Miley, Frederick James (Fred)
No. 1056802, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died of disease on Monday 26 January 1942 (aged 28)
Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Co. Down (Section 1.C Grave 86)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)
Bangor Grammar School
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery
Frederick James (Fred) Miley was born on 29 August 1913 in Duke Street, Athy, County Kildare and he was a son of Robert Miley who was born in County Wicklow and Margaret Mansfield Miley (nee Dixon) who was born in Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Robert Miley and Margaret Mansfield Dixon (sometimes Dickson) were married on 29 September 1909 in Clone (Solsboro) St. Paul’s Church of Ireland Church, Enniscorthy. Robert Miley (aged 30), a grocer from Athy, was a son of James Miley, a farmer. Margaret Mansfield Dixon (aged 24), a national schoolteacher from Enniscorthy, was a daughter of Daniel Dixon, an accountant.
Robert and Margaret Mansfield Miley (nee Dixon) had three children:
Robert Harman (Bertie, born 30 April 1912 in Athy)
Frederick James (Fred, born 29 August 1913 in Duke Street, Athy)
William Mansfield (Willie, born 8 June 1915 in Duke Street, Athy)
Robert Miley and his brother William ran a general merchandise store in Duke Street, Athy, Co. Kildare selling amongst other things groceries, hardware, china, and seeds.
Margaret Miley died on 8 June 1915 in childbirth and she was buried in Athy Church of Ireland Graveyard.
Robert Miley married May Fitzell on 5 April 1920 in Ballyheigue Parish Church of Ireland Church, Co. Kerry. Robert and May Miley had five children:
Gladys (born 20 December 1920; died 6 May 1937 aged 16)
Evelyn (born 21 November 1921)
Edward (Eddie, born 14 April 1923)
Norman (twin, born 15 June 1925)
Leslie (twin, born 15 June 1925; died 29 September 1925 aged 3 months)
It was in August 1924, after the Miley business had been burned out for the third time, that the Miley family left Athy.
William Miley established a grocery business at 717 Lisburn Road, Belfast and Robert Miley established a grocery business – the Mayflower Dairy – in Upper Main Street, Bangor. Robert Miley and his family lived above the shop.
Fred Miley was educated at Main Street Public Elementary School in Bangor and at Bangor Grammar School from 1926 until 1928. Fred and his brother Willie both won Entrance Scholarships to BGS in 1926. At school Fred excelled in all subjects and, when he left school, he managed the Prospect Branch of the Mayflower Dairy for his father. In 1936 Robert Miley acquired Prospect House, at the corner of Prospect Road and Donaghadee Road, Bangor. After that Fred worked as a junior representative in Belfast for Messrs R.S. Hudson Ltd.
Before the war Fred Miley was a Sunday School teacher in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and, along with three of his brothers, he was a member of the church choir under Dr Heathcote Emery. Fred was also a member of Ward Park Lawn Tennis Club and a member of the Bangor Men’s Detachment of the British Red Cross Society.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War Fred Miley joined the Medical Branch of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and he served for a considerable time in the Middle East. He volunteered to participate in tests designed to examine the effects of heat and cold on the human body. This involved immersion up to the neck in ice-cold water for varying lengths of time.
In 1941 he contracted an illness in Egypt, and after a protracted period of travelling, he was repatriated by Service Ambulance some three weeks before his death. Fred Miley was shipped home via the Red Sea, Durban, Cape Town, the West Indies, the North Atlantic and Scotland. The journey took more than six weeks.
Leading Aircraftman Fred Miley (No. 1056802) was 28 when he died during the afternoon of 26 January 1942 at his parent’s home – Risdale, 98 Donaghadee Road, Bangor. His funeral to Bangor Cemetery was conducted by the Rev. Walter Horatio Good and mourners included his brothers Bertie (an officer in the ATC in Bushmills), Willie (a Leading Aircraftman in the RAF stationed at Ballyhalbert), Eddie (on the staff of the Bank of Ireland) and Norman (a schoolboy) together with his sister Mrs Evelyn Thompson. On 20 February 1942, less than a month after Fred’s death, his eldest brother, Bertie Miley, died in Bushmills after a short illness. Bertie Miley was on the staff of Bushmills Secondary School.
Eddie Miley was Captain of the 6th Bangor Company of the Boy’s Brigade from 1950 until his death in 1972 and he is commemorated on a stained glass window in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).
After the death of Leading Aircraftman Fred Miley, the Headmaster of Bangor Grammar School said, ‘He had brilliant promise but he sacrificed his strength and youth and his splendid intellect in the cause of world freedom and international justice.’ Fred Miley was 28 when he died on 26 January 1942 and he was buried in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.
Leading Aircraftman Fred Miley (No. 1056802) is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s); in Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.
Fred Miley’s father Robert died on 1 November 1955 (aged 76) and his stepmother May died on 1 October 1987 (aged 93).