b. 28/11/1900 Poole, Dorset. d. 29/04/1940 North Sea.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 29/04/1940 North Sea.
Henry James “Dusty” Miller (1900-1940) was born on 28th November 1900 in Poole, Dorset, the younger son of Albert and Lilian Maud Miller (nee Giles), and had two brothers Albert and Thomas and two sisters Ethel and Rose. His father was a blacksmith. Henry enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1918, and was promoted to Able Seaman in 1920.
Henry married Vida Maude Woodward in Church Hanborough in May 1927 and they had a daughter Mary. The couple met when Henry, who lived in Basingstoke, came to visit a cousin who owned the Hand and Shears pub next door to the Woodward family home in Church Hanborough.
In March 1934, Henry volunteered for Submarine Service and in October 1935 joined HM Sub “L26”. He then served in the Mediterranean with HM Sub “Clyde” before following the start of World War II, he transferred to HM Sub “Unity” in January 1940.
On 29th April 1940, HM Submarine “Unity” was struck by the Norwegian freighter “Atle Jarl” at night. At the time Miller and Lieutenant John Low were on duty in the submarine control room. When the order to abandon ship was given by the commander, they were instrumental in helping every crew member to escape. The captain asked for the main motors to be stopped and Miller volunteered to do this. The submarine sank in a few minutes, with only Miller and Low still on board. All of the rest of the crew were rescued except for two men who drowned during the night.
Miller’s body was not recovered, and he is commemorated, like John Low, on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. On 16th August 1940, he was posthumously awarded the EGM, which less than a month later was exchanged for the GC. His widow Vida would attend his investiture at Buckingham Palace. His medals including his GC, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, War Medal 1939-45 and Royal Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal are proudly held by the Miller family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT'S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: NO KNOWN GRAVE - LOST AT SEA.
PORTSMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL PANEL 39 COLUMN 1.
Henry Miller's name on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Thomas Stewart).
Long Hanborough War Memorial