HIGH HURSTWOOD

ITS HISTORY from the STONE AGE to the 21st CENTURY

 

ITS BUILDINGS AND LANDS, THE FAMILIES THAT OCCUPIED THEM,

AND THE ACTIVITIES THAT WENT ON THERE

 

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The MILLER Family
of Iron Castle

 

 

James & Louisa Miller’s Family

 

Chart of James & Louisa Miller's Family

 

James Miller, known as Jim, was the second of the eight children, and the eldest son, of Thomas and Annie Miller. He was born at Naldretts in the Sayers Common area of Hurstpierpoint Parish, Sussex on 29 September 1878, and baptised at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in Hurstpierpoint on 5 January 1879. In the census of 3 April 1881 Jim, at the age of 2, was living with his parents at No.1 Naldretts in Sayers Common. Jim is thought to have left school when he was 9 years old, and in the census of 5 April 1891, at the age of 12, he was a farm labourer and living with his parents at Wortleford Cottage in Sayers Common. It is understood that Jim was handling a pair of horses as a carter by the time he was 12 years old.

On the 24 February 1899, when he was 20 years old, Jim was driving a loaded waggon to Brighton with his 11-year-old brother Sammy riding on the waggon. When they were in London Road, Brighton, Sammy accidentally fell off the waggon and went under the wheels; he died later that day in Brighton Hospital from his injuries.

In the census of 31 March 1901 Jim, at the age of 22, was living with his father and stepmother at Wortleford Cottage in Sayers Common where his future wife, who was working as a domestic housemaid, was a visitor. Jim was working as a carter on a farm, and his younger brother, Edwin, who was an under carter, was probably working with him. Later that year when he was 23 years old Jim married 30-year-old Louisa Styles Johnson Allcorn at the Parish Church of St James in Heyshott, Sussex, on 23 October 1901.

 

 

Louisa was the daughter of George and Jane Allcorn; she had been born at Park Corner in Groombridge, Sussex on 10 December 1870, and baptised at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in Eridge Green, Sussex on 29 January 1871. In the census of 2 April 1871 Louisa, at the age of 4 months, was living with her parents at Station Road in Groombridge. Louisa’s mother then deserted the family in 1876 and Louisa with her brother and father are thought to have then lived with her paternal grandparents, William and Maria Allcorn, in Groombridge. Louisa’s father died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1878 and Louisa and her brother were then raised by their grandparents. In the census of 3 April 1881 Louisa, at the age of 10, and her brother were both going to school and living with their grandparents at Birchden in Groombridge. When their grandfather died in 1888, Louisa and her brother with their grandmother moved next door to live with their father’s sister Emily Bassett and her husband David. This was where they were all living in the census of 5 April 1891, and Louisa, at the age of 20, was a nursing servant. Louisa’s grandmother died in 1893 and Louisa then went to live with her father’s sister Ellen Hendley and her husband George at Heyshott. Louisa now worked in that area as a live-in domestic servant with the home of her uncle and aunt at Heyshott being her home base until her marriage.

Jim and Louisa first lived next to Jim’s father at Stairbridge Farm in Bolney, Sussex when it’s thought that Stairbridge Farm was two cottages. They then went to live in the village of Oving, just to the east of Chichester in Sussex, where their eldest child, Bert, was born in February 1903 and where Jim worked as a platelayer on the railway. They then moved to North End in the village of Yapton, which is about 8 miles east of Chichester, where Jim was recorded as being a platelayer on the railways at the registration of the birth of their second child, Ted, in October 1904, but family tradition has it that Jim was a level-crossing keeper at Yapton. They were still living in the Chichester area in the summer of 1905 when Jim is thought to have still been working for the railways.

 

 

Because of problems with Louisa's health her doctor advised that the air would suit her better near her place of birth at Eridge Green, so they moved to Crowborough in Sussex where they were living at Glenlea Villa in Queens Road when their third child, Frank, was born in 1908, and then at 9 Gladstone Road when their fourth child was born in 1910. Jim was recorded as being a carter on the birth certificates of both these children. While they were at 9 Gladstone Road widow Sarah Latter lodged with them. Family tradition has it that during their time living in Crowborough Jim worked for a time as a navvy laying the sewers in Crowborough. They then moved to Rocks Farm Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough, where they were living in the census of 2 April 1911 with their four sons and Jim was working as a carter on a farm. Jim was then working as a carter for Mr Oswald Beale who lived at nearby Lotmans Farm. Their last child, Nellie, was born in late 1913 while they were living at Rocks Farm Cottage.

 

 

Their next move, in about 1916, was to Burnt Oak Cottage, which is the house now called The Old Forge at Burnt Oak in the Parish of Rotherfield, Sussex on the border with the Parish of High Hurstwood. Then for some reason in late September 1917 they had to get out of there and Jim, Louisa and their three youngest children went to live with the Newman family at Nordens Green Farm in High Hurstwood for two months, the two eldest children are thought to have probably stayed in the Burnt Oak area, possibly lodging with another family. The whole family then lived for a short time in an old shack called Kidders Ash in the woods near Burnt Oak before returning to Burnt Oak Cottage. During this time Jim worked for Mr Cottingham at the Burnt Oak Farm that was then owned by Major Taylor who lived at Brook House.

 

 

Then in 1920 Jim went to work at Sleeches Farm in High Hurstwood as a cowman and the Miller family moved into one of the farm cottages called Iron Castle in Royal Oak Lane at High Hurstwood. Before they had moved to Iron Castle Louisa had taken in Christopher Harold Divall, the youngest child of one of her friends, whose children had been in a home since her husband’s death. Christopher went with the Miller children to Whitehill School and then High Hurstwood School; until at the end of 1920 when he became 14 he left school and went out to work, and also left the Miller home. In 1921 after Jim had been at Sleeches for only a few months it was bought by Maslens and Jim and his son Bert worked for them until Maslens sold Sleeches in early 1928. Maslens greatly appreciated the work done by Jim and Bert and presented them with an inscribed silver teapot. Sleeches was bought from Maslens by Frank Brown and Jim became his farm bailiff. In about 1932 Jim’s son Bert left Sleeches and Jim’s son Ted came to work there as a cowman. Frank Brown died on 18 September 1937 and in his will he left Jim £190; from this £25 was deducted to pay off a loan Frank Brown had given to Jim, and the remaining £165 was invested in National Savings Certificates.

 

 

After Frank Browns death, as his son and heir was a minor, the farm was let in mid-1938. The new occupiers of Sleeches sacked Jim and his son Ted and the family had to get out of Iron Castle, the last Electoral Register entry for the Miller family, consisting of Jim, Louisa, Ted and Nellie, at Iron Castle was for year starting October 1937. Ted went to work as a gardener for Mr Moorshead at Stonehouse and Jim became a cowman for Mr Moorshead’s tenant farmer, Alan Aikman, and the Miller family moved to 92 Stonehouse Cottages in Rocks Lane at High Hurstwood that was owned by Mr Moorshead. The first Electoral Register entry for the Miller family, consisting of Jim, Louisa, Ted and Nellie and now also Fred who had been discharged from the army, at 92 Stonehouse Cottages was for year starting October 1938. While Mr Moorshead lived in the house at Stonehouse he leased  the farm to Scotsman Alan Aikman, who lived at the adjacent Rocks Farm and farmed both farms, so Jim worked as a cowman for Alan Aikman on the combined farms.

In the National Register of 29 September 1939 the occupants of 92 Stonehouse Cottages were James Miller, who was a cowman, his wife Louisa, son Ted, who was a gardener, and daughter Nellie, who was helping her mother with domestic duties. Their son Fred was now working for the Air Ministry at Cheltenham in Gloucestershire and was recalled for service in the army on 1 December 1939.

 

 

Jim served in the Home Guard during the Second World War, from 7 June 1940 to the 18 October 1943. One night during his time in the Home Guard Jim was a member of the Home Guard squad guarding the Flax Factory at Five Ash Down. This guard duty was from 7pm to 7am the following morning but Jim had to leave at 5am so that he could get back to do the morning milking on Stonehouse and Rocks Farms. Then after this he had to report at 10am to the Home Guard firing range at Chillies for parade and firing practice. What happened next, as reported by John Holmes, who had been with Jim on guard that night and was standing next to him at parade:

…the C.O. said he would inspect all the rifle barrels before firing. Next to me in the line was a little old man, who had been on guard duty the previous night, left the guard room at 5am to milk a herd of cows and was back just in time for parade. As the officer took hold of the end of the barrel of his gun to look down it, a bullet left the gun just missing the officer’s ear. The old man had forgotten to unload after duty! I don’t remember the officer looking down the rifle barrels after that.

Jim would have then been about 62 years old, would have done the afternoon milking before going on guard duty and then done the morning milking before going on parade, so he was probably very tired and it’s little wonder that he forgot to unload his rifle. Jim’s employer, Alan Aikman, was one of the Home Guard officers but John Holmes can’t remember if he was the officer involved; if it was him Jim nearly killed not only his commanding officer but also his employer.

 

 

Louisa went blind from glaucoma in early 1944. Jim continued to work at the combined farms of Stonehouse and Rocks Farm after they were both bought by Mr Karck in 1944, and stayed there until he retired when nearly 71 years old. Their daughter Nellie and her husband and daughter were living with them at 92 Stonehouse Cottages, and as a result of Jim’s retirement they all moved in September 1949 to 56 Five Ash Down.

 

 

Louisa died at 56 Five Ash Down on 22 January 1952, at the age of 81, from coronary thrombosis, and she was buried in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 26 January 1952. Five years later Jim died on 16 June 1957, at the age of 78, from heart failure while staying with his son Fred’s family at 38 Newstead Rise in Caterham, Surrey. He was buried with his wife Louisa in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 20 June 1957, their grave is marked by an inscribed headstone. The ashes of their daughter and her husband have since been added to this grave together with an additional plaque to commemorate them.

