A Second War R.C.A.F. Medal Group to Hurricane Pilot
A Second War R.C.A.F. Medal Group to Italian Theatre Hurricane Pilot - 1939-1945 Star; Italy Star; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1945; Royal (Canadian) Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, George VI (1768 F/L D.J. MILLER); and Canadian Forces' Decoration, QEII (F/L D.J. MILLER). Naming is officially impressed on the RAFLSGCM and officially engraved on the CFD, the latter with the first initial corrected: a "D" engraved over an "E". Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, as worn by the veteran, original ribbons, dark patinas on the silver medals, edge nicks on the RAFLSGCM, light contact, near extremely fine. Accompanied by copies of his Certificate of Service, Service Records, Confidential Personal Assessment, Memorial Funeral Home Proof of Death Certificate and various correspondence. Footnote: Donald James Miller was born on February 15, 1911 in Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of Fred W. Miller and Mary McQuing Miller (nee Learn). His athletic pursuits included Skating and Swimming. His education consisted of High School Entrance and one year of Junior Matriculation in British Columbia. After his schooling was finished, he was employed as an Electrician for two years, from 1928 through 1929, and then as a Carpenter. Miller was a resident of Blenheim, Ontario when he enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force as an Aircraftman 2nd Class (1768), on September 30, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario, stating that he was a member of the United Church. He was sent for training to Camp Borden, where he took courses in Rigging, Clerking and Carpentry. He returned to Toronto on May 17, 1930, followed four months later by a transfer to Barrie, Ontario on September 15th, where he was promoted to Aircraftman 1st Class on October 1st and Leading Aircraftman on April 1, 1931. He was transferred to the air training facility at Leach's Field on July 2, 1931 and re-engaged for additional service on September 30, 1932. In a report dated November 7, 1933 and issued at RCAF Station, Camp Borden, it stated that Miller and H.W. Saunders were cited for a Breach of Air Regulations: "On Saturday, Nov. 4th, the writer (Sd. S. Graham, Inspector, Air Regulations) was advised that Moth aircraft CF-APT had crashed in Leach's Field about six miles south of Camp Borden. The pilot at the time of the accident was D.J. Miller who does not hold a pilot's certificate. He was alone in the aircraft. It appears that the aircraft was flown from a private field in Angus, Ontario, to Leach's Field on the date in question by H.W. Saunders, holder of a P.O. Licence; and that Miller then took the aircraft for private flying. The following report appears in Hospital records at Camp Borden:- 'November 4th 1933 - D.J. Miller, LAC. #1768 suffering from laceration wound upper lip. Returned to duty.' Saunders and Miller, joint owners of this aircraft, are airmen in the R.C.A.F.. D.J. Miller would appear to have contravened Air Regulations in that he was piloting an aircraft while not in the vicinity of a licensed airport; and not himself the holder of a licence authorizing him to act as pilot. Saunders would appear to be possibly more responsible for this flying in that he is the holder of a licence and supposed to know Air Regulations. He was present at the time of the flight, during which the accident occurred, and, as part owner of the aircraft, permitted it to make the flight. The Commanding Officer, R.C.A.F. Camp Borden has not chosen to make any recommendations in the case; but states that these airmen flying, while off duty, are entirely subject to civil law." The RCAF Inspector also stated he "strongly recommended that the licence of H.W. Saunders should be suspended; and that he be required to pass a further examination on Air Regulations." It was also suggested that if and when Miller received a pilot's licence, that it should be immediately suspended for thirty days from the date of issue. Even with this indiscretion, Miller was promoted to Corporal on May 26, 1937, although it didn't come until three and a half years after the accident. A month after his promotion to Corporal, Miller took time out to get married, taking Bertha Angele Miller (nee Hudson) as his wife, the marriage taking place on June 26, 1937 in Toronto. The following Spring, he returned to Camp Borden on March 10, 1938, where he was promoted to Sergeant on April 1, 1939, followed by postings to Rockcliffe on April 23rd and to Petawawa on May 30th, before arriving at Eastern Air Command in Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 26th. Late in the Fall, he was transferred to Trenton on October 1st and after five months, returned to Eastern Air Command in Halifax on March 11, 1940 and posted to No. 118 Squadron. After stops in Hamilton, Mount Hope and Brantford, Ontario, Miller