Archie McMillan

Archie McMillan

On 1 June 1917, the West Lothian Courier reported:

Private Archibald McMillan, Royal Scots, was killed in action on 12th April. Mrs McMillan, Muir’s Cottages, South Street, received two letters from officers announcing the sad event. Lt. John D. Ferguson wrote:- "It is my painful duty to inform you of your husband’s death. He was killed in the afternoon of 12th April. He suffered no pain. I can only offer my deepest sympathy in your great loss and trust you will have the strength to bear the trial. Your husband was always bright and cheery, and will be missed by his comrades here."

Lt. Nicholson also wrote announcing the soldier’s death, and added – "He was a good soldier, and he is missed by all his comrades".

Pte. A.  McMillan entered the Army in June 1916, and prior to that was a [steel] dresser in the Atlas Foundry. He was drafted to France last November, and was through many heavy engagements during his six months at the front.

Pte. McMillan was killed on the fourth day of the Battle of Arras in Northern France. His death was all the more tragic as his young wife (née Barbara Clark) was left with an infant son, Archie, born in 1915.

In 2001, when Archibald (junior) was 85, he was contacted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who told him that the body of his father had been discovered during an archaeological dig. Together with his daughter, Mr McMillan was able to attend the burial of the father he had never known, 84 years after he was killed.

Some thirty bodies from the time of the First World War are still discovered annually in Belgium and northern France. Detailed forensic work is undertaken to try and establish the identities, but often the remains are too decayed. However, the bodies are buried with military honours.

Private Archie McMillan of Armadale