Army Memorabilia

Miller, John S.

Rank: Private
Serial Number: 15098814
Military Branch: Co. A, 1st Bn, 18th Infantry, 1st Division
Origin: Indiana
Date of Death: 1942-11-8
St. Vincents Cemetery, Elkhart, Indiana
Featured: No

Private John Stanley Miller was born December 1, 1922, enlisted Januray 29, 1942, and was killed in action in the African campaign while a member of the 18th Infantry. His date of death is listed either as November 8 or 10, 1942. Different paperwork has the 2 different dates. Based on the battle reports, it appears that the correct date was November 8, the initial invasion date. He was origianally interred in the St. Cloud Cemetery, then reinterred  in the American Cemetery at Oran, Algeria on November 19, 1942, and then reinterred in Indiana at his parents rquest in 1948.

This group includes Private Miller's officially engraved posthumous slot brooch Purple Heart, edge numbered 322125, along with his IDPF which is nearly 200 pages long. The extensive IDPF is devoted in large measure to the reinterment in the US and correspondence between his mother and the government regarding the fact that his watch was not returned to her, and she was sure he had it at his time of death. The watch was never found.

Also included is a 16 page copy of a monograph entitled " The Battle for Oran". In this, the following information was extracted: The 1st Division was the " Center Task Force" as part of Operation Torch. Their assignmnet was to take Oran, a city of 200,000 people. The convoy left England on October 27, with the destination a secret except to the brass. The Vichy French were defending Algeria. It was expected that they would not put up much of a fight. The first wave was to go ashore at Arzew. That force consisted of Companies A, C, I. K, and L who went ashore at about 1AM in Higgins Boats D Day, November 8, 1942. Interestingly, the soldiers were told to strip off the 1st Division insignia prior to going ashore. The First Battalion was ordered forward to St. Cloud, leaving the Third Battalion for mop-up at Azrew. Shortly thereafter, the Second Battalion was ordered ashore to proceed to St. Cloud, also. When the First Battalion entered St. Cloud, machine gun fire was encountered that cut down 3 Captains. It was at this time that Private Miller was probably killed-He was killed by the French!!. The battle lasted just a few days and the 1st Division suceeded in capturing its objectives. The final 1st Division casualty figures for the 3 day operation were 94 KIA, almost 300 wounded and 73 MIA. Thus, Miller was one on the few unfortunate casualties.

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