The First World War is full of tragic tales of death and bravery but one Muiravonside man was called “too great to live” following his departure.
Lance Sergeant George Mills, who was listed as living at Causewayend, was killed in action aged just 25 on April 9, 1917, fighting for the 9th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Before enlisting he worked as a miner at the local Redford Colliery. His Second-Lieutenant W.E. King was gushing with praise and pride at having served with a man who was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery under fire.
In a letter to the soldier’s mother, he said: “He was my platoon sergeant, and gave me great assistance in training the men for the push. I am making no exaggeration in saying that by officers, NCOs and men he was recognised as a great soldier. When Col Hyslop heard of his death, his words were ‘he was too great to live’.”
The second-lieutenant also went on to reveal how Mr Mills’ brave words on the field of battle would live with him forever.
He added: “On Monday 9th, at 7.10 a.m. we went over the top, and your son as he got over turned and smiling to the men, shouted, ‘Come on boys.’ That will always live in my memory. While making for a bunch of Germans, who were sniping furiously, he fell with a bullet in the head.
“I did not hear the sad news until an hour or so afterwards, and it damped me considerably. The shelling was severe at the start, but it died away, and we met with considerable success.”