Thomas Frank “Tom” Miller GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 07/10/1890 Portland, Dorset.  d. 13/12/1974 Acocks Green, Birmingham

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 24/09/1921 Nilambur, India.

Thomas Frank “Tom” Miller (1890-1974) was born on 7th October 1890 in Portland, Dorset, the son of Thomas and Louisa Elizabeth Miller (nee Coats). He was baptised on the 29th October 1890.  His father was a Prison Warden at Portland Prison, and Thomas junior was the youngest of six children (three brothers and two sisters). As a child, Thomas junior lived with his family on the grounds of the prison.

Thomas F “Tom” Miller GC

Tom, as he became known, attested in the Dorsetshire Regiment on 2nd December 1907 as No 8417 and served in the 2nd Battalion in Mesopotamia and Palestine. He was wounded twice, firstly on 14th April 1915 at the Battle of Shaiba and secondly on 25th March 1917 at the Battle of Tebel-Hamrin.

At the end of the Great War, Tom chose to re-enlist for a further four years at Damascus, Syria in 1919 and went out to India with the 2nd Dorsets from Portland in September that year. Based at Belgaum, the Battalion became embroiled in the Moplah Rebellion of 1921-1922.

At Nilambur, Malabar, India on the 24th September 1921, Pte Miller displayed great gallantry by going forward towards a rebel ambush and firing on it at close range. He was instrumental in dislodging several snipers who were causing casualties to the British troops. He and Sgt Hand subsequently showed great courage in clearing up the situation.

On 1st June 1923, Ptes Miller & Frederick Troake, Sgt William Hand and Assistant Surgeon 3rd Class George Rodrigues were all awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for their actions in the Malabar Uprisings. Tom then served in Sudan and Egypt with the 2nd Dorsets before leaving the Army in 1925 after 18 years’ service. In civilian life, he became a jobbing gardener, and later moved from Portland to Birmingham.

In September 1940, following the creation of the George Cross by King George VI, all EGM’s were automatically exchanged for the new award. Tom attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 29th July 1947 being presented with his GC by King George VI.

Tom died on 13th December 1974 in Birmingham, having lost his wife Elsie only months before. He was cremated at the Robin Hood Crematorium in Solihull and his ashes were scattered on Lawn D where his wife’s ashes had already been placed. Tom’s medals including his GC, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, India General Service Medal 1908-35 with clasp “Malabar 1921-22” and 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953 were sold at auction in 2011 for £16,000 and were purchased on behalf of Lord Ashcroft, and are displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum.