Sapper Albert Miller

A white circle with a glove crossing it's fingers and the words: Made Possible with Heritage Fund.This man is a candidate for addition to Keighley's Supplementary Volume under the proposal to add further names in 2024, the centenary of the original roll of honour.
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Supported by the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, our project intends to submit about 120 names for peer review to add them to the book which is kept at Keighley Library. The unveiling of the book with it's new names is planned for November 2024, 100 years after the unveiling of the original war memorial.

Sapper. 69th Field Coy. Royal Engineers Service Number: 185719

Poor quality newspaper photograph of a soldier from the Great War. He is wearing an Army jacket and cap.

Sapper Albert Miller

Early life:

Albert's parents were Charles Miller and Sarah Miller née Marshall who were married on 19th May 1877. Albert was a 21 year old joiner living at Turkey Street and Sarah was 19 year old worsted spinner of Harrison's Square in Keighley.

Albert was born in 1878, his birth registered in Keighley in the third quarter of the year.
In the 1881 census he was aged two and living at 3, Bengal Street in Keighley with his parents and younger brother Frank aged eight months. Charles was a joiner and builder at the time.
Also with them at the census were Sarah's parents Joseph aged 66 and Margaret Marshall aged 64 and Sarah's sister Anna Marshall aged 31.
Albert's father tragically died aged just 31 in June 1887, which was registered at Keighley in the second quarter of the year.
In the 1891 census, Albert was twelve and a factory doffer, living at 26, West Leeds Street with his widowed mother Sarah aged 33 and a charwoman. Also here were Frank aged ten and Louisa aged eight and Annie aged four. Sarah's sister Ann was also here aged 40 and a wool drawer.

In the 1901 census Albert was 22 and living at 22, Devonshire Street West with his mother Sarah aged 43. Albert was a joiner. His brother Frank was 20 and a textile machine fitter. Their sister Louisa was 18 and a woolen machine minder and Annie was 14 and a worsted spinner. Sarah's sister Ann Marshall was still living with them and was a 51 year old wool drawer.

Albert was aged 27 when he married 26 year old Mabel Cowgill on 6th January 1906 at the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Alice Street (now known as Central Hall) Albert was a journeyman joiner living at 22, Devonshire Street and Mabel was a worsted drawer living at 18, Quarry Street, in the Parkwood area of Keighley.

Albert had left home by the 1911 census and was living with Mabel at 6, Balfour Street in Keighley. He was aged 32 and a joiner for a washing machine manufacturer. He'd been married to 32 year old Mabel Miller for five years and they had no children.

War service:

Albert enlisted or was called up in July 1916. The Soldier's Effects record calculation gives an approximate date of enlistment of July 1916. This is based on the amount of war gratuity being calculated by a Albert's rank and his length of service before his death.
Albert initially served with the Royal Sussex Regiment, service number 23327 before being transferred to the Royal Engineers.

He was serving with the 69th Field Company, Royal Engineers when he was wounded by a bomb. He was evacuated to no. 53 Casualty Clearing Station where he died of his wounds on 23rd August 1918.

See map: 62D 1/40,000 K.1.d.2.6. Near Morlancourt.

WO-95/1840/1. War diary of 69 Field Company. August 1918:

20/21 August:
Preparing billets. K1.d.2.6. & constructing shelters for M.G. K.4.c.8.5. - Adv. Bde. HQ. K.9.b.4.6.

22nd August:
Dismounted moved to K.1.d.2.6. - 2 Sections employed on Tracks E.29.d. to F.19.d - 2 Sections employed in operations. Consolidating line F.113.a.o.2. to F.13.d.6.8. & Examining Captured Dugouts for Booby Traps - 5 other ranks wounded.

23rd August:
Section remain attached to Brigade for operations and until further orders.