 

 

 

Jim and Louisa’s eldest child was Albert George Miller, known as Bert, who was born at Oving near Chichester in Sussex on 21 February 1903, and baptised at the Parish Church of St James in Heyshott, Sussex on 31 May 1903. By 1908 Bert had moved with his parents to Crowborough in Sussex, where he first went to Crowborough Infants School, which was a separate building behind Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough, probably starting in 1908, aged 5, and then leaving in 1910, aged 7. Bert was then admitted to Whitehill Primary School on Monday 4 April 1910 while still living in Gladstone Road in Crowborough. In the census of 2 April 1911 Bert, at the age of 8, was living with his parents at Rocks Farm Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough, and he was going to school. He left Whitehill Primary School on Friday 10 March 1916, aged 13, to start doing farm work, this being about the time the family moved to Burnt Oak Cottage.[1]

 

 

Bert first worked for Major Taylor at Brook House, where he tried several jobs such as house boy and stable lad, before settling to work with the cows. In 1920 he moved with his parents to Iron Castle in High Hurstwood and in 1921 he went to work with his father at Sleeches first for Maslens until they sold it in 1928 when Maslens presented Bert and his father with an inscribed silver teapot in recognition of their service. Frank Brown purchased Sleeches from Maslens and Bert then worked for him as head cowman.

 

 

When he was 26 years old Bert married 27-year-old Agnes Florence Tidy at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 24 April 1929. Bert’s best man was his brother Ted Miller, and Agnes’ bridesmaids were her sister Ethel Tidy and Bert’s sister Nellie Miller. Agnes was the daughter of Ephraim and Phoebe Tidy, and she had been born at Cherry Gardens in High Hurstwood on 21 July 1901. Bert and Agnes first lived in Sleeches Bungalow next to the railway viaduct on Sleeches Farm. Their only children were identical twin daughters born in 1930. Bert enjoyed horse riding; he rode well and competed in local events.

 

 

Bert left Sleeches in about 1932 and for a few months lived and work at Sharpthorne in Sussex. He then went to work for George Gee at Ely Grange in Frant, Sussex as herdsman to Gee’s pedigree herd of Friesian cattle. They built up one of the finest herds of British Friesian Cattle, which took all the top prizes at cattle shows, and even got Bert mentioned in the book History of British Friesian Cattle. While at Frant the family first lived at Priory Cottages, then in about 1938 they moved to Dairy Cottage. In the National Register of 29 September 1939 Bert and Agnes were living in Dairy Cottage with their twin daughters and Bert was a herdsman. In about 1942 Bert was made farm manager and they moved to the farm manager’s house.

 

 

During the war, in addition to his farm work, Bert was in the Royal Observer Corps, having received his certificate as a qualified member on 12 April 1939, and also the Chief Animal Steward, who was called out to cattle injured by bombing. The Royal Observer Corps observation post that Bert served at was originally on Frant Green but was later moved closer to their home. Agnes was an Air Raid Warden during the war.

 

 

When George Gee died Ely Grange was sold, and in the spring of 1944 Bert and family moved to Potterspury in Northamptonshire, which is near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, where Bert worked for George Gee’s son. But Bert was not happy working for the son and left in late 1944. They then stayed for a while with friends in Sussex, until Bert got a job in 1945 as farm manager of the two farms that Stephen Player, a member of the Player Cigarettes family, rented at Highworth in Wiltshire. When Stephen Player’s father died leaving Stephen the Ednaston Manor Estates in Derbyshire, Stephen gave up the two farms at Highworth and moved to Derbyshire. So in early 1948 Bert and family moved to Derbyshire where Bert was to manage the Home Farm for Stephen Player. But it did not suit Bert and Agnes there, and in late 1948 they went back to Wiltshire, Bert’s good reputation as a herdsman having got him a job with Lord Hudson, and they lived at Milton Lilbourne near Pewsey.

 

 

When Lord Hudson died in 1952 they moved to Crowhurst near Battle in Sussex and Bert worked for Mr Croft. But after two years there Mr Croft gave up the farm, and they moved to Little Common near Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex where Bert worked for Mrs Aynsley. Then in 1956 Bert got the job of herdsman to Lord Hudson’s son at Pewsey in Wiltshire, and they moved back to Milton Lilbourne. Bert continued to work there when Captain Osborne took over the farm. But Bert suffered from a muscle wasting disease, and when he could no longer work on the farm, he drove the car and worked in the garden for Captain Osborne.

When Bert could no longer work he retired with Agnes to a flat at Ludgershall in Wiltshire. Agnes died on 2 January 1973, at the age of 71, of thrombosis and bronchitis. Bert died the next day, 3 January 1973, at the age of 69, from the effects of his muscle wasting disease. They were both cremated and their ashes are buried together in the Churchyard of St James in Ludgershall, where there is an inscribed plaque.

