Walter John Millard was born in the summer of 1887, the youngest of nine children to Robert and Elizabeth. Robert was a farmer, and brought his family up in the village of Wedmore, Somerset. Walter followed in his father’s footsteps, and by the time of the 1911 census, was listed as a farm labourer in Wedmore, working for a William Millard, who presumably was a cousin of the family.
In March 1915, Walter married Jessy Masters, daughter of a grocer in nearby Wells. The couple set up home in the neighbouring village of Wookey, but would later make their home in Westbury-sub-Mendip.
In December 1915, aged 28, Walter was called up, and assigned to the Reserve Machine Gun Corps. He was not formally mobilised for almost three years when, in October 1918, he was shipped to Rugeley, Staffordshire, for training.
During this time, Private Millard was taken ill, and was admitted to the Military Hospital at Cannock Chase within weeks with influenza. His health deteriorated and, on 7th November 1918, he died from pneumonia. He was 31 years of age.
Had it not been for the quirk of fate of having been mobilised a month before the war ended, tragically, this would likely not be a story that needed to be told.
Walter John Millard was brought back to Somerset, and lies at rest in the graveyard of St Lawrence Church in Westbury-sub-Mendip.