No.6436 Private Donald McMillan
Donald McMillan was born at St Helena near Greensborough in 1891, to Donald McMillan (Senior) and Margery (also spelled Marjory) Hewitt. They had married at Morang in Victoria in 1886.
His siblings were:
- Norman Ananias McMillan - born 1887 at Diamond Creek
- Annie May McMillan - born 1889 at Diamond Creek
- Allan McMillan - born 1896 at Werribee (served in WW1, AIF No. 742)
- Clarence McMillan - born 1898 at Werribee
- Mabel McMillan - born 1900 at Werribee
- Ada McMillan - born 1902 at Werribee
Donald McMillan (Senior) and his wife Marjory first appeared on the Victorian Electoral Roll as living on the Metropolitan Farm in Werribee in 1903, where he worked as a labourer.
In 1914, both Donald McMillans (Senior and Junior) are recorded as labourers at the Metropolitan Farm, Werribee.
Donald McMillan first enlisted in the A.I.F. at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, on 9 June 1915, and went to the No.2 Squad Depot at Seymour in Victoria. During his time there he became debilitated with rheumatism, which was a pre-existing complaint. It effected his knee and hip joints, his left ankle and his lumber muscles. He stated that his condition had been recently aggravated by his being forced to sleep on wet ground. After declining an operation to possibly correct the problem, he was discharged as unfit for active service on 15 July 1915.
At the age of 25 years, Donald McMillan re-applied to enlist in the A.I.F. at Geelong, and was accepted, on 7 November 1916. His surname was recorded as McMillan, but he signed as Donald MacMillan.
Due to his prior service, he was initially sent to M Company of the 2nd Battalion, and on 22 November 1916, he was appointed to the reinforcements for the 21st Battalion.
Private McMillan embarked from Melbourne per H.M.A.T. A20 Hororata on 23 November 1916, as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 21st Infantry Battalions, 18th Reinforcements.
After a voyage of two months, they disembarked at Plymouth in England on 29 January 1917, and he marched in to training camp at Larkhill to complete his training with the 6th Training Battalion. On 22 May 1917 he was posted to France, and he sailed there from the port of Southampton.
One month later, on 24 June 1917, he joined the 21st Battalion in the field at Beaulincourt, where they were undergoing training exercises.
On 21 September 1917 Private McMillan was admitted to hospital, suffering with a serious case of Trench Fever.*
In need of further treatment, he embarked from Boulogne per Hospital Ship St Andrew, which took him to England. There he was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital at Oxford on 4 October 1917.
By 17 January 1918 he had recovered, and was sent back to his unit on the Western Front. He was able to join his unit on 22 January 1918 when they were moving from Romarin to St Yves in France.
On 4 February 1918, Private McMillan went absent without leave for about 12 hours, and for that crime he was awarded the forfeiture of 15 days’ pay. His unit was resting near Fromentel at the time.
Private McMillan then began a frequent period of hospitalisation. He was hospitalised between 24 February to 4 March 1918; again from 22 May to 8 September 1918; then from 11 September 1918 to 15 September 1918.
During this term in hospital, private McMillan was classified as “B Class” and was transferred to the 24th Battalion, in France, and then transferred to the 5th Division Training on 31 October 1918. He was with this unit when the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, and remained with them until he returned to England.
He was admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford in Wiltshire for 20 days, between 17 March 1919 and 5 April 1919, suffering with V.D.736. After being discharged, he embarked per H.T. Runic on 27 April 1919 for return to Australia.
He disembarked at Melbourne on 10 June 1919, and was discharged from the A.I.F. 3rd Military District on 9 October 1919.
Donald McMillan was one of a number of local lads who were welcomed home at a function in the local Mechanic’s Hall on 25 June 1919. Werribee Gold Medals were not available on the night due to a strike, but the men were presented with cards, until the medals could be produced. Donald’s citation stated “Pte. D. M’Millan, 21st Battalion, A.I.F., served France and Belgium.”
Werribee Shire Banner, 26 June 1919, p.3.
In the 1919 Victorian Electoral Roll, Donald McMillan Senior and Junior are still at the Metropolitan Farm in Werribee, but by 1921, Donald (Junior) had moved away. His war service medals could not be delivered, and were returned to the army.
When his brother Allan MacMillan (note the change of spelling) died in 1938, the death notice implied that Donald McMillan (Junior) was still alive –
“MACMILLAN – On December 13 at Caulfield Military Hospital, Allan, the dearly beloved son of Marjory and the late Donald MacMillan, of 3 Baker’s Road Coburg; dearly loved brother of Norman (deceased), Annie, Donald, John, Clarence (deceased), Mabel, Ada and Myrtle, aged 42.”
The Age, 17 December 1938, p.19.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: "McMillan, D."
Name on the Church of England Honour Board: "McMillan D"
The name “McMillan, D.” first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 24 February 1916, p.1.
Alongside his name was his brother “McMillan, A.” (No.742 Allan McMillan).
In the Werribee Shire Banner, 2 March 1916, p. 1., there are three McMillans recorded as coming from the Metropolitan Farm. They were McMillan, A., McMillan, D., and McMillan, J.
In the Werribee Shire Banner, 3 August 1916, p.1., the names of the brothers McMillan, A. and McMillan, D. had been dropped from the Roll of Honor, and they weren’t reinstated until after the war, in their edition dated 20 February 1919.
Both of his parents are buried in the Werribee Cemetery
*Trench Fever - also known as five-day fever. A moderately serious disease, spread by body lice.
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