Millar, William Barry Ritchie (No. 2653)

Millar, William Barry Ritchie (Barry)


No. 2653, 45th Battalion, Australian Infantry, Australian Imperial Force (AIF)

Killed in action on Thursday 7 June 1917 (aged 25)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 7-17-23-25-27-29-31)

Australian War Memorial

Ballygowan Presbyterian Church

Family grave headstone in Ballygowan Presbyterian Graveyard


William Barry Ritchie Millar was born on 15 November 1891 in Ballygowan and he was a son of John and Mary Millar (nee Rainey) who were married on 19 August 1890 in Second Comber Presbyterian Church.  John Millar from Ballygowan was a son of James Millar, a farmer.  Mary Rainey from Ballygowan was a daughter of Alexander Rainey, a farmer.

The Millar family lived at Rockmount, Ballygowan.

John Millar was a farmer and he and Mary had at least six children:

William Barry Ritchie (born 15 November 1891 in Ballygowan)

Jane Rainey (born 22 January 1893 in Ballygowan)

Alexander Rainey (born 9 November 1894 in Ballygowan; died 22 November 1972)

James (born 17 February 1897 in Ballygowan)

Samuel Abernethy Rainey (born 6 June 1899 in Ballygowan)

Margaret (born 1 December 1902 in Ballygowan; 3 November 1971)

Barry Millar worked for Riddel’s Hardware Merchants and Ironmongers, Donegall Place, Belfast and his colleagues there presented him with a gold watch before he left for Australia in August 1913.  In Australia he worked as a commercial traveller before he enlisted on 4 July 1915 in Liverpool, New South Wales.  In his attestation papers it was noted that he was 5 feet 11 inches tall with a fair complexion, grey eyes and fair hair.  He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on 19 April 1916 and Corporal on 10 August 1916. Corporal Barry Millar was killed in action at Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917.

On 1 July 1917 a memorial service was held for Corporal Barry Millar in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.  The Rev William K. McLernon paid tribute to his memory by recalling the fact that Barry was ‘one of the first two members of the Sunday School to gain the gold medal for ten successive years of attendance without being once absent and that his attendance was maintained until he became a member of the teaching staff of the School’.

Corporal William Barry Ritchie Millar (No. 2653) is commemorated in Ballygowan Presbyterian Church and on the family grave headstone in the adjoining graveyard.

His mother Mary died on 6 May 1935 (aged 74) and his father John died on 18 March 1940 (aged 90).