 

Jim and Louisa’s second child was Edwin Thomas Miller, known as Ted, who was born at North End in Yapton, Sussex on 15 October 1904, and baptised at the Parish Church of St James in Heyshott, Sussex on 22 February 1905. By 1908 Ted had moved with his parents to Crowborough in Sussex, where in the census of 2 April 1911 Ted, at the age of 6, was living with his parents at Rocks Farm Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough; he was not going to school and was described as suffering from Bright’s disease, which was inflammation of the kidneys. It was probably later in 1911, when he was about 7, that Ted started attending Crowborough Infants School, which was a separate building behind Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough, and left in early 1913 when he was about 8½. Ted was then admitted to Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough on Monday 28 April 1913, aged 8½, while the family were living at Rocks Farm Cottage, and left on Thursday 9 August 1917, two months before his 13th birthday, when the family were living at Burnt Oak. Ted’s kidney problems had resulted in him missing at least two years of schooling.[2]

 

 

After leaving school Ted worked as a trainee gardener at Holly Mount in High Hurstwood, Sussex for about two years. Then when Mrs Tate-Smith bought Brook House near Burnt Oak on the boundary of High Hurstwood Parish in 1920 Ted went there to work as a trainee gardener under head gardener Fred Muddle (a 1st cousin of Ted’s future father-in-law). While at Brook House Ted also drove Mrs Tate-Smith’s car, this being one of the first cars in the area. When Mrs Tate-Smith lost a lot of her money in 1930 as a result of the stock market crash she had to dismiss most of her employees. Ted lost his job and as he could not find another gardening job he went to work as a cowman at Sleeches Farm in High Hurstwood where his father already worked as farm bailiff.

 

 

Ted was engaged to Ethel Tidy for eleven years from about 1926 to 1937. Ethel was the younger sister of the Agnes Tidy who married Ted’s brother Bert. The engagement was ended by Ted because Ethel was looking after her parents and would not leave them. Ted lost his job at Sleeches in 1938 after the owner Frank Brown died; he then went to work as a gardener for Mr Moorshead at Stonehouse in High Hurstwood. At the same time Ted moved with his parents from Iron Castle to 92 Stonehouse Cottages in High Hurstwood, and in the National Register of 29 September 1939 Ted was a gardener living with his parents at 92 Stonehouse Cottages.

 

 

When he was 36 years old Ted married 30-year-old Ivy Muddle, who had also been working at Sleeches, at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 28 December 1940. This led to a saying in the village that ‘he’d had enough of tidy and went for muddle’. Ivy was the daughter of Percy and Laura Muddle and she had been born at High Hurstwood on 12 June 1910. Ted and Ivy initially lived at Sun Harbour in Royal Oak Lane at High Hurstwood, which was constructed from wooden First World War army huts, and where their only child, a son, was born in mid-1944. It was on Monday 17 July 1944, less than four weeks after the birth of their son, that Sun Harbour was badly damaged by a V1 flying bomb, known as a doodlebug, but thankfully all the family escaped injury, and Sun Harbour was repairable. It was in the evening when the bomb fell; Ted was outside in the garden feeding the chickens and was miraculously unhurt. Ivy had just taken her baby son from his pram on the veranda and was putting him in his cot in the bedroom and they were protected from injury by the wardrobe falling across the cot and protecting them from the flying shards of window glass which studded the back of the wardrobe.

 

 

Ivy’s wartime National Registration Identity Card that had been issued to her on 3 June 1943 while she was living at Sun Harbour recorded that she was 5ft 3ins tall with green eyes and dark brown hair, and that she was then in the Civil Defence Messenger Service. Another Identity Card was issued to Ivy for her newly born son on 27 June 1944. After Sun Harbour was damaged and uninhabitable it was decided that Ivy and her baby son would go to their relatives, Percy and Dorothy Minns, who lived at Darlington in County Durham, while Ted got Sun Harbour repaired. Ivy recalled that crossing London, which she had no experience of, during the blackout with her baby son and all their luggage was a nightmare. Ivy and her son’s Identity Cards record that they were living at The Limes, Croft, Darlington on 3 August 1944 and were back at Sun Harbour on 13 September 1944.

 

 

When they married Ted was working as a gardener for Mr Moorshead at Stonehouse in High Hurstwood, and he was also in the Home Guard during the war. It was while he was on Home Guard duty that he hit bomb debris while cycling down Burnt Oak Lane hill in the dark and broke the middle finger of his right hand. Being wartime the bones were not set correctly and resulted in the end joint of that finger being fused and crooked for the rest of his life. Then in 1944 Stonehouse was purchased by Mr Karck, and Ted left his job there because of his dislike of Mr Karck, and he went to work for Bill Tester who was cutting trees in Birchetts Wood and converting them into timber in his sawmill at Old Hall Cottages in High Hurstwood. During the war Ted not only had his fulltime job and service in the Home Guard, but together with Ivy also produced fruit and vegetables in their garden and on an allotment in a field off Sandy Lane, together with keeping a large breed of rabbits in the old pigsties next to Sun Harbour and also chickens, all to help feed themselves.