was sent for training at McDonald Aircraft in Winnipeg, from August 9, 1940 to November 6, 1940. He had been promoted to Flight Sergeant on July 1, 1940 and in that rank, was transferred to Air Sea Rescue on December 1, 1940. He named a Warrant Officer 2nd Class on March 1, 1941 and was sent to Amherst, Nova Scotia for training with the Canadian Car and Foundry, on December 12, 1941. He was posted to No. 11 Technical Detachment in Montreal, Quebec, from March 15 to 23, 1942, followed by a promotion to Warrant Officer 1st Class on April 1, 1942. After various stops in Ontario (Tilsonburg (June 13th), Hamilton (July 24th), Damascus (September 12th)), he was transferred to S. of AE in Montreal on September 26th, where he was promoted to Flying Officer on December 19th, before being posted to No. 5 Manning Depot in Lachine, Quebec on December 28th for Officers' School. In the new year, he was transferred to No. 10 Training School at Ste. Marguerite, Quebec on January 8, 1943, then posted to No. 3 Training Centre Headquarters in Montreal on February 20th, before being transferred to No. 13 Service Flying Training School in St. Hubert, Quebec on February 23rd. He was sent to Western Canada fro training in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, before returning to Quebec and posted to No. 1 "Y" Depot in Lachine on April 28, 1944, his last training stop before overseas service. Miller was posted to No. 3 Personnel Receiving Depot and embarked Canada on July 20, 1944 for Overseas Service, arriving in the United Kingdom on July 27th. He was placed with No. 417 Squadron on September 21st and soon found himself serving in the Italian theatre and was there until July 5, 1945, then returned to the United Kingdom on the 14th. By the end of August, he had returned to Canada and was posted to CPHS Moncton, New Brunswick. Post-war, he was transferred to No. 1 Flying Training School in Centralia (near Exeter), Ontario to the AE Maintenance Wing, on November 26, 1945, was promoted to Flight Officer on October 1, 1946, then transferred to the Repair Squadron at Centralia on January 6, 1948. He was transferred to Goose Bay Station on September 15, 1948, where he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on January 1, 1950. Late that Summer, he was transferred to No. 10 Repair Depot in Calgary, Alberta on August 17th, where he served ten months, before seeing a transfer to No. 25 Air Material Base in Calgary on June 16, 1951, followed one month later by a posting to No. 6 Repair Depot in Trenton, Ontario on July 17th. Miller returned to Europe, where he was taken on strength at No. 2 Fighter Wing Headquarters in Grostenquin, France on January 2, 1953, before returning to Canada and posted to No. 411 Fighter Squadron in Toronto on August 27, 1955 and later, sent to Samaria. Miller was well-trained and meticulous in his role as a Technical Aeronautical Engineer. By the time he turned age 40, it was noted that "F/L Miller is not considered staff officer material and should be employed solely on field duties in the AE trade. With training he is quite capable of grasping the essentials of any practical engineering assignment.", however "This Officer's ability to take charge of difficult situations, promote harmony and obtain results can be considered above average. He possesses an excellent service attitude and endeavours to further service spirit at all times. F/L Miller is a very dependable officer who can be relied upon to do the job of work without supervision. He is very cooperative, most courteous, and sets a good example to junior ranks. Average in appearance and beating." Three years later, now 43, in his Narrative Report dated March 11, 1954, the examiner stated that "F/L Miller is an efficient Salvage Officer. But his usefulness in some spheres of AE work is restricted by his lack of experience with jet aircraft and latter day techniques in the AE Field. F/L Miller is of the rough diamond school, with many practical virtues in the handling of equipment and men, but without the facility of adapting to changing needs." As Miller neared the age of retirement, it was noted in his Confidential Personal Assessment of February 29, 1960, that "F/L Miller has done an average job as an ASU Engineering Officer. As an old timer who is going on retirement leave effective 15 February 60 he has, understandably, taken less interest in what is going on. At the same time he has retained the respect and obedience of his subordinates. He keeps abreast of current affairs, especially in the financial field. His home life is stable and routine. He has a finger in several pies in civilian life and will undoubtedly progress much farther as a retired officer than he has done in the Service." He was discharged from service on October 18, 1960. Miller was a resident of London, Ontario and died on November 3, 1993 in London, at the age of 82, his body cremated at Mt. Pleasant Crematorium.