McMillan, Robert James (No. 936)

McMillan, Robert James (Robert)

Private

No. 936, 18th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force (AIF)

Killed in action on Friday 27 August 1915 (aged 33)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey (Panel 62)

Australian War Memorial

Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque

First Bangor Presbyterian Church

Bangor Masonic Lodge No. 746

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt McMillen.

Robert James McMillan was born on 1 November 1881 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor and he was a son of George and Margaret (Maggie) McMillan (nee McFerran) who were married on 6 November 1876 in Linenhall (University Road) Presbyterian Church Belfast.  George McMillan from Bangor was a son of James McMillan, a spinner.  Margaret McFerran from Bangor was a daughter of John McFerran.

The McMillan family lived at 59 Gray’s Hill, Bangor

George McMillan worked as a stonemason/bricklayer and he and Maggie had six children:

James (born 12 November 1877 in Bangor; died 26 April 1881 aged 3)

John (born 30 August 1879 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor)

Robert James (born 1 November 1881 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor; named James in memory of his brother who died)

Matilda (Meta, born 21 August 1884 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor)

Isabella McFerran (born 15 January 1887 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor)

George (born 17 March 1890 in Gray’s Hill, Bangor)

Robert James McMillan worked as a carpenter before he moved to Australia.  He served his apprenticeship with W. Pollock in Bangor.  In Australia he worked as a farmer and he, his wife Jessie and their daughter Margaret lived in New Gunsgreen, Quirindi, New South Wales.

Robert James McMillan enlisted on 5 March 1915 in Liverpool, New South Wales and in his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 9½ inches tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair.  He served with the 18th Battalion Australian Infantry and he wrote his last postcard to his wife on 19 August 1915 when he was at sea on his way from Egypt to Gallipoli.

Private Robert McMillan was posted as wounded and missing on 27 August 1915 at Gallipoli and for more than two years Jessie McMillan sought definitive information about her husband.  In February 1917 she wrote ‘Surely the Military Authorities ought after 18 months to be able to give me some definite decision’.  At a Court of Enquiry held in April 1917 it was found that ‘there is no evidence available in the Battalion regarding this man’ and so no verdict was reached.  Then, in September 1917 another Court ruled that he had been killed in action ‘on or about 27 August 1915’.  Evidence was heard that Robert McMillan had been taking part in a charge at Hill 60 when he was hit in the face by a bullet.  One informant reported that he had spoken to Robert and that his only words had been ‘I’m done’.  Private Robert James McMillan (No. 936) was 33 when he died and it was his widow Jessie who received his Memorial Scroll, Memorial Plaque and Medals after the war ended.

Private Robert James McMillan (No. 936) has no known grave and he is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in First Bangor Presbyterian Church and in Bangor Masonic Lodge No. 746.