Miller, Basil William


Son of James Inkerman Miller, an Irishman born in Derry in late 1854. By the time of his son’s birth, James Miller was a civil servant working for the Board of Trade in London, and the family appear to have been living with his mother-in-law. He married Harriet, whose surname coincidentally was also Miller. The couple married in Fulham in 1882. Basil was their eldest child, born in Hammersmith in 1888, followed by a sister, Margery, the following year.

By 1901, the family had moved to 4 George Street, Louth, Lincolnshire, and Basil came to Winchester for four terms in 1903 to 1904, having previously attended University College School. On leaving Winchester he went on to study engineering at University College, London.

On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and by June 1916 they were on the Somme and took part in the attack on Ovillers (among the battalion’s dead were two Old Wykehamists, 2nd Lt. Arthur Cook and Captain the Hon. Roland Philipps – see individual entries). After a couple of minor attacks they moved to Arras for a rest before returning to the Somme, and by the beginning of October were in place at Gueudecourt. The battalion’s objective was the capture of Bayonet Trench but as soon as they climbed out of their own trenches they were cut down by machine gun fire.

Miller was one of the 161 listed as “missing” but was actually killed in this attack. He was not included in the list of war dead for War Cloister, an omission which was only brought to the school’s attention some eighty years later, by Wykehamist, Richard Stevens. His name was finally added in a space on the north wall of War Cloister on 16th June 2006.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Miller
  • Forenames or initials: Basil William
  • House: D
  • Years in School: 1903-1904
  • Rank: Private
  • Regiment: Royal Fusiliers
  • Date of Birth: 8th August 1888
  • Date of Death: 7th October 1916
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer G4
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Unknown but commemorated on Pier and Face 8C, 9A and 16A of the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL