Submitted by John H Mills – who wanted to tell the story of his grandfather.
Herbert Mills was born on 16th May 1879 in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, four months before his parents were married. Shortly after the marriage his mother and father separated his father got into trouble with the Law, abandoned them and departed for America. Herbert and his mother went to live with her parents.
In 1891 he was still living with his grandparents and in 1911, age 31, he was living with his Aunt (his mother’s sister). He married in 1913 and had a son in 1914. His son went on to join the RASC in 1939.
Herbert, age 35, volunteered in Lord Kitchener’s “Volunteer Army”. He had been married less than two years and had a one year old son. He was a Power Loom Weaver in a woollen mill. He enlisted in Huddersfield on 4th June 1915. His Attestation puts him in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Mental Assistant and posted to RAMC 92nd Field Ambulance Unit, Crookham, Aldershot.
He was posted to the, 15th Northumberland Fusiliers in August 1915.
From August to September 1915 he was stationed at Hamersley, Physical Training Base Aldershot, and from September 1915 to March 1916 at Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase. Rugeley Camp was a training camp which replicated the trenches in France and was used for training soldiers prior to embarking to the Front Line. He was promoted Corporal in November 1915.
In March 1916 he was posted to France where after only three weeks he was returned home to the Reading War Hospital where he spent twelve days, having suffered a detached retina of the right eye and diagnosed with myopic astigmatism.
After leaving hospital he rejoined the 15th Northumberland Fusiliers at Aldershot. He was promoted Sergeant in May 1916. In September 1916 the 15th Battalion was absorbed into Training Reserve Battalions of the 1st Reserve Brigade. He was appointed Provost in October 1916.
In December 1917 he was transferred to the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. The transfer was annotated “compulsory” on his service record.
His service record also records that he was embarked for “Syren” [the code name for the British North Russia Expeditionary Force sent for service at Murmansk, Russia] on 16th October 1918 and disembarked Murmansk 28th November 1918.
He returned to England from Archangel in June 1919.
In the same month he was put on charge for being absent without permission from midnight to 11.00 hrs the following day. [He was probably out celebrating his release from the Hell of Russia and the sea voyages, and his imminent release from the British Army]. For this misdemeanour he was “Severely Reprimanded”.
He was Demobilised 2nd August 1919 and transferred to Class Z Army Reserve.
He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal in respect of his service with the Yorkshire Regiment (The Green Howards).
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