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Annandale's Great War: A Short Walk | Douglas Grant | The Fitzpatrick Brothers | 36th Battalion | Wireless Miller Brothers | End of the Great War | Trains, Sound, Film and Industry | Beale Pianos | Electricity | 1920s Annandale: A Short Walk
Brothers William, John and Campbell were telegraphists before enlisting.
William David Alexander Miller was part of the 14-20 Reinforcements assigned to the 7th Light Horse Regiment and embarked in March 1916. Sapper John Angus [Jack] Miller was assigned to the 1st Australian Wireless Squadron and embarked in May 1916. Campbell McQuarrie Miller embarked on 1 May 1918, as part of a Special Draft to Divisional Signal Companies and Signallers General Reinforcements, Special Draft (Egypt).
In 1916, William was awarded the Order of the Serbian White Eagle for Meritorious service, for staying at his post1 during the battles of Romani on August 4th and at Katia and Bir-el-Abd.2
In a letter to his parents in Annandale, he wrote the medal was awarded, by the King of Serbia on the recommendation of the General commanding in Egypt. The medal was inscribed 'For Meritorious Service.' Miller who worked at the Forbes Post Office, prior to enlisting, had already won a medal for his wireless signalling skills.3
Jack Miller wrote to a friend at the Forbes post office. "I landed away up here at Mogul five days ago, after some more than average rough stun ting with a cavalry brigade. For two weeks we banquetted on fresh air and a very limited supply of weevily biscuits, but eventually succeeded in getting around behind Jacko, and giving him some excellent finishing knocks. He now flies the white flag instead of the star and crescent, and his Mogul garrison band now performs in front of our brigade headquarters at four each afternoon, playing amongst other things "God Save the King," not omitting the "Send him victorious" part of it. I expect to be on the way home very soon, and intend purchasing a pub with the money I've made out of the war."4
We do not hear much about the 558 Australians who served in Mesopotamia. When Turkey entered the war, a British Expedition was sent into Mesopotamia, to protect India and the Anglo-Persian Oil Supply, to avert Arab hostility and any attempt by the Germans and Turks to stir the Persians, Afghans and Arabs.5
In December 1915, the British Indian Army was severely short of wireless equipment and operators. They approached Australia for a troop of wireless signallers.
The Operators were drawn from the Marconi School of Wireless in Sydney and the Signallers Depot at Broadmeadows(Victoria). The other half of the unit, 25 or so men, came from the Army Service Corps at Moore Park. The 1st Australian Pack Wireless Signal Troop sailed from Melbourne for Basra (Iraq), via Colombo and Bombay in February 1916. The balance of the 1st Wireless Squadron was made up of a unit from New Zealand.6
Marghanita da Cruz, August 2014
Author of Annandale's Great War: A Short Walk
1 1916 'PERSONAL.', Forbes Advocate (NSW : 1911 - 1921), 3 November, p. 4, viewed 25 August, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article100281157
5 Australians in Mesopotamia (Chapter 1, The Signal Units, 1916-17) http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1069687--1-.PDF
Each book in this series is a self guided historical walk through Annandale. Each walk explores the people and construction of Annandale. Each book covers two decades of Annandales History a hundred years apart. The first book in the series, 1890s Annandale: A Short Walk, covers the 1790s and 1890s.
This page www.ramin.com.au/annandale/wireless-miller-brothers.shtml last update 18 September 2014.