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Can you help find the relatives of this late D-Day hero?

By Richard Guttridge | Tipton | News | Published:

George William Ambrose Mills was a combat driver in the Royal Engineers and one of the first men ashore on Sword Beach on D-Day.

George William Ambrose Mills

An appeal has been launched to find relatives of a D-Day hero who lived in the Black Country.

George William Ambrose Mills, who was born in Wales but lived for most of his life in Tipton, died in 2011.

With no known family surviving him, his ashes have been kept at Lyndon Hall Care Home where he last lived in the hope someone would come forward to collect them.

Sandwell Council and the Royal British Legion have now joined forces to appeal to any family members of George to come forward so they can organise a ceremony to honour the war veteran and scatter his ashes.

George was born in Bridgend in 1923.

He volunteered during the early years of the Second World War and joined the Royal Armoured Corps where he trained as a driver.

In 1943 he transferred to the 79th Armoured Division Royal Engineers who were part of the first wave of D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

In August 1944 George, a combat driver in the Royal Engineers and one of the first men ashore on Sword Beach on D-Day, was wounded in action and lost an eye while supporting Canadian troops during Operation Totalize in Normandy - resulting in him being evacuated to England.

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It is believed George was sent to a hospital in the Black Country to recover.

After marrying Gladys Mary Wood in 1945, he then chose to settle in the Tipton area where he lived for most of his life and worked as a postman.

Following his wife’s death in 1982, George remained in Tipton until in his later years he went to live at Lyndon Hall.

Records show George had no siblings but his wife Gladys had a brother George Thomas Wood born February 22, 1910, and sisters Norah Wood born April 26, 1915 (married name Peacock). Both are believed to have lived in the Tipton area. Another sister Edith M Wood (married name Palmer), born March 11, 1918 moved to Cannock.

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Frank Caldwell, Sandwell Council's museums service manager, said: "George’s unit was responsible for clearing mines obstacles and enemy troops from the Normandy beach and he would have been one of the first British troops to get ashore. His unit suffered heavy losses in the first few minutes after landing. I don’t think we can begin to imagine what it was like to be at the spearhead of the invasion."

Terri Brindley, manager at Lyndon Hall Care Home said: "One of our staff members remembers George talking about his medals from the Second World War and she even took George to an Armistice Day parade in Birmingham in her own time.

"It's been a long time since George died so we contacted the council and The Royal British Legion to see if they could help to honour George and identify an appropriate place to scatter his ashes."

Anyone who thinks they may be related to either George Mills or his wife Gladys nee Wood can email frank_caldwell@sandwell.gov.uk.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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