Private John Millar

Private John Millar, 16th ( 2nd Edinburgh) Battalion Royal Scots. He died of wounds suffered during the Battle of the Somme in France on 5th July 1916 aged 20. He was the son of the Mary Ann and the late John Millar of Valley View, Gattonside, Melrose and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France. His Headstone is inscribed “I Thank God For Every Remembrance Of Him Mother ” It is likely that Private Millar was wounded on the first day of the Battle on 1st July when his Battalion attacked the strong German defences at La Boiselle. Some progress was made into the German positions in the face of a storm of shells and machine gun fire and these captured positions were held until relieved on the 4th July. It is known that the Battalion managed a deeper penetration than any other on that fateful day. Casualties were severe. Over the three days 6 Officers were killed and 3 wounded. Oher Rank casualties were 460 in killed wounded and missing. ( the Battalion was really a “Pals Battalion ” known as McCrae’s Battalion after its founder. Many of its members were footballers and supporters. Heart of Midlothian’s entire first team squad enlisted in it together with 500 Heart’s supporters and 150 Hibernian players and supporters together with players from Raith Rovers, Falkirk and Dunfermline. ). The photograph shows a recently captured trench on the Somme with its typically chalky soil.

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