Sap­per Miller tribute in Canada’s Glen­coe

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ju­dith Ton­ner

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

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