When Sun Harbour, which they had been renting from the owner, Colonel Leslie, was sold to farmer William Humphreys, who lived at White Coppice, they were evicted by court order as William Humphreys wanted it to house his new cowman. So they moved to The Stables at The Hermitage in High Hurstwood, Ivy’s Identity Card shows that she was registered on 21 January 1948 as residing there. It was in 1948 that Ivy started doing part-time housework for the Drummond Smith family at Spring Copse in High Hurstwood, which she continued until about 1968.

 

 

They then moved to 3 Maypole Cottages in High Hurstwood, which was on a newly built council housing estate. Ivy’s identity card shows that she was registered on 6 January 1950 as residing there. The family got Jock their black spaniel dog from Bill Tester at about this time. Later Ted left Bill Tester’s employment and went to work for a while at the Flax Factory at Five Ash Down, possibly until it closed in 1955, before working for many years as a labourer for J Wright & Son, a building company based at Blackboys. When Wrights closed down Ted went to work at the army supplies depot at Isfield, and then when that closed he worked in the officer’s mess at Crowborough Army Camp. The army camp then closed and Ted got a job with the local council at Uckfield sewage works.

 

 

While they lived at Maypole Cottages Ted also did part-time gardening work in the evenings and at weekends; this was first for the Eustace family at Coxbrook in High Hurstwood until they moved away in about 1954, and then for the Dummond Smith family at Spring Copse. The family got Rob their first Border Collie dog from Len Tidy at Claygate Farm in 1965. Then in 1966 Ted lost most of his sight due to glaucoma, which he had inherited from his mother, and had to give up work. In January 1967 Ted, Ivy and their son Derek moved to Claremont Bungalow in Snatts Road at Uckfield, which they had purchased.

 

 

In September 1973 Ted went to stay for a week at Highview, the council’s old-people’s home at Ridgewood in Uckfield, to give Ivy a rest from looking after him. While he was there he went out for a walk on 13 September and never returned. There was an extensive police search for him, but he was only found four weeks later on 11 October 1973 by a man walking his dog. Ted’s body was in a bramble thicket in the overgrown garden of Old Court at Ridgewood, which was not far from the home that he had been staying at. He had been dead for some time and it is assumed that he died, at the age of 68, soon after going missing. The inquest recorded an open verdict, but assumed death from natural causes as there was no suspicion of foul play. Ted was cremated on 19 October 1973 at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium in Tunbridge Wells after a service at the Parish Church of Holy Cross in Uckfield, and his ashes were later buried in his brother Frank’s grave in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood.

 

 

The family’s dog, Rob, died in June 1979, and Ivy and her son then got Shep, their second Border Collie dog from a farm near Hailsham in September 1979. Ivy died at about 7am on 15 January 1994, at the age of 83, of bronchopneumonia, in Eastbourne District General Hospital, where she had been since the 27 December 1993 after being taken ill at home on Christmas Day. Ivy was cremated on 25 January 1994 at the Surrey & Sussex Crematorium in Worth after a service at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood, and her ashes were buried with her husband’s ashes in Frank Miller’s grave in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 6 February 1994. An inscribed headstone marks the grave.

 

 

Jim and Louisa’s third child was Frank Horace Miller who was born at Glenlea Villa in Queens Road, Crowborough, Sussex on 14 January 1908, and baptised at the Parish Church of All Saints in Crowborough on 8 March 1908. In the census of 2 April 1911 Frank, at the age of 3, was living with his parents at Rocks Farm Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough. Frank first went to Crowborough Infants School, which was a separate building behind Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough, probably starting in 1913, aged 5, and then leaving in early 1916, aged 8. Frank was then admitted to Whitehill Primary School on Monday 3 April 1916 while the family were living at Burnt Oak and left on Thursday 9 August 1917 when the Miller family had to stay with the Newman family at Nordens Green Farm for two months and he temporarily went to High Hurstwood School from Monday 24 September 1917 to Friday 30 November 1917. He then returned to Whitehill Primary School, being readmitted on Monday 3 December 1917 and leaving again on Wednesday 4 February 1920 when the family moved from Burnt Oak to Iron Castle in High Hurstwood.[3] He was then readmitted to High Hurstwood School on Tuesday 30 March 1920 and left on Wednesday 12 April 1922, aged 14.

