7 January 2011

John Samuel Mills - IGS

I've just picked up an India General Service Medal with two clasps for Burma. John Samuel Mills signed up for 12 years' service with the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) at Bermondsey on the 26th October 1883. He was 19 years and eleven months old, a labourer by trade who had been born in the parish of St George's. He was short - five feet, three inches tall - with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. He had a circle, presumably tattooed, on his left forearm, dots on his right second finger and right forearm, scars on both upper eyelids, a scar on his chin and another on the back of his head, and two scars on his left wrist. He must have looked as though he been in the wars even before he was through with his first medical inspection.

John was unmarried and gave his next of kin as his father, Samuel Mills, of 28 Commercial Road, Pimlico. He remained in the UK with the Queen's until the 14th December 1885 and then sailed for India where he remained until October 1886. He was in Upper Burma until March 1888 and then back to India again until March 1891. From March 1891 until his discharge on the termination of his engagement, he was based in the UK.

What I like about John Mills' service - and the reason I bought this particular medal - is that he has a surviving service record which lists his overseas stations and his various admissions to hospital. His first spell in hospital was at Tralee in Ireland when he spent 83 days in hospital as a result of syphilis. A boil put him into hospital in Calcutta in March 1886 and he had eneteric fever (typhoid fevere in today's parlance) in Umballa in 1889. Inflamed lymph glands hospitalised him at Solan and Dagshai respectively in 1890.

John Mills's habits are described as temperate and his character as very good. I have not researched his life either before or after his military service. The quality of his medal is VF.

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