The O'Leary Collection—Medals of The Royal Canadian Regiment

Captain Percy McKinley Millman

7th Regiment (Fusiliers)
142nd Overseas Battalion
Canadian Army Pay Corps
Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps

By: Capt (ret'd) Michael M. O'Leary, CD, The RCR

Born July 29, 1878, Percy McKinley Millman attended private and public schools in his youth and completed three years at the London Collegiate Institute followed by a further six months at the London Business College. In the late 1890s, he appears in the City of London Directories as an employee of Robinson, Little & Co., working as a stenographer (1898), a clerk (1899) and a bookkeeper (1900). Millman also appears in The London Advertiser on 20 Mar 1897, which reported that he was elected Secretary of the London Wheelmen, a local cycling club.

The Advertiser published a short note on 11 Jun 1902 describing Millman's wedding:

"Millmam – McPherson

"A pretty house wedding took place at 1:30 today at the residence of Mr. A. McPherson, Central avenue, when his youngest daughter, Alice Eberta, was married to Percy McKinley Millman, of the Robinson, Little Company, Rev. W.J. Clark, of the First Presbyterian Church, performed the ceremony in the drawing-room, which was prettily decorated with palms, ferns and flowers.

"The bride's gown was of white embroidered Indian silk, with accordion pleated train. She carried white roses. Miss Mabel Cameron, of Sarnia, who was bridesmaid, wore pink mousseline de sole, and carried pink roses. Miss Kate Fraser, who was gowned in pale blue organdie, played the Wedding March, and Mr. Archibald McPherson, brother of the bride, acted as groomsman.

"Mr. and Mrs. Millman left on the 4:35 train on a trip to the Eastern States, and on their return will reside at 24 Grosvenor street."

Soon after their marriage, the Millmans were appearing in mentions within the society pages of the local paper. These mentions ranged from announcements that "Mrs. Percy M. Millman will be at home to her friends ..." to their attendance at social events. Within the decade, the Millmans would have two children, Margaret (b. 1903) and John ("Jack", b. 1908).

A "bal poudre," i.e., a powdered wig ball, was held at the Masonic temple on the evening of 12 Feb 1904. The highly anticipated and unusual style of event for the London society's social calendar was well attended, and an extensive list of guests was recorded in the Social Gleanings column of The Advertiser. Mr. and Mrs. Percy Millman were in attendance and the description of the ball included the note that "Battenburg trimmings and blue plush decorated the courtier, Mr. McKinley Millman."

Other events also found the Millman name in the papers. On 3 Feb 1905, while getting ready for a large and greatly anticipated military ball being held in London, the Millmans had an accident at home which resulted in their missing the ball. As reported in The Advertiser the following day:

"Both Injured by Burning Benzene
"Serious Accident to Mr. and Mrs. Percy Millman, of Grosvenor Street.

"A very unfortunate accident happened to Mr. and Mrs. Percy Millman, of 24 Grosvenor street, last evening. Mr. and Mrs. Millman were preparing to go to the military ball, and Mrs. Millman was removing a slight stain from one of her gloves, when a small bottle of benzine which she was using ignited from a lighted lamp, and in an instant exploded, sending the burning oil in all directions. Mrs. Millman's dress caught. Fortunately. Mr. Millman was in the next room, and, with the aid of coats and wraps, he succeeded in extinguishing the flames.

"Mrs. Millman was, however, severely burned on the right side, and on the hands, while Mr. Millman's hands were badly burned. Both Mr. and Mrs. Millman were almost prostrated by the shock. They were at once removed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where their injuries were attended to. Mr. Millman rested well during the night, but Mrs. Millman did not."

By 1908, Millman is having his own ads published in the classified of The Advertiser, promoting his business as an insurance agent working for (what appears to be) his father-in-law's brokerage:

The Archibald McPherson Insurance Agency
P.M. Millman
Fire, Accident, and Plate Glass
106 Masonic Temple, Phone 745

Millman's leisure activities also earn him a brief mention in the news. On 13 Aug 1908 The Advertiser reported on a flower show held by the London Horticultural Society. The event was at city hall and well attended. Among the exhibitors listed by the paper was Percy M. Millman.

Although well-established as an insurance agent, Millman's business practices did come to the attention of the public in 1912. On 5 Jan 1912, the London Advertiser informed its readers that a lawsuit had been brought against Millman over the handling of the transfer of an insurance business to his proprietorship. The agreed price was $2500 followed by a percentage on future business for two years totaling not less than a further $2500, but the subsequent payments had not been received by the complainant. The story does not appear to return to the paper, so perhaps a settlement was reached.

Business was good enough that by 1912, Millman was driving his own car about town. That summer, he took his grandmother for a ride, as described by The London Advertiser on 11 Jul 1912:

"Rides 35 Miles in Auto at 93 Years
"Mrs. Wm. Turville, of 128 Central 2 Avenue, Took Journey to Wallacetown.

