Alfred Walter George MILLER

Poppy

MILLER, Alfred Walter George

Service Number: SX310
Enlisted: 20 October 1939, Keswick, SA
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Palmer, South Australia, 29 October 1916
Home Town: Ponde, Mid Murray, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Dairyman
Died: Killed in action, Egypt, 24 October 1942, aged 25 years
Cemetery: El Alamein War Cemetery
Plot A IV Row D Grave 7.
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mannum War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

20 Oct 1939: Involvement Sergeant, SN SX310, 2nd/10th Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1939: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, SN SX310, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1939: Involvement Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, SN SX310, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1939: Enlisted Keswick, SA
17 Oct 1942: Transferred 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Sergeant, SN SX310, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

‘His Duty Nobly Done’

Alfred was born on the 29th October, 1916 in Palmer, South Australia, a small agricultural and mining town nestled between Mannum and Tungkillo. His parents were William George and Alice Ellen Miller who had five children including Bill, Kath, Gladys, and Rita.
Post school, Alf worked as a dairyman but also served with the Militia from the 29th August ’32 as 91498 when he was an 18 year old living in Edwardstown, giving Minnie Eugene Jones as his next of kin. With the outbreak of WWII Alf was one of the first to enlist just prior to his 23rd birthday on the 9th October ’39 at Keswick. On his papers he this time gave his mother, who had remarried and become Alice Richards living in Mildura, as his next of kin. Alf became SX310 and was initially allocated to the 2/10th Battalion. By May ’40 he was shipped to Sydney and soon after headed to Scotland. His leadership skills were recognised with an initial promotion to Corporal, before arriving in the Middle East. There he was moved to the 18th Trig Battalion and promoted to Sergeant. After attending Infantry School and undertaking a Weapons Course, Alf had a bout of hospitalisation in March ’42.
Soon after, in May ’42 Alf had a run in with a superior officer and was later transferred to the 2/48th Battalion on the 12th October from Staging Camp. He had barely come to know his fellow soldiers when aged 25, he was killed in action in Egypt on the 24th October ’42. At that time his new battalion was involved in a massive assault to ambitiously take the strategic position of Trig 29. The evening was described by John Glenn in ‘Tobruk to Tarakan’ as ‘an occasional burst from a machine gun disturbed the night of 24th October. Nevertheless, it was a busy time for the tired men. Little or no sleep could be had. A hot meal sent forward after dark was quickly swallowed. There was no time for yarning. Defences had to be improved, more digging and wiring done and patrols sent out.’ He later added that ‘the 2/48th had stirred up a real hornets’ nest.’ On that night alone 9 of the Battalion were killed and 20 wounded in action. Of these 16 were from South Australia and the remainder from Western Australia.
Glenn described the conditions where arrangements were made for ‘mines, wire ammunition, food, water, overhead cover, sandbags, tools, anti-tank guns, and all the rest, and holding the present position while preparing to launch another attack. And while all this was being done, the battalion was subjected to murderous fire from artillery and mortars.’
Back home the full extent of the losses began to be reported in the Advertiser in November. Killed In Action.— SX7832 Pte. Max C. Boase. 2/48th Millicent; SX6896 Pte. Lance Chapman, 2/48th North Moonta; SX5226 Pte. Charles. L. K. Cock, 2/43rd Solomontown; SX7260 Sgt. Charles Fraser. 2/48th, Norwood; SX10466 Pte. Ernest L Freeman, 2/43rd, Calca; SX8651 Sgt. Lindsay R. Goode, 2/48th., Malvern; SX13580 Pte. Ronald A. Grist. 2/48th Port Noarlunga; SX8587 Pte. George W. Haywood, 2/48th Mount Compass: SX7429 Cpl. James Hinson, 2/48th Plympton: SX310 Sgt. Alfred W G. Miller, 2/48th Ponde; SX9488 Pte. Eric L. Montgomerie, 2/48th., Edwardstown; SX7375 Sgt Charlie E. Plummer, 2/48th College Park; SX7176 A-Cpl. William C. Quinn, 2/48th Bordertown; SX8113 Pte. Michael N. Riley, 2/48th Burnside; SX7298 Cpl. Harold Sandercock, 2/48th Maitland; SX7732 Ste. Clem H. Schulz, 2/48th Yorketown; SX12924 Pte. Richard Speck, 2/48th Blanchetown; SX849J Pte. Arthur G. Wilson, 2/48th Glanville. These were the cream of Australia’s young men.
The same paper carried brief news that ‘Mrs. C. Richards, of 51 Cureton Avenue, Mildura, has been notified that her youngest son, Sgt. Alf. Miller, aged 26, was killed in action in Egypt on October 24.’
Initially Alf was buried at El Alamein, but was reburied in the El Alamein War Cemetery om the 23rd March ’45 in Plot A IV Row D Grave 7. He rests now with others from the 3rd Anti-Tank regiment, the A.A.M.C. 2/3 Australian Pnr Battalion, 2/17th and 2/28th Battalions, who were killed at a similar time to Alf. His family chose the inscription ‘His Duty Nobly Done’.
Alf’s siblings paid tribute to his service.
Advertiser November 1942, MILLER. - A loving tribute to the memory of Sgt. Alf. Miller killed In action. Egypt. Oct. 24. brother of Bill, Kath, Gladys, Rita. Age shall not weary him nor the years condemn. MILLER.—A tribute to Sgt. Alfred Walter Miller, killed in action on October 24, in Egypt. Loving friend of Mrs. Lowe and family, Mannum. His duty nobly done.
Advertiser Tuesday 24 October 1944, MILLER, SX3I0, Sgt. A. W. —In memory of brother Alf, killed El Alamein, Oct. 24, 1942. And this we know, on that night great deeds were done; a battle fought and he was there. —inserted by Bill, Kath, Glady, Rita.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.

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