Vale VX145301 John Basil Miller – Farmer, Soldier, Builder and Blockie:

Private John Basil Miller passed away in Mildura on 24 August 2022. He was born on the 13 June 1923 at Pinnaroo, SA, the second son of a farming family. In December 1941, the 18-year-old intake was called, so John commenced his military service in infantry, as a military conscript. He had been courting Edie Barraclough in Mildura for twelve months so wasn’t that keen on army life.

He spent most of 1942 in 8th Brigade in the defence of mainland Australia at the Dongara and Geraldton areas in Western Australia. He returned to Mangalore in Victoria in February 1943 and was given leave for a short period of time which he spent fruit picking in Mildura and saved enough for an engagement ring for Edie.

Within weeks he was on a troop train to Queensland where his unit, 22 Australian Infantry Battalion, was given intensive jungle training at Mt Tamborine. In April 1943 he was in the Atherton Tablelands, Qld, with strong rumours they would go to Papua New Guinea. But as 75% of the 38th Battalion were only 19, they were sent to Darwin.  His camp in NT was near Pel Air Strip where the American Liberators were stationed.  In June 1944 he was transferred on the US Troopship the USS Evangeline from Darwin to Jaquinet Bay in the Wide Bay area of the east coast of New Britain.  He remained at Wide Bay till 15 August 1945, when his unit was transported by troopship to Rabaul. John returned home arriving in Sydney on the 24 March 1946.

Edie managed to organise their marriage for the 30 March 1946.  John said it had been mainly a long-distance courtship of 600 letters, 3 per week written for four years and four months during the time in the army. He was advised to learn a trade, and as building was expected to boom, he decided on carpentry.  John was discharged from the Australian Army on 17 May 1946.

John lived the remainder of his life in Mildura as a builder and (fruit) blockie. He is survived by his four children, Kevin, Pam, Janine, and Graeme. Edie died eight years ago. John was active in the Redcliff RSL and for many years spoke at local primary schools for their pre-Anzac Day services.


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