Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Story of Miller Maffaking Fergusson.

AWM Portrait of Miller Maffaking Fergusson .

Miller Fergusson enlisted in September 1916. When he presented for enlistment he stated that he was 18 but also provided a consent form from his parents. Other sources indicate it is likely that Miller was in fact only 16 at the time, judge for yourself from his portrait. The physical description of him on his attestation papers show he had a fair complexion and grey eyes. He stood 166cm tall (5 feet, 5.5 inches) and weighed 57 kg (126 pounds).
Miller embarked for overseas from Adelaide on the HMAT Afric in early November. He stepped off the ship in Plymouth on the 9th of January 1917. For the next three months he was based at the Australian Army training camp of Rolleston on the Salisbury plains. During his time there Miller got in trouble for “failing to carry out his duty as hut orderly” and was punished with 7 days confined to camp.
In early April Miller proceded to France where he was taken on strength by 27 Battalion in Etaples, one of 125 reinforcements for the battalion that month. On the 14th the Battalion marched for the from line
Twenty-four days after joining the unit Miller was wounded in action. Though evacuated to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, he died of his wounds on 5 May, the same day he received them. The 27th Battalion had been in the front lines for 19 days and withdrew the next day.
As with all soldiers, any personal items were repatriated home. In Miller’s case his items comprised of an identity disc, purse, souvenir locket, lucky bean, unit colours, photos, letters and part of his note book. The items were returned to Australia on HMAT Marathon and collected by Miller’s mother, Anne in Feb 1918.
Miller was buried in Grevillers British Cemetery near Bapaume. The cemetery had only been started in April 1917, Miller became one of the first soldiers of nearly 2000 who were interred there


Extract from 27th Battalion War Diary for May 1917.

At zero hour 3-45AM our barrage was put down 5th & 6th Aus. Infty Bdes attacked Hindenburg Line.
Enemy were shelling very heavily all over our sector our artillery also very active.
Lts Hunter and Gallasch with 6 others were lightly wounded. Lt Hunter remaining on duty.
Bn. Was withdrawn from front line after 19 days continuous duty in front line a& went into sunken road running from NOREUIL to MORCHIES.

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