"Mrs. Wm. Turville, of 128 Central avenue, aged 93 years, enjoyed a ride of 35 miles to Wallacetown on Tuesday. Mrs. Turville occupied a seat in the car of her grandson, Mr. Percy Millman. When the party reached Wallacetown. Mrs. Turville was in splendid health and spirits, and stated that the ride had been a most pleasant one. She will return to London by auto at the close of her visit."

On 18 Oct 1912, Millman and his auto were back in the news. A police officer saw his car in the same spot during a number of subsequent patrols of his beat, and charged Millman with leaving his car on King street for more than two hours, a breach of the bylaw relating to obstruction of highways. Millman, via his lawyer, testified that he had been in and out of the office and that the car had not been stationary as the constable assumed. The magistrate accepted this explanation and the case was dismissed.

As might be expected for a couple of their social status at the time, the Millmans were involved in their church. On 28 Jan 1915, in reporting on the election of officers for the board of managers of the First Presbyterian Church, Millman was identified as a member of the new board.

Millman began his military service on 1 Nov 1915, when he was appointed a provisional Lieutenant (supernumerary) in the 7th Regiment (Fusiliers) at London, Ontario. A commission in the local Militia unit was a first step for many officers during the Great War, who then remained on their regimental list of officers when the volunteered for overseas service and were seconded to the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.). Millman was a 38-year-old insurance broker when he attested for service in the C.E.F. on 15 May 1916. Medically examined on 15 May, 1916, Millman was 5-foot, 11 inches, in height, weighed 175 pounds, had a 35 -inch chest measurement, and was described as having good physical development. Married to Alice Eberta Millman, the family had two children, John Archibald Turville Millman (8 yrs) and Margaret Murray Millman (13 yrs). The Millman's were living at 24 Grosvenor Street in London, where the family would remain throughout Percy's service overseas.

Before the end of the month The London Advertiser, on 26 Nov 1915, was reporting on the appointment of officers for the 142nd (London's Own) Battalion, C.E.F., then being formed at London.

"Three of 142nd Staff Named"

the article included:

"Mr. Millman Paymaster

"Percy Millman, a prominent insurance man of this city, has been named paymaster. He went to the barracks this morning to acquaint himself with his duties."

The raising and training of the 142nd Battalion at London included aspects of battalion life that members of the battalion, or the observing public, expected to see but which might not be paid for by the public purse. Additional items, which might promote unit morale and soldier comforts, needed private contributions of fund-raising. The London Advertiser, on 15 Aug 1916, reported on the launch of a fund-raiser on behalf of the 142nd Battalion in which Millman had a role:

"Tag-Day for 142nd is Enthusiastically Started
"Will Be Held on Thursday in Aid of London's Own.

"At 11 o'clock today in Cronyn Hall a joint meeting was held of the Women's Auxiliary of the 142nd Battalion and the special committee of the I.O.D.E., appointed to co-operate with the auxiliary. J.M. MeRvoy. chairman of the Citizens' Committee, which is taking an active part in preparation of the big demonstration of Saturday next for "London's Own," with Capt. Millman of the 142nd, was present to request the members of the auxiliary and I.O.D.E. to look after the tag day to raise funds to be held on Thursday.

"The proposition was eagerly taken up and plans made at once, Tags in the shape of the battalion badge will be sold for 25 cents each, and tag holders will be admitted to the grandstand at Queen's Park Saturday without further charge. Twelve captains are to be appointed, each having ten assistants, and there will be at least fifteen motor cars decorated with Union Jacks to supply the taggers in the various districts. Taggers will be on the streets by 7 o'clock im the morning and will work until 3 o'clock.

"Immediately following the meeting of the forenoon, Mrs. Ernest Smith, convener of the I.O.D.E. committee, and other members present got in touch with all members of the I.O.D.E. whom they could reach and called a meeting for 3:30 in Cronyn Hall to complete arrangements."

The 142nd Battalion sailed from Canada on 1 Nov 1916 aboard the S.S. Southland. On arriving in England on 11 Nov 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 23rd Reserve Battalion, C.E.F.

Holding the rank of Honorary Captain, Millman would receive daily rate of pay of $4.75 as a captain in the C.E.F. ($142.50 for a 30-day month). Out of this, he assigned $60 per month to be sent home to his family. His wife would receive another $40 monthly Separation Allowance.

On the break-up of the Battalion for the demands of the reinforcement stream, Millman was posted to the General List, transferred to the Canadian Army Pay Corps, and attached to the 23rd Res. Bn., C.E.F. This attachment only lasted until 4 Jan 1917, when he was posted again, this time to the 4th Reserve Battalion, C.E.F., at West Sandling. On 12 Jan 1917, Millman was taken on strength of #3 Detachment, Canadian Army Pay Corps, beginning work that would constitute his active service in both World Wars.

