|Date of Birth||July 16, 1884|
|Place of Birth||Liverpool, Queen's County, Nova Scotia|
|Next of Kin||John Millard (father), Liverpool, Nova Scotia|
|Trade / Calling||Lumberman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Age at Enlistment||31|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Medal|
|Date of Death||02/09/1929|
|Age at Death||45|
|Buried At||United Baptist Church Cemetery, Liverpool, Nova Scotia|
Sergeant Oliver Philpot Millard enlisted with a pioneer battalion in October 1915 and arrived in France five months later. He served in France and Belgium for three years and was awarded the Military Medal in August 1918.
Oliver was born on 16 July 1884 in Liverpool, Queen’s County, Nova Scotia, a small coastal community in the southwest part of the province. His parents, John Millard and Susan Katherine McLeod, were both Scottish and born in Nova Scotia. John was a merchant and ship builder and his family had been in the province for several generations. John and Susan were married in Queen’s County in 1874 and over the next twenty years they had at least nine children: Robie, Margaret, Elizabeth, Oliver, Thomas, Ellen, Parker Ross, Ruth Elsie and Mable. At the time of the 1901 census Oliver was 17 years old, living at home and working as a teamster.
The war started in August 1914 and Oliver and his younger brother Thomas both enlisted. Oliver signed up in Halifax with the 2nd Canadian Pioneer Battalion on 29 October 1915. His occupation was lumberman and next of kin was his father in Liverpool. His attestation paper has his year of birth as 1881 but it was probably a clerical error as his age is recorded correctly as 31. About six weeks after he enlisted his battalion headed overseas, sailing from Halifax on 6 December on the SS Orduna.
Oliver’s unit trained in England for three months before being sent to France in March 1916. Pioneer battalions worked closely with the engineers and spent a large part of their time at or near the front lines. Their work included mining, wiring, tunnelling, railway and road work, constructing water systems, and building and repairing trenches and dugouts. Oliver was appointed Lance Corporal in April 1917, after the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The Canadians took part in the Battle of Passchendaele that fall and on 23 November 1917 Oliver was promoted to Corporal.
In May 1918 the 2nd Pioneer Battalion was absorbed into the Canadian Engineers and Oliver was transferred to the 4th Battalion, Canadian Engineers. That same month he was promoted to Sergeant and in June he was sent on a two-week course at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp. The final period of the war started in August with the Battle of Amiens. The Canadians were heavily involved in operations in those last three months.
On 31 August Oliver earned the Military Medal and he was in the UK on leave when the Armistice was signed. He was back in France at the end of November and his medal was awarded in January 1919. He returned to England in April and sailed for Canada on 2 July on the SS Olympic. He was discharged on 17 July in Halifax. His brother Thomas Millard had enlisted in March 1916 and he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Forestry Corps. He served in England and Scotland for three years, returning the Canada in May 1919. Their father passed away in February 1919, just a few months before Oliver and Thomas returned home.
When the 1921 census was taken Oliver was living back in Liverpool with his mother, his brother Thomas and Thomas’ wife. He was working as a farmer at the time. About two years later he moved to the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario. He was married in Kenora on 19 June 1924. His wife, Margaret Freeman McKinnon, was born in Charleston, Nova Scotia, the daughter of Charles Nelson McKinnon and Annie Freeman. Margaret had moved to Kenora about the same time as Oliver. Their son, Robert Oliver, was born in Kenora on 4 November 1925. They later lived in the neighbouring town of Norman and Oliver worked at the Norman power house.
In the summer of 1929 Oliver and his wife moved back to his hometown of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Tragically, he was involved in a car accident at the end of August 1929 and he died of his injuries on 2 September. His funeral was held three days later. He was survived by his wife, their son Robert and another son, apparently just a week old. Oliver is buried at the United Baptist Church Cemetery in Liverpool, along with his father John (1847-1919), his mother Susan (1854-1931), his brothers Robie (1878-1936) and Thomas (1885-1957) and many other family members. During the Second World War his son Robert served overseas with the 8th New Brunswick Hussars. He passed away in Toronto in November 2016, at age 91.
By Becky Johnson