Ernest James Miller was born and raised in Chelmsford where he worked for the National Steam Car Company. He joined the army in October 1916 and went to the front in January 1917. He was killed in action in near Ypres in August 1917. His late parents and brother lived in Lower Anchor Street.
Ernest was born in Chelmsford in 1879, the second son of Charles Brown Miller and Emma Miller (nee Faircloth). His father had been born in 1847 in Chelmsford; his mother c1852 in Finchingfield. They married in 1875.
Ernest’s five siblings (all Chelmsford-born) included Charles Cuthbert Miller, (1877-1967), Clara Mary Ann Miller (1882-1939), and Florence Gertrude Miller (1884-1959). Two of the siblings were to die before 1911.
The 1881 census found Ernest, his parents and a brother living at 13 Lower Anchor Street, Chelmsford. Ernest’s father was a carman. A decade later the next census found the family still at the same house and Ernest’s father still employed as a carman. By 1901 Ernest had started work as a self-employed carman - furniture and general, a profession he shared with his father, and the census of that year recorded him living with his parents and elder brother Charles (a bricklayer) at 13 Lower Anchor Street. (subsequently renumbered as 17).
The 1911 census found 32 year-old Ernest unmarried and living with his parents, sister Florrie and cousin George W. Smith at 17 Lower Anchor Street. Ernest was a bricklayer’s labourer. His father was a self-employed general carter; his sister worked for Marconi’s and his cousin was a grinder.
Ernest’s father died in 1914. His mother died the following year.
Ernest enlisted at Chelmsford in October 1916 and served as 32087 in the Essex Regiment. He went to France in January 1917 and was killed in action on 13th August 1917 while serving as Rifleman 10/41267 in the 10th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. He is buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen in Belgium (grave: IV. C. 3).
On 31st August 1917 the Essex County Chronicle included the following family announcement:
“Miller. - Killed in action, on August 13th, Ernest James Miller. Royal Irish Rifles, second son of the late Mr. Charles Miller. carman, Lower Anchor Street, Chelmsford.”
MILLER, ERNEST JAMES,
Rifleman, 10th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (formerly of the Essex Regiment)
The same edition carried a further report on his death:
“Rifleman Ernest James Miller, Royal Irish Rifles, killed in action on Aug. 13th, was son of Mr. Chas. Miller, carman, and only brother of Mr. Charles Miller, 16 Lower Anchor Street, Chelmsford. Deceased joined up voluntarily in October 1916, and went to the Front in Jan. last. He was formerly employed by the National Steam Car Co., Ltd., for a number of years, and was very popular with his shopmates, He was unmarried, and was 38 years of age.”
The day’s Essex Weekly News also covered his death:
“Intimation has been received by Mr. C. Miller, Lower Anchor-st., Chelmsford, that his only brother, Rifleman Ernest Miller, Irish Rifles, was killed in action on Aug. 13. The deceased joined voluntarily in October, 1916, and went out in January last. He was for many years in the employ of the National Steam Car Co. Ltd., and was very popular with his shopmates.”
Ernest is commemorated on the Civic Centre Memorial, Chelmsford, and the Moulsham Parish Memorial, St John’s Church, Moulsham. He was entitled to the Victory and British War medals.
The 1918 register of electors showed Ernest’s brother Charles at 16 Lower Anchor Street (subsequently demolished).