Percy Millman was attached to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion as Paymaster on 7 Mar 1917. The 2nd Pioneers were just completing their first year in France at the time. On 7 Mar 1917, their War Diary notes that they are in the Mont St. Eloy (sic) sector, the entry for the day reads:

"Work carried on as usual. The Tunneling party of "B" Company, working in the Pylones Tunnel, created a record for themselves in excavating 43' 10" on one face in 22 hours; one shift of 8 and two of 7. The closest approach to this was made by the Australians who excavated 32' 6" in 24 hours, 3 shifts of 8 hours."

As the Paymaster for the 2nd Pioneer Battalion, Millman was a rarely acknowledged member of a type of unit that was itself often overlooked for the deserved recognition of the value of the labour they contributed to the battlefield, often within range of the enemy's guns.

On 7 Jun 1917, a notice appeared in the London Gazette which read: "All officers serving as Paymasters with temporary commissions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force who have been gazetted to hold honorary rank are granted equivalent temporary rank from the original date of their honorary rank." Accordingly, Millman's service record notes the change from honorary to temporary rank.

After five months serving as the Paymaster for the 2nd Pioneers, Millman was posted on 18 Aug 1917 to No. 1 Canadian Infantry Base Depot (C.I.B.D.) at Shorncliffe. Millmen was granted a 10-day leave of absence on 18 Sep 1917. This leave was extended twice, first until 13 Oct, and again until 19 Oct 1917. Effective the 17th of October, Millman was struck off the strength of the C.I.B.D. after having been medically boarded while on leave in England and was posted to the Canadian General Depot.

While on leave, Millman was hospitalized for "Epididymitis T.B.," a rare tuberculosis form of epididymitis, which itself is an inflammation of tubes at the back of the testicles. When he was discharged from Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe on 15 Oct 1917, the prognosis was "unfit light duties, 3 months; unfit Home Service, 4 months; unfit general service, 6 months."

As a result of his medical boarding, Millman was struck off the strength of the C.E.F. overseas for return to Canada, effective 15 Nov 1917. he sailed that date from Liverpool, England, aboard His Majesty's Hospital Ship (H.M.H.S.) Glenart Castle, a Union-Castle steamship requisitioned in 1914 for use as a hospital ship. The Glenart Castle would be sunk by a German submarine on 26 Feb 1918 while departing Newport, South Wales, for Brest, France.

On his return to Canada, Millman returned to No. 1 District Depot in London, Ontario. It was here that he was again examined on 21 Feb 1918 and although at the time no longer suffering from his ailment or predicted to have a lasting disability, he was pronounced fit for service in Canada only. His assessment read: "It is recommended that the Officer [be] placed in some unit in Category "C" III for duty in Canada. Do not consider him fit for overseas in view of the history of his case."

Millman would afterward be attached to No. 1 Detachment, Canadian Army Pay Corps, Corps Services, Quebec. He would remain with this organization until demobilized in 1919.

Medically examined on 17 Jul 1919, prior to leaving the C.E.F., Millman was described as slightly shorter than he had been on enlistment (5' 10 1/2"), and slightly less in weight (165 lbs). He was assessed as being in good health with no disabilities due to his First World War service. Percy Millman was discharged from C.E.F. service on 17 Jul 1919.

Millman was originally only sent his British War Medal for his Great War service, the medal being dispatched on 23 Nov 1922. He made a subsequent claim for his Victory Medal which was later dispatched to him on 19 Mar 1923. For his 183 days of War Service overseas, Percy Millman would be entitled to a War Service Gratuity of $732. he received this in six payments varying between $240 and $63 over the period July to November, 1919.

Soon after the war, the Millmans return to their lifestyle, although society page mentions are not as common. On 26 Jul 1921, The London Advertiser did note that the family was going on vacation to the shores of Lake Huron: "Mr. and Mrs. Percy Millman and family are holidaying at Deer Lodge Park, Bayfield." The Lodge is still operating and claim on its website to be the best private beach on Lake Huron. It was a month later, on 30 Aug 1921, that the paper noted their return to the city: "Mr. and Mrs. Percy Millman and family have returned to their home on Grosvenor street after spending an extended vacation at Deer Lodge, Bayfield."

Between the wars, Percy Millman continued in his work in the insurance field and remained on the Canadian Militia's General List of officers. In 1928, Capt. (Paymr) P.M. Millman appears in the Canada Gazette under a lengthy list of officers that had "failed to report themselves in accordance with King's Regulations (Canada), article 251," and would cease to belong to the Reserve of Officers.

