James William Miller.

My great great grandfather. My mother's father's mother's father.


James William Miller (1820-1892) was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 5th May 1820. He enlisted in the Honourable East India Company on 22nd June 1841 and was sent to Chatham Dockyard. His trade was listed as a candle maker, and he was described as 5ft 7in tall, grey eyes and a fair complexion. He became part of the Bengal Ordnance Department and was posted to India. He was in the country when the Mutiny broke out in 1857.

On the 28th October 1857, at Sikra, near Agra, Lieutenant Glubb of the 38th Regiment of Foot, had been hit and wounded. He was lying exposed to enemy fire in the open. Without hesitation, Miller rushed out to the Lieutenantís aid, and carried him out of the action. Miller was wounded in this effort and was sent to Agra to recuperate. The reason Miller was present was that he was employed with the heavy howitzers and ordnance stores attached to a detachment of troops commanded by Colonel Cotton during the action at Sikra.

Millerís citation for the Victoria Cross was not immediately gazetted, and was not published until 25th February 1862, and his medal was presented to him later that year in India. He remained in India for the remainder of his life, rising to the rank of Honorary Lieutenant. He died aged 72 in Simla, India on 12th June 1892, and was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church.


Over time, the location of his grave at Christ Church has been lost.


An old family photograph of the Miller family circa 1880.

James Miller married twice when in service in India. His first marriage was at the age of 25 years, when he married a Mrs Mary Fowler (a widow) daughter of one Patrick McMahon at Dum Dum, Fort William, Calcutta, India on the 5th of August 1845. They had no children by this union. His second marriage, following the death of his first wife, was to Miss Agnes Forsythe, daughter of one Evan Forsythe, on the 24th of October 1849, at Fort William, Calcutta, India.



Front and back of old photograph of the Miller family.

If you can identify the location; please contact me simprolaw@gmail.com.


  I recall being told about a distant relative who won a medal for bravery and that was nice but as a child I could not comprehend what an honour it is to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Photo above is a close up of the Miller family photograph showing my great great grandfather wearing his Victoria Cross which was stolen during a railway journey in India after the Second World War. The current whereabouts of the Victoria Cross is unknown.

Today, an original Victoria Cross is highly prized by collectors and museums. The highest price yet paid for a Victoria Cross was £1.5 million.

The world's largest collection of Victoria Crosses is in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery Imperial War Museum.



The Victoria Cross Memorial outside Glasgow Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland.


Miller links on the internet: