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Duncan Miller

Lawyer and community councillor who served with Bomber Command during the Second World War;

Born: June 15, 1923; Died: January 13, 2013.

Duncan Miller, who has died aged 89, was a successful solicitor and councillor who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War and survived being shot down over Berlin.

Born in Newcastle, he was brought up in Edinburgh where he attended Stewart's Melville College. He joined the air force in 1941 and was accepted on an RAF short university course, studying aerodynamics at Aberdeen University between October 1941 and March 1942.

In October, 1942, he was made a sergeant and posted to the operational training unit at Abingdon in Oxfordshire and St Eval in Cornwall the following year. It was at St Eval that he met his future wife Doris Groves, a Wren who was stationed nearby.

He was then assigned to Bomber Command's Pathfinder Force, the squadrons that were the first to fly into enemy territory and locate and mark targets for the main bomber squadrons that followed. The Pathfinder force was mainly made up of Lancasters and Mosquitos but Mr Miller, who was a bomb aimer, was in one of the few squadrons that flew Halifaxes. While on active service over Germany in August 1943, the Halifax he was in was shot down. It was the first night of the famous Battle of Berlin and at least half the crew on his plane were killed. Mr Miller managed to get out and open his parachute, but was slipping in and out of consciousness as he fell to the ground, where he was taken prisoner.

He then spent time in hospital, being treated for injuries to his leg and arm, before being taken to prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft 6 in Lithuania. Later, he was taken west by the Germans to be part of a prisoner exchange and from Sweden was sent back to Britain. He finally reached home in Edinburgh on September 18, 1944.

The following year, after the end of the war, Mr Miller began studying law at Edinburgh University. After an absence because of TB, he graduated MA in 1948 and LLB in 1950.

He then went on to become a successful solicitor in Stirling and was later made an honorary sheriff for Stirling Sheriff Court. After he retired in 1989, he and Doris moved to Newtonmore. Mr Miller served on the community council there and was involved in the Woodland and Development Trust, which established the Wildcat walking trail around the village. He was a keen hill-walker and climbed many hills in Scotland and the Lake District with friends.

He is survived by his daughter Lexy, son Sean, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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