Reginald Francis Miller (formerly Keep), a 16 year old casualty at the Somme

Text written by Pia Chamberlain.

The following was previously printed in a pamphlet available at St Andrew’s Church, Kingswood, Battle of the Somme, 1st July – 18th November 1916, The Fallen of Kingswood and Tadworth.

Reginald Francis Keep was born in 1899 in Aylesbury. His mother was Nellie Elizabeth Keep. In 1891 she was living with her parents and her three sisters in Aylesbury, but by 1901 her circumstance had changed dramatically. While she was employed as a housemaid in the household of a Camberwell solicitor, her parents, back in Aylesbury, were looking after her illegitimate child, a son by the name of Reginald Francis. On 23rd August l905 Nellie married a widower, James Miller, at St. Andrew’s Church, Kingswood. James, a gardener, originally came from Camberwell. He already had two sons from his former marriage and by 1911 three more children had been born to the couple, two daughters and a son. Reginald Francis, who still bore his mother’s name, was by then aged 11 and lived with them in Chapel Road, Tadworth.

He enlisted as Reginald Francis Miller, Private (5045), 1st/2nd Bn., London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers), when war broke out and was killed in action on 10th September 1916, aged just 16. His body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He also appears on the Kingswood War Memorial under his stepfather’s name.

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