 

 

While living at Burnt Oak, Frank, probably together with some of his siblings, attended Sweethaws Sunday School, where in 1919 he was presented with a small bible as a prize for lessons well learnt. After leaving school Frank went to work as a general labourer for Mr Thompson at The Homestead, Fowley Lane, High Hurstwood. Frank died on 14 January 1924, his sixteenth birthday, having had poliomyelitis for five days and also meningitis for the last two days. He was buried in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 17 January 1924 in grave number 8, which was unmarked, but is now marked by an inscribed headstone since the ashes of his brother Ted and Ted’s wife have been added to the grave. Frank’s funeral with a hearse pulled by two black horses was arranged and paid for by his employer, Mr Thompson.

 

 

Jim and Louisa’s fourth child was Frederick James Miller, known as Fred, who was born at 9 Gladstone Road in Crowborough, Sussex on 2 January 1910, and baptised at the Parish Church of All Saints in Crowborough on 13 March 1910. In the census of 2 April 1911 Fred, at the age of 1, was living with his parents at Rocks Farm Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough. Fred first went to Crowborough Infants School, which was a separate building behind Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough, probably starting in early 1915, aged 5, and then leaving in mid-1917, aged 7, when the Miller family had to stay with the Newman family at Nordens Green Farm in High Hurstwood for two months and he temporarily went to High Hurstwood School from Monday 24 September 1917 to Friday 30 November 1917. He then returned to Whitehill Primary School, being readmitted on Monday 3 December 1917 and leaving on Thursday 5 February 1920 when the family moved from Burnt Oak to Iron Castle in High Hurstwood.[4] He was then readmitted to High Hurstwood School on Tuesday 30 March 1920 and left on Friday 5 August 1921, aged 11, having obtained a scholarship to Uckfield Grammar School. Fred was admitted to Uckfield Grammar School, otherwise known as Saunders Foundation Secondary School, on 15 September 1921 as a Day Scholar starting in class IIIb. His scholarship had resulted in the Governors of the Saunders Foundation granting him total exemption from school fees for the full period of his time at the school. His date of leaving the school was not entered in admission register but is understood to have been when he was 16 years old.[5] Fred first worked for St John Smith the estate agents in Uckfield, and then for a short time drove the Sleeches milk van.

 

 

At the age of 19 Fred enlisted in the Queens Royal (West Surrey) Regiment at Eastbourne on 24 October 1929 as Private 6084425, for 7 years active service followed by 5 years in the reserve. He was then described as 5ft 6ins tall, with a 33½ins fully expanded chest, weighed 110lbs, and had a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. Fred was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 July 1930 and he was in D company, 2nd Battalion, Queens Royal Regiment when he returned to the Connaught Barracks in Dover from leave to find that he was one of those selected to go with the regiment to Northern China. They sailed from Southampton on the following Monday, 29 September 1930. While in China Fred was promoted to Corporal on 5 November 1933. Fred was a keen photographer and some of his photos show that he was at Shanghai, Peking, the Great Wall and Tientsin while in China. On 23 November 1934, after four years in China, Fred sailed with the regiment for India. While with the regiment in Northern India Fred was caught up in the large earthquake at Quetta, which is near the Afghan border in what is now Pakistan, on 31 May 1935. Fred served with the regiment in India for 2½ years and then having completed his 7 years of active service he returned to England, arriving on 18 March 1937 to be discharged to the reserve on 31 March 1937.

 

 

Fred was not recorded as being with his parents at Iron Castle in High Hurstwood in the Electoral Register for the year starting October 1937, but he was living with his parents at 92 Stonehouse Cottages in High Hurstwood in the Electoral Register for the year starting October 1938 He had a number of jobs, while waiting to take the civil service entrance exam, which he passed, and he became a civil servant in the Air Ministry. In the National Register of 29 September 1939 Fred, at the age of 29, was working as a temporary Assistant Clerk in the Air Service and lodging with the family of Alfred and Mabel Townshend at 125 St Georges Road in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. As he was in the army reserve Fred got recalled to active service on 1 December 1939, soon after the start of the Second World War, as a Corporal and promoted to Sergeant on 1 February 1940.

 

 

Then just before he was to be sent to France Fred, at the age of 30, married 29-year-old Dorothy Eva Newman, known as Dolly, at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene in Cowden, Kent on Saturday 30 March 1940. Dolly was the daughter of Arthur and Eva Newman, and she had been born at 13 York Road, Hitching, Hertfordshire on 10 December 1910. Dolly and her parents had moved High Hurstwood in 1914 and Fred and Dolly had known each other since childhood, living in the same village and attending High Hurstwood School together. Dolly had moved to Cowden with her parents in June 1930, a few months after Fred joined the army. Then just 11 days after their marriage Fred sailed for France where he was with the British Expeditionary Force. With the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in France most of the forces retreat to Dunkirk to be saved by the famous evacuation, but Fred crawled through the countryside for three days to escape the Germans and was evacuated from Rouen, arriving back in England on 8 June 1940.

