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Reginald Miles

Portrait of Major Reginald Miles, Archives New Zealand, AALZ 25044 3 / F1475 35. Image is subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Major Reginald Miles, Archives New Zealand, AALZ 25044 3 / F1475 35. Image is subject to …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Reginald AWMM
  • Surname
    Miles AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Reggie AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWI 2/1045 AWMM
    • WWII 6191 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    10 December 1892 AWMM SpringstonCanterbury AWMM
    Springston, Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • Pre 21 November 1914 AWMM 46 Beresford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
    • Pre Jan 1940 AWMM C/o Messrs Rudd & Harland, Solicitors, 4A Wyndham Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • William Miles, 46 Beresford Street, New Brighton, Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
    • Miss D.E. Miles (daughter), Nurses' Home, Public Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) AWMM
      CBE. Posthumous 1944 AWMM
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order and bar (DSO*) AWMM
      DSO citation: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He fought his battery until the enemy were within 500 yards, and his ammunition exhausted, at the same time rallying infantry stragglers and manning a fire trench, then made a reconnaissance into a wood sending back valuable information. He was finally wounded by rifle fire at close range." (London Gazette, 26 July 1918). DSO Bar citation: "Escape from Camp 12, P.M. 3200, Italy (General's Camp). This camp was extremely well guarded and in consequence it was decided that the only possible method of escape would be by way of a tunnel. n the 18th September, 1942, tunnelling began. All officers and other ranks worked, with the exception of one officer who was awaiting repatriation. The entrance to the tunnel was through a sealed up chapel which all soil was placed. The work, which consisted of a 3 foot by 3 foot tunnel, 40 feet long with a 10 foot shaft at the entrance and a 7 foot shaft at the exit, was completed by the end of February 1943. At 2100 hours on the 29th March, 1943, Brigadiers Miles and Hargest, in company with four other officers, escaped through the tunnel. The four other officers were subsequently recaptured. Brigadiers Miles and Hargest dressed as workmen and having walked to Florence station, caught a train to Milan where they went to the North station. They caught a train to Como and walked towards Chiasso. 2 kilometres from Chiasso they left the main road and proceeded across country until they reached a knoll south of Chiasso where the frontier lay along the opposite slope of a valley below them. The frontier consisted of heavy cyclone netting 12 foot high interlaced with brambles and with small bells near the top. They cut the wire with pliers at ground level without making much noise and came on to Swiss territory at 220 hours on the 30th March, 1943. They gave themselves up to the police at Mendrisio and were released in Berne on the 2nd April, 1943." (London Gazette, 21 September 1944) AWMM
    • Military Cross (MC) AWMM
    • Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 AWMM
    • Coronation Medal 1937 AWMM
    • Efficiency Decoration (ED) AWMM
    • New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal AWMM
    • Cross of Valour (Greece) AWMM
    • Victory Medal AWMM
    • British War Medal (1914-1920) AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
      London Gazette 31 December 1918, p15230 AWMM
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
      London Gazette 26 July 1918, p8753 AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    • Commissioned a subaltern in Rangiora school cadets in 1910 AWMM
    • Attended Royal Military College, Duntroon, Australia in 1911 AWMM
    • Graduated from RMC, Duntroon as the top New Zealand cadet in 1914 AWMM
    • Attended Staff College, Camberley, England in 1924 AWMM
    • Completed a number of specialist artillery courses before returning to New Zealand in 1926 to serve at Army HQ AWMM
    • Attended Imperial Defence College, London, England, in 1938 AWMM
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
    WW2 POW - P.G. 12, Chandeli, Florence, Italy AWMM
    North Africa, Africa AWMM
    01 Dec 1941-29 March 1943 AWMM
    Defence of Tobruk AWMM
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
    • WW2 29 March 1943 AWMM Escaped 29 March 1943 AWMM
    • WW2 Escaped to Switzerland; received Bar to the DSO; crossed into France, died in Spain AWMM
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Wounded at Ploegsteert Wood by sniper fire, April/May 1918 AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
      Wounded at Tobruk, 1 December 1941 AWMM
    • Suicide, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of William Miles and of Mary Margaret Miles (nee Restell); husband of Aimee, and later Rosaline Georgette Miles

    Married his first wife Aimée Zita Donnelly in Egypt on 26 February 1916. They had four daughters and a son. Aimée died in the late 1930s.

    After returning to New Zealand in 1918, Miles took charge of the Wellington harbour defences.

    Upon his return to NZ, Miles was appointed third military member of the Army Board in 1939.

    Appointed Quartermaster General (QMG) in September 1939.

    In January 1940, Miles was seconded to 2 NZ Expeditionary Force as Commander Royal Artillery (CRA) of the New Zealand Division with the rank of Brigadier.

    Appointed Commander of 2NZEF section in the United Kingdom in May 1940.

    Married Rosalind Georgette Bisset-Smith at Westminster, London on 31 May 1940.

    Miles' son, Reginald Joseph Braithwaite Miles, was killed on 8-9 June 1940 when the HMS Glorious, on which he was serving as a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm, was sunk in the North Sea.

    On 1 December 1941, Miles was involved in the defence of Tobruk, Libya. His unit was overrun and he was wounded and taken prisoner.

    Miles escaped from Campo 12 in Florence, Italy in 1943 and made his way to Switzerland and eventually to Spain. His citation for his DSO bar has more details.

    Sadly, in a state of depression and exhaustion, Miles committed suicide in Figueras, Spain, on 20 October 1943. According to Haigh and Polaschek (1993) in the DSO book, Miles died on active service in Spain "attempting to reach Gibraltar".

    His family spent 20 years collating the medal group and in a special ceremony at Waiouru the medals were donated to the National Army Museum, 13 August 2009. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    20 October 1943 AWMM
    Age 50 AWMM
    FiguerasSpain AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
    Suicide AWMM
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Figueras Municipal Cemetery, Spain AWMM Niche No. 894. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Roll of Honour, Officers' Club Auckland, The Northern Club, 19 Princes Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
20 October 2021SimonHavelock, New ZealandResearcher

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