William David Miller and Malinda Fizell

William Miller (1872 – 1925) and Melinda Fizell (1874 – 1955)

William David is the eighth child of Thomas Miller and Catherine Young.  He was born in 1872, either the 14 of February (1901 census), or the 16 January (army records). William did all the normal things, he worked, married (Malinda Fizell on 23 May 1894 in London, Ontario), had 2 children, Roy, and (Rita) Myrell both born in London, Ontario and moved west to Edmonton between 1911 and 1916. He stated he is a carpenter on his attestation papers but in 1916 he worked as a salesman.

At the age of 44, he did something unusual. He enlisted to fight in World War 1 with the 194th Brigade out of Edmonton.  William sailed to England and then was sent to Ypres, France where he took part in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, also called the battle of Passchendale where trench warfare claimed 310, 000 casualties. It is here he suffered “shell shock”after spending 5 months there.  The diaries of veterans about this offensive help us understand what it was like.

William’s medical records state:

“Rather anemic and frail for 50 years of age. He has marked course tremors of the hands and head with muscular jerkings of the body and legs….The mans  nervous condition is increasing steadily. He has strong disposition to muscular tension of this whole body, with marked exacerbations of this feeling. The knee reflexes are lost….The mans nervous condition is increasing steadily.

Was healthy on enlistment. He did not feel any condition of nervousness until under fire for 5 months, on the Ypres front…disability is probably permanent.”

from William David Miller Military Record, Library and Archives Canada

William was transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps in Borden, Manitoba and on April 9, 1919 was discharged from duty. He died 6 years later in August of 1925. Linda died 30 years later in 1955. Both Linda and William are buried in the Edmonton Cemetery.

His son Roy was interested in family history and published the Miller Family Genealogy in 1973. He married Gertie Jennings in Edmonton. His sister, Myrell, moved to Vancouver and married Elbert Hubbard Vance in 1928. I’m looking for descendants of Roy and Myrell.  Please contact me if you have information.




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