 

 

Fred then attended the Regimental Instruction Course at the Army Gas School and obtained qualification D on 13 September 1940. He was promoted to Colour Sergeant on 11 October 1940 but returned to the rank of Sergeant at his own request on 25 November 1940. He was posted to the Army Gas School in Cornwall as an army chemical warfare instructor on 24 January 1941, where he was appointed a Warrant Officer 2nd Class on 22 December 1941. Fred got a duodenal ulcer and was admitted to Preston Hall Hospital near Maidstone on 24 December 1943 and was discharged as permanently unfit for any form of military service on 28 February 1944, at the age of 34, when his military conduct was described as exemplary. For his service during the war Fred was awarded three medals, War Medal 1939/45, 1939-1943 Star, and Defence Medal.

Fred and Dolly had four children born between 1941 and 1951, and while Fred was serving at the Army Gas School Dolly and their first child, Eileen, lived with him in Cornwall. After Fred was discharged from the army they lived at 31 Newstead Rise in Caterham, Surrey, which they rented, and it was while they were living there that their second child, Donald, was born in late 1944. They then purchased 38 Newstead Rise, Caterham and their next two children, Daphne and Arthur, were born there in 1949 and 1951.

After his discharge from the army Fred returned to his old Air Ministry job, as part of which he did three overseas tours of duty in Aden, during 1954-56, 1958-59 and 1960-62 with his family accompanying him on these tours. While they were on these tours in Aden they rented out 38 Newstead Rise.

For his first tour of duty in Aden Fred sailed 1st class on the Dunera of the P & O Line from Southampton on 7 August 1954 bound for Aden.[6] After four months in Aden Fred flew home so that he could accompany his family on their journey to Aden. Fred had expected them to fly on a Comet, which was a jet, but instead they had to go on a much slower prop-driven plane. They flew from RAF Lyneham on 18 December 1954 to Tripoli, then the next day from Tripoli to Khartoum and then the following day from Khartoum to Aden where they arrived about midday on the 20th. At the end of this first tour the whole family sailed 1st class on the RMS Caledonia of the Anchor Line from Aden on 5 September 1956 and after a voyage of 15 days they arrived at Liverpool on the 20 September.[7]

 

 

For his second tour of duty in Aden it’s thought that Fred flew out; followed by Dolly and the four children who sailed 1st class on the troopship MV Devonshire of the Bibby Line from Liverpool on 28 February 1958, which called at Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus before arriving at Aden on 19 March.[8] At the end of their second tour the whole family sailed tourist class on the SS Orion of the Orient Steam Navigation Line from Aden on 19 June 1959, it called at Suez, Port Said, Naples, Marseilles and Gibraltar before arriving at Tilbury, London on 5 July.[9]

 

 

For his third tour of duty in Aden Fred sailed on the SS City of Perth of the Ellerman Line from Birkenhead, Liverpool on 14 May 1960 bound for Aden.[10] Four months later Dorothy and the children sailed 1st class on the cargo ship SS Salween of the British & Burmese Steam Navigation Line from Liverpool on 30 September 1960, and after a voyage of 19 days they arrived at Aden on 19 October.[11] At the end of this tour the whole family sailed on the SS Orcades from Aden on 30 May 1962. The Orcades called at Suez where the family disembarked and went overland to see the Pyramids, Sphinx and Cairo Museum, re-joining the ship at Port Said. The Orcades also called at Naples where the family visited Pompeii, Marseilles, Gibraltar and Plymouth before arriving at Tilbury, London on 5 July.

 

 

After this last tour in Aden they lived at 38 Newstead Rise for a few months before purchasing 11 Avenue Road, Caterham in the autumn of 1962 where they lived for nearly four years. Then in mid-1966 they purchased and moved to a bungalow at 25 Heath Road, Caterham, this being when Fred had to give up working and only their two youngest children were still living at home.

Fred had to give up work in 1966, at the age of 56, because of ill health, and his health continued to deteriorate over the following years until he died in Dene Hospital, Caterham on 29 December 1975, at the age of 65, from bronchopneumonia. He was cremated at Croydon Crematorium on 6 January 1976 and his ashes were interred at location 164 in the crematorium's Garden of Remembrance.

 

 

With all the children having now left home Dolly continued to live at 25 Heath Road for the next 23 years, until in 1999, at the age of 88 and with deteriorating health, she could no longer manage, and she moved to sheltered accommodation at Newlands Court, Caterham. Five years later with her health continuing to slowly decline Dolly moved to David Gresham House in Hurst Green, Surrey, a residential home for the elderly, on 18 July 2004. Then on 13 June 2007 Dolly had to move to Tupwood Gate Nursing Home in Caterham. She died peacefully at Tupwood Gate Nursing Home on 17 February 2008, at the grand age of 97, and she was cremated at the Surrey & Sussex Crematorium in Worth on 28 February 2008. Her ashes were interred with those of her husband at location 164 in the Garden of Remembrance at Croydon Crematorium on 11 March 2008. There is no marker but they both appear in the Book of Remembrance.

