SX19665 Gunner Ian George MILLARD
Ian George MILLARD was born at Victor Harbor on 6 November 1924, the second of five children of Ophir Thomas MILLARD and Elsie May MILLARD (nee HUTTON).
Ian was educated at the Middle Inman Public School, near Inman valley. He left school at age 13 and worked on a farm near Kadina, later working for Stan Francis on his farm near Victor Harbor. Ian enlisted in the 2nd AIF on 17 May 1943 and underwent basic training at the Greta Training Camp (NSW) followed by infantry training at Canungra (Qld). On 3 December 1943, Ian embarked aboard the troopship Katoomba from Townsville, disembarking at Buna (New Guinea) three days later. Held over at the Reinforcement Holding Unit, Ian finally received orders to report to the 2/12th Field Regiment, a frontline artillery unit.
The Regiment supported the advancing battalions as the Japanese withdrew up the coast. On 28 February 1944, the Regiment returned to Australia for reforming, they were based at Ravenshoe (Qld).
On 16 May 1944, Ian was evacuated to the 2/1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering from malaria and remained hospitalised until he was able to return to the Regiment on 7 September 1944.
On 26 April 1945, the 2/12th sailed aboard the ship USAT Frederick Lykes and disembarked at Morotai on 3 May 1945; one month later on 2 June the men embarked aboard the US LSM (Landing Ship Medium) 52 for service in British North Borneo as part of Operation OBOE, the campaign to retake the vast oil fields from the Japanese. The Regiment again supported the infantry during a hard campaign. On 14 June, Ian was promoted to the rank of temporary lance-bombardier, the equivalent to lance-corporal. With the surrender of the Japanese, the oldest serving members of the Regiment were repatriated to Australia and with the numbers thinning, those remaining were posted to other units; Ian was transferred to the 2/32nd Infantry Battalion on 15 November. He was repatriated to Australia on February 1946 where, at Warradale on 2 March 1946, he reverted to the rank of gunner. Ian was demobilised on 28 August 1946; he had served a total of 392 days outside Australia – 95 in New Guinea and 297 in Borneo.
Whilst at Warradale Camp, Ian was approached by a Stan Walker who asked him to play for Glenelg Football Club. He did so for a short time before returning to Victor Harbor where he worked for Alan Bonner Truck Transport; the business had a contract to move all goods ex the railways at Victor, Ian was a number 2 on one of the trucks. He was one of the inaugural players for the Inman Valley Football Club in 1947. In 1948, Ian married Mollie LOMMAN and there were three children of the marriage. His son, Peter, was called up for National Service in the late 1960’s and served with the 8th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment in Queensland. A daughter, Helen Margaret REYNOLDS (nee MILLARD) died on 2 September 2010, age 58. Ian later worked with his younger brother Don in the south coast building industry until his retirement.
Ian died on 2 November 2011 and is interred in the Victor Harbor Cemetery.
Service file of SX19665 Ian George MILLARD held by the National Archives of Australia (www.naa.gov.au).
Wikipedia entry for the 2/12th Field Regiment:
Interview(s) with Ian MILLARD, February 2010.
Compiled by the Victor Harbor RSL History Research Team, October 2014.