they had some hot food.  They marched a further 2.5 miles on to Vermelles at 5.15pm and arrived at the trenches by 11pm.  At noon the following morning the British Artillery began its bombardment.  An hour later smoke and gas were deployed, for almost an hour.  At 2pm the Battalion assaulted the Hohenzollern Redoubt.  By the end of that day “all the officers of the Battalion were either killed or wounded.”  They were relieved on 14th October and went back to Lancaster Trench, where a roll call was held.  188 officers and men returned.  The strength on 14th June had been 15 officers and 621 other ranks.  This was the most significant battle in which the 1/4th Leicestershires were involved and it was the battle in which George died.  He was pronounced missing on 13th October 1915, and this was later revised to killed in action when his body, or part of it, was found by 1st Scots Guards some time later.  However the body not recovered for reburial after armistice, so George is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to over 20,000 men and officers who have no known grave and who died in the area.

George’s effects were sent to his father on 21st February 1916, consisting of four pounds and seven shillings saved from his army pay.  In 1917 his mother helped with the St Martin’s stall at the Mayor’s Bazaar which raised money for the war effort. George’s parents placed a memorial notice to him in the Leicester Mercury on 4th December 1917 which read “MILLS – In loving memory of George E Mills, only son of Mr & Mrs Mills, 10, Danes Hill-road, killed in the attack on Hohenzollern Redoubt, Oct. 13th, 1915 aged 20 years.”  His picture also appeared in the Roll of Honour.

In May 1919 Mr Mills asked Canon Nugee, who had been vicar of St Martin’s during the war years but who by now had semi-retired to Shangton Rectory, to witness his application for George’s memorial scroll.  This was received by Amos and Annie in December.  Almost two years later they received his medals, which Amos acknowledged on 17th October 1921.  Amos remained with James Hole and Co until his retirement in 1935.  Annie died in 1950 and Amos in 1955 still living at 10 Daneshill Road.

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