Sapper Miller tribute in Canada’s Glencoe
An Airdrie war hero is being honoured at Remembrance Day – nearly 3500 miles away in the Canadian town of Glencoe.
Sapper John Miller appears on a banner put in place by his grandson and family, as part of a Royal Canadian Legion p r o g ra m m e w h i c h allows people to submit photographs of relatives who served in wars to form part of a major display in the streets of various towns and villages.
His grandson, also named John Miller, decided to include the soldier in the Remembrance programme after it was drawn to his attention by his sister and brother-in-law, Helen and Robert Lloyd.
John is also originally from Airdrie and emigrated to Canada with his family nearly 50 years ago, living in the Ontario town of London; while sister Helen is in nearby Glencoe where their grandfather is now being honoured.
World War I soldier Sapper John Miller was born at Johnston Street in Airdrie on April 22, 1886, to parents James and Maggie, nee Leckie.
He served for more than three years with the Royal Engineers, attached to the 412 Field Company in Egypt – and was awarded the military medal for bravery in the field, as well as the British war medal and victory medal.
Following demobilisation on his return from Egypt, he was transferred to the Reserve.
John was married to Sarah, nee Cherry; the couple lived at Davidson Street in Airdrie and had six children – John, Joe, Jim, Tommy, Margaret and Lettie.
He worked as a dresser at a steel mill on Gartlea Road for the majority of his life, working there until the age of 73. He died in October 1962, aged 76.
The soldier’s grandson John told the Advertiser: “It was quite emotional the first time we saw the banner hanging in Glencoe with the photograph of my grandfather, and we’re honoured to participate in this unique programme.
“My sister Helen and her husband Robert are members of the Royal Canadian Legion and they brought the programme to our attention; it allows family members to recognise those from the Commonwealth who served during the wars.”
He added: “When my father was alive I asked him if my Grampa ever spoke about his time in the war, but he said he would never speak about it.
“I remember walking down South Bridge Street in Airdrie with my Grampa every Saturday, and he would be wearing his ‘sweetie coat’ – when he wore it, I knew I was going for sweeties, and will always remember that.”
Ontario resident John lived at Clark Street as he grew up in Airdrie, attending Albert Primary and Airdrie Central schools and later becoming an apprentice fitter at Martin Black Wire Ropes in Coatbridge.
He met future wife Margaret Reid, of Salsburgh, at a dance hall in Airdrie; the couple were married in 1965 and have three daughters. After emigrating from Airdrie, John was a police officer in Ontario for a decade and later worked with General Motors.
John said: “I have great memories of growing up in Airdrie – I was very fortunate to play for Albert Primary in the Airdrie schools’ cup final when we beat Chapelside 1-0, and I remember being paraded around the town behind a pipe band!
“My greatest memory was the night I met Margaret; and I’m fortunate still to have quite a few relatives in the town.”
He added: “My grandson, Nick Schori, is a member of the Canadian air cadets and he and his platoon participate in the memorial service here in London every year.”
● Banner picture courtesy of Marie Williams Gagnon of Ontario newspaper Gazette Transcript and Free Press.
Banner John is being honoured in Glencoe, Canada
Brave John Miller was a decorated war hero