Private George William Miles

George William Miles © Dorking Advertiser Local World Images

Thank you to Jane Anthony for the following research.

George William Miles, born in 1884, was the oldest child and only son of Fanny Miles. Fanny was widowed at a young age and was left to bring up her three children single handedly. George worked at the lime works in Betchworth but at the time he enlisted in the 9th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, he gave his occupation as being a gardener.

The 9th battalion was formed as a service battalion of the new Army in August 1914 and George enlisted in the following month. Along with other service battalions of the East Surrey Regiment it was amalgamated into the First Battalion during the war.

George Miles Injury Notice 2nd September 1916 © Dorking Advertiser

George was discharged from the army as being no longer physically fit on 18th March 1916 and he was given a very good character record.

Death of Pte. G. W. Miles

The deepest sympathy is felt for Mrs. Miles, a widow living in Middle Street, who on Saturday received notice that her only son, Pte. George William Miles, had died from diphtheria on the previous night at the South Eastern Hospital, New Cross. Private Miles enlisted in the 9th East Surrey Regiment in September 1914, and was sent to France in the following August. He had one narrow escape, when the the heel of one of his boots was blown off by shell explosion. Early in February last he was the victim of gas poisoning and suffered acutely, pneumonia intervening. After a month’s detention in France he was removed to King George’s Hospital, London, and two months later to Sutton Convalescent Home. A few weeks later he was compelled to return to the London Hospital, and it was only after nearly seven months that he was once more able to go to Sutton. Unfortunately, he quickly contracted diptheria, which caused his death. Pte. Miles would have been 32 years old today (January 5th). The funeral took place at Nunhead Cemetery on Thursday afternoon.

Funeral of a Brockham Soldier

Pte. George William Miles, East Surrey Regiment, who died on the 29th ult from diphtheria at the South-Eastern Hospital, New Cross, was buried in Nunhead Cemetery on Thursday afternoon. Railway warrants had been sent to allow two relatives to travel from Betchworth Station, the widowed mother was, however, unable to attend, but a sister, Miss D. Miles, was present, and a mourning coach was provided to convoy her and others from the hospital to the cemetery. The funeral was of a military character, a short service conducted by the Assistant Chaplain, the Rev. Rice Jones, at the which the whole staff were present, was held outside the mortuary. The coffin enveloped in the Union Jack was

conveyed on a gun carriage from hospital to cemetery, a mounted non-commissioned officer leading the way, and soldiers walking on either side of the carriage. The mourners were Miss D. Miles (sister), Mrs. Stanbridge and Mrs. H. Skilton (aunts), Mr. George Beadle (cousin), and Mrs. Beadle, Miss Ruth Boxall (cousin), Mrs. A. Lambert (cousin), and Miss S. Lambert. On the conclusion of the sad ceremony, the usual volleys were fired, and the “Last Post” sounded by the buglers. The beautiful floral tributes included “In ever loving memory of dear George, from his sorrowing mother and sisters Isabel and Dorothy”; With deepest sympathy, Uncle Will and Aunt Rose”; “With deep sympathy, Kate and George,” and a most magnificent cross of the choicest flowers, inscribed “With sincere sympathy from the Hospital Staff.” The deceased soldier’s relatives have been touched by the great car and attention he received at the hands of the military authorities, and also from the doctors and nurses, etc., at the various hospitals, at which he was stationed during his long illnesses (11 months). At times he was able to make dainty little baskets, and he became quite an expert at art needlework, many specimens of which are now in his mother’s possession.

Singularly, Pte. Arthur Pelham, the Queen’s, whose military funeral at Sidlow is recorded in last Friday’s issue of the Surrey Mirror, was his mother’s cousin, and the two soldiers were at one time inmates together at King George’s Hospital, London.

He died in the Southern Eastern Hospital, New Cross on 29th December 1916 and was buried in the Nunhead Cemetery in South East London. This is one of the large Victorian Cemeteries and has a number of graves from the First World War, as well a wall plaques commemorating the dead buried there.

Son of Fanny Miles of 2 Middle Street, Brockham
Regiment 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Number 1788
Date of Death 29th December 1916
Place of Death South Eastern Hospital, New Cross, London
Cause of Death Died of diphtheria
Age 32
Cemetery Nunhead (All Saints) Cemetery, London

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