Letter from the War Front 1916

Eric Millard was born 1 May 1894 Ulladulla, son of Sidney Ridler Millard and his wife Lucy nee Mudge.  Eric was working on the farm Sunny Hill Croobyar Milton, before his enlistment in August 1915 at the age at 21 years.

Holding the rank of Private, Eric served with 18th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement which embarked from Sydney, aboard HMAT A29 Suevic on 20 December 1915, he later transferred to the 3rd Battalion in February 1916. Eric Millard Like most servicemen and women from our region wrote letters home, many extracts of these letters were published in the local Newspaper.

War Photo Eric Millard of UlladullaSomewhere in France, April 2, 1916 Private Eric Millard wrote: There is not much to write about, as we are not allowed to tell anything about our travels, or where we have been. You can see by this that we are now in France, and I can tell you we are not sorry to get away from Egypt.

“We are billeted in farm houses here; sleep in the baron among the hay, with the animals, poultry and dogs all around you. I have not seen any of the boys since’ we left Tel-el Kebir, only Percy Harrison. He is about here somewhere, also Jack Jones; but of course being billeted we are all over the country, and have no idea where to look for each other.

This country is indeed war stricken; you cannot imagine what it is like without being here. I have not seen any men of military age here yet, except men on leave from the trenches. It is something awful to see the old men and women working in the fields. I have seen old women and young girls 15 to 20 working the ploughs and other farm implements, wheeling the wheelbarrows, and doing all kinds of other work.

I have practically been in all the places that the Germans held before they were driven back. We are only about six kilometres from the line now, and I can tell you the noise of the guns is terrible. They have hardly ceased firing since we have been here.“

Fighting in France, Eric was wounded three times and in August 1918 he spent some time in Birmingham War Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. He was discharge from active service in May 1919, returned to Australia on 20 June 1919. Back home in Milton he married local girl Olga May Pembroke in December 1922.  After his marriage they later moved to Nowra before eventually moving to Bexley in Sydney.  In 1982 they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, living at Bexley Sydney. Eric Millard died in 1985.

Eric’s father Sidney Ridler Millard was the Ulladulla agent for the Illawarra and South Coast Steam Navigation Company. Eric’s name appears on the RSL Honour Roll, Milton Town Memorial, Milton Methodist memorial and the Milton Methodist Flag.