In 1940, Millman once again volunteered his services to the Crown. On 26 Oct 1940, he rejoined the Canadian Army as a captain in the Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps. A retired C.A.P.C. Captain with four years active service (1915-1919), Millman was working as an Insurance Adjuster, and he and Alice were now living at 11 St. George Apartments on Wellington Street in London, Ontario. In order to rejoin, Millman took the liberty of reporting his date of birth as 19 Jul 1883, effectively dropping his age by five years, claiming to be 57 years of age vice 63. The Millmans' children, John Millman and Margaret Adamson were now 30 and 35 years of age, respectively, with no similar reductions in their ages.

Millman's new officer's declaration paper was completed on 26 Oct 1940 with the following: "The application of Lieut. (Pymr.) P.M. Millman (Can. Mil G.L.) for appointment to the No. 1 Detachment, RCAPC, (A.F.) with the rank of Lieutenant and appointment Pay Inspecting Officer, No. 1 Det. RCAPC (A.F.) is recommended, appointment to date from 16th December, 1940, is recommended for approval. Authority Vacancy Home War Est. No. 1 Det. RCAPC (A.F.)"

As a new officer, Millman was attached on probation to the RCAPC Detachment at London, Ont., and on 16 Dec 1940 he was formally posted to the unit. After 17 months' service, he was promoted to the rank of Captain on 1 Mar 1942. After another year of service, Millman was taken off strength of the RCAPC detachment and transferred No. 1 District Depot (also at London) for retirement and release.

Scheduled for Retirement Leave from 1 Aug until 7 Nov 1943, Millman's effective date of release was amended, his leave canceled, and instead of releasing he was seconded to the Dependents' Allowance Board on 29 Jul 1943. Millman was attached once again to No. 1 Detachment, RCAPC, from 1 Nov 1943.

The Dependents' Allowance Board is concisely described in the US Department of Commerce publication Vital Statistics — Special Reports, Vol. 12, Numbers 1 to 36 (1939), within Proceedings of Registrar's Conference (No. 20):

"Dependents' Allowance Board was created in September 1939, as a branch of the Department of National Defence. Its specific duty is to review all the applications for dependents' allowances and the assignment of pay. These applications must be examined as to their validity, and the Board must then decide whether or not the application is found to meet all requirements. If the application is found to meet all requirements the Board authorizes the payment of the assigned pay and any other allowances by the district treasury officers of the military district in which the unit is located."

The scope of the Board's work in dealing with dependent queries comes through in replies printed in newspapers:

"Worried Wife: The Dependents' Allowance Board may grant an allowance to a woman who, although not legally married to the officer or soldier concerned, has lived for at least two years prior to his enlistment in domestic relations with him, has been publicly represented as his wife, and has been regularly supported by him on a bonafide domestic basis during that period and is not commonly regarded as a loose character. Apply to Dependents' Allowance Board, Ottawa, Ont., for a ruling in particular case." (Toronto Daily Star, 2 Jan 1945)

"The Dependents' Allowance Board would not transfer an allowance from a legal wife to a common-law wife of a serviceman unless the legal wife had forfeited her right to such an allowance." (Toronto Daily Star, 11 May 1945)

"P.M.: If the complaint were forwarded to the Dependents' Allowance Board, Ottawa, Ontario, an investigation would be made. A wife's allowance may be discontinued is the Board finds her morally unworthy of receiving it." (Toronto Daily Star, 22 Jun 1945)

Millman remained seconded to the Dependents' Allowance Board and worked at London, Ont., until 31 Jan 1947. He was placed on retirement leave from 23 to 29 Mar 1947 and struck off strength of the Canadian Army under Kings Regulations (Canada) article 270(a) on 30 Mar 1947. Entitled to a Clothing Allowance as a release benefit on retirement, Millman received Pay and Allowances (P&A) in lieu of Annual Leave for the period 31 Mar to 29 Apr 1947. His address noted in discharge documents was 438 Wellington Street, London, Ontario.

For his service during the Second World War between 26 Oct 1940 and 30 Mar 1947, Percy Millman was entitled to receive the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal. These were despatched to him on 3 May 1950.

On his retirement from the Canadian Army, Millman expressed his intention to return to his prior work in Insurance Adjusting.

Percy Millman died 27 November, 1952, at the age of 74 years, 6 months.

Captain Percy McKinley Millman
"Percy Millman, a prominent insurance man of this city, has been named paymaster." { text: '    Captain Percy McKinley Millman
"Percy Millman, a prominent insurance man of this city, has been named paymaster."' },

    Captain Percy McKinley Millman
"Percy Millman, a prominent insurance man of this city, has been named paymaster."

    Captain Percy McKinley Millman
"Percy Millman, a prominent insurance man of this city, has been named paymaster."

Pro Patria


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