WO-95/1835/1. War diary of Commander, Royal Engineers. August 1918:

On the 22nd the 69th Field Company R.E. carried tracks forward to a new Brigade Front, but did not tape out Line of Resistance on Right Flank as this was not reached. One Section assisted with consolidation. 2nd Section taped out Line of Resistance on Left of Right Brigade and assisted in construction of 5 Strong Points F.13.a.0.2. to F.13.d.6.0. Remainder consolidated in E.29.d. to protect Right Flank. There was rather a shortage of Tools for work by Infantry Parties.
Each Field Company R.E. detailed 18 men to search Dig-outs for Booby Traps. About 20 Dug-outs were found intact and marked "Safe."

Keighley News 7th September 1918, page 3:

Mrs. Albert Miller, of 11, Rose Street, Keighley, has received a letter from a sister in charge of the C.C.S. in France informing her of the death of her husband, Sapper Albert Miller of the R.E., who died from bomb wounds on August 23 last. He had been in France twelve months, and prior to enlistment was a member of the Park Lane Primitive Methodist choir for many years, and was employed as a joiner by the Co-operative Iron Works Society in Keighley.


We think that Albert was involved in locating and making safe several booby traps in German dug-outs when one went off, wounding five men. The other four men survived but Albert died of his wounds the next day.

Albert was buried in grave 34 of row C in plot V, of Daours Communal Cemetery Extension in France. Daours is a village in the Department of the Somme, about 10 kilometres east of Amiens and is north-west of Villers-Bretonneux.

Post war:

Albert's widow and sole legatee in his will, Mabel would have received his personal effects and any outstanding Army pay. She received a payment of £18 3s 0d on 25th November 1918 and a war gratuity of £9 on 4th December 1919.
She would also have received his service medals which were the British War Medal and Victory Medal and would have had a bronze war memorial plaque and a King's scroll inscribed with Albert's name. These generally arrived in early 1920.
Mabel had an inscription for Albert Miller on her family grave in section K of Utley Cemetery. It reads:

In Loving Memory of My Dear Husband
Spr. Albert Miller, R.E.
Died of wounds, August 23rd 1918, Buried at Communcal Cemetery, Amiens, France. Aged 40 years.
'Ever Remembered.'

Mabel also applied for a widow's pension and received a £5 grant payment on 13th September 1918, and on 10th March 1919 she began receiving a pension of 21 shillings and 3 pence per week. Her home address at the time was 11, Rose Street in Worth Village, Keighley.

A decorated gravestone in a grassed area of a cemetery. it has words inscibed on the front face.

Mabel's family grave with an inscription dedicated to Albert Miller.

In the 1921 census Mabel was 41 and living alone at 11, Rose Street off Parkwood Road. She was of private means which may mean that she was able to cope with just her widow's pension.

Mabel married former soldier Albert Frobisher on 5th July 1921, not long after the census. Their marriage was registered in Keighley in the third quarter of the year and it took place at Alice Street Primitive Methodist Church. They were both aged 42.
Albert was a divorcee and employed as an iron turner at a machine tool works. He was living at 2, Louisa Street and Mabel was at 11, Rose Street, both of which were in Worth Village, off Dalton Lane in Keighley.
They had a son, Harold, born in 1922 and registered at North Bierley (Shipley).
Albert Frobisher died in December 1928.
Grave inscription at Utley Cemetery:

In loving memory of a dear husband and father, Albert Frobisher died 3rd December 1928 aged 49. Ever Remembered.

In the 1939 register Mabel was living at 6, Water Street in Keighley with her son Harold Frobisher and step daughter Sarah Frobisher. Also living with them was Percy Mitchell.
Mabel died aged 88 years, with her death registered at Lancaster in the third quarter of 1968.
Grave inscription at Utley Cemetery:

Mabel Frobisher wife of the above, died 30th July 1968, aged 88 years.

Information sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1881 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985
1911 England Census
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library
Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
British Army World War I Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
World War I Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
1921 Census Of England & Wales
1939 England and Wales Register
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985
England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007

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