 

Jim and Louisa’s fifth child was Ellen May Miller, known as Nellie, who was born at Rocks Cottage, Stone Cross, Crowborough on 13 December 1913, and baptised at the Parish Church of All Saints in Crowborough on 12 April 1914. Nellie first went to Crowborough Infants School, which was a separate building behind Whitehill Primary School in Crowborough, probably starting in early 1919, aged 5, while the family were living at Burnt Oak, and then leaving in early 1920, aged 6, when the Miller family moved from Burnt Oak to Iron Castle in High Hurstwood. She then went to High Hurstwood School, being admitted on Tuesday 30 March 1920. When Nellie had a protracted period of ill health she was removed from the school for about eight months, leaving on Thursday 5 August 1926 and being readmitted on Tuesday 26 April 1927, during this time Nellie stayed for a short time at Peacehaven. Nellie finally left High Hurstwood School on Thursday 22 December 1927 when she was 14 years old.

 

 

After leaving school Nellie went to work in service, first for the Browns at Sleeches in High Hurstwood for about 18 months, and then for Sir Frederick Frankland and Baroness Zouche at Loxwood House in Loxwood, Sussex for about 18 months. Nellie then did daily housework at a number of places, including Wood Dell in High Hurstwood for the Ross family, while living with her parents, first at Iron Castle until mid-1938, and then at 92 Stonehouse Cottages. In the National Register of 29 September 1939 Nellie was living with her parents at 92 Stonehouse Cottages and helping her mother with domestic duties.

 

 

When she was 27 years old Nellie married 32-year-old John Partington, who was a soldier from Bolton, at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 10 June 1941. John was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Partington and he had been born at Bolton in Lancashire on 19 March 1909. He had been a regular infantry soldier and had served at several places overseas, leaving the army only about two months before the start of the Second World War he was in the reserve and soon got his call-up when war started. He was stationed at Maresfield Army Camp when he met Nellie, then in early 1942 after their marriage he was sent overseas. First to take part in the capture of Madagascar from the French, and then from there he was sent to India in 1943. Then as part of 36 Division he took part in the capture of Burma and its infamous railway from the Japanese. Nellie continued to live with her parents at 92 Stonehouse Cottages while John was in the army, and had their only child, a daughter, in September 1942 while John was overseas.

 

 

When John left the army after the war he first worked at the Flax Factory in Five Ash Down until it closed in 1955. He then worked for the local council and then the water board until he retired in 1974 at the age of 65. After their marriage Nellie had continued to do daily housework and they lived with Nellie’s parents first at 92 Stonehouse Cottages and then from September 1949 at 56 Five Ash Down. They continued to live at 56 Five Ash Down after the deaths of Nellie’s parents, until in 1980 they went to live with their married daughter Ruth and her husband Ralph, first at Otham in Kent, and then from 1986 at Staplehurst in Kent.

 

 

Nellie died in Maidstone Hospital on 17 March 2001 at the age of 87. She had been taken ill with stomach pains the previous evening, and was admitted to hospital at about 5am, where an aneurism that was affecting her internal organs was diagnosed; she died at 4pm that afternoon. Nellie’s funeral was at Vinters Park Crematorium near Maidstone on 29 March 2001, and her ashes were buried in her parents’ grave in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 6 June 2001. Nine months after Nellie’s death John died at home in Staplehurst at 11am on 21 December 2001, at the age of 92, from bronchopneumonia. John’s funeral was at Vinters Park Crematorium near Maidstone on 11 January 2002, and his ashes were buried with his wife’s in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 27 February 2002. An inscribed plaque was added to the grave to commemorate them.

 

 


[1] ESRO: ESC 220/4/1 Whitehill Primary School Admission Register Apr 1894 – Oct 1913.

[2] ESRO: ESC 220/4/1 Whitehill Primary School Admission Register Apr 1894 – Oct 1913.

[3] ESRO: ESC 220/4/2 Whitehill Primary School Admission Register Nov 1913 – Jan 1923.

[4] ESRO: ESC 220/4/2 Whitehill Primary School Admission Register Nov 1913 – Jan 1923.

[5] ESRO: AM S5913/7 Saunders Foundation Secondary School Admission Register 1916 – 1924.

[6] TNA: BT 27/1755 Outwards Passenger Lists, Southampton August 1954.

[7] TNA: BT 26/1365/47 Inwards Passenger Lists, RMS Caledonia Liverpool 20 September 1956.

[8] TNA: BT 27/1840 Outwards Passenger Lists, Liverpool February 1958.

[9] TNA: BT 26/1433/57 Inwards Passenger Lists, SS Orion London 5 July 1959.

[10] TNA: BT 27/1894 Outwards Passenger Lists, Liverpool May 1960.

[11] TNA: BT 27/1902 Outwards Passenger Lists, Liverpool September 1960.

 

Copyright © Derek Miller 2013-2016

Last updated 17 April 2016

 

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