G/5933 PTE. J. R. MILLS. R.SUSSEX.R.
John Robert Mills was born in the third quarter of 1876 in Bamber Bridge. His family was living on Preston and Chorley Road. His father was Francis Mills (b. 1851 in Preston), a cotton spinner. His mother was Mary Johnson (b. 1854 in Bolton). Francis and Mary were married in 1875 and John was born the following year. They had two more children: James (b. 1880) and Alice (b. 1886). The family moved around a bit and in 1891 were in Brindle and in 1901 at Heywood, near Bury. The records are not clear but it seems as if Francis had emigrated to the United States before 1901 and Mary may have moved out to join him later. We know that by the 1920s Mary was living in Denver, Colorado. James and Alice may have gone with them, but John Robert remained in the UK. In 1911, John, himself unmarried aged 35, was living with 4 unmarried uncles and aunts at 83 Station Road, Bamber Bridge. He was a foundry worker in a municipal iron foundry.
John went back to Bury to enlist, and he joined the Royal Sussex Regiment, being assigned service number G/5933 and posted to 7th Battalion. 7th (Service) Battalion came under orders of 36th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division. They landed in France on 1 June 1915 and John joined them in the field on 17 August 1915. The Division was located along the front south-east of Armentières and in September was engaged in the Battle of Loos. On 26 September, after this battle had started, the Division was relieved by the 1st Canadian and 50th (Northumbrian) Divisions and moved towards the Loos front. It arrived on 29 September and relieved outgoing units in the Gun Trench – Hulluch Quarries sector on the night of 30 September – 1 October. The Division commenced consolidating the position, under heavy artillery fire. The Officer Commanding, Major-General Frederick Wing CB, was killed in action on 2 October 1915. John was wounded during the shelling and was taken to 33 Casualty Clearing Station at Béthune where he died of his wounds on 4 October 1915. He was 39 years old.
Service Number: G/5933
Date of death: 04/10/1915
Service/Regiment: Royal Sussex Regiment, 7th Bn.
Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. E. 82.
Cemetery: BETHUNE TOWN CEMETERY
Additional Information: Son of Mrs. Mary Mills, of 2506 Caithness Place, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.