William Colsey Millward

William Colsey Millward was  born on 6 November 1886 in Kidderminster, son of Arthur Millward, a carpet weaver. His grave states he was a Lieutenant-Colonel, but he had in fact been promoted Brigadier-General. He was one of three citizens of August 1914 to reach this rank, the other two being George Gater and Spencer Weston, a stock exchange clerk.

Millward was a considerable sportsman, and had played cricket for the Worcestershire second XI and Sussex, (his father Arthur apparently played with W.G. Grace on a number of occasions, and became a first-class umpire who stood in two tests). He was also a keen footballer, playing for Dulwich Hamlet including an all-England Amateur Cup Final. He and his cousin even entered the men’s doubles at Wimbledon and reached the quarterfinal. He was a clerk in August 1914 working on the Argentine railways, having been in Argentina since 1909 (playing football for River Plate, and cricket for Southern Suburbs in their match against the MCC) and being home on leave enlisted in 11th Sussex on 9 September 1914, (“Lowther’s Lamb”s, his father being a recruiter). He was commissioned two months later on 1 November. He was promoted captain commanding a company in August 1915, entering France on 16 March 1916 and major second-in-command in July 1916, taking command of the battalion he had joined as a private two and a half years earlier on 31 March 1917.

He was awarded the DSO as commanding officer, showing ‘splendid leadership and ability’ in launching an attack and holding the captured position for two days, displaying ‘great coolness, courage and determination’. He was  buried on three occasions by shellfire  and on one of those occasions was the only man to be dug out alive. He was promoted brigadier-general in March 1918 with 116 Brigade but 11 days later (29 March) whilst shaving outside his tent at Ignaucourt, south of the River Somme, suffered wounds to his left leg from a shell which, after five days, resulted in amputation. He spent months in hospital at Rouen. Post-war he became a Davis Cup umpire.

Millward’s grave at Pevensey

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