Engine Room Artificer 4th Class Joseph Francis MacMillan was born in Ingersoll, Ontario, on December 4, 1910, one of eight children of parents Benjamin Alexander and Mary MacMillan. In 1938 he married Beulah Maud and they had one child, son James Benjamin. At the time of his enlistment the family was living in Woodstock, Ont., where MacMillan worked as a machinist at the Morrow Screw and Nut Company in nearby Ingersoll.
He enlisted with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, at London, Ont., on July 30, 1941. Following initial training Halifax at H.M.C.S. Stadacona, he went on serve aboard the destroyer H.M.C.S. St. Croix.
MacMillan was killed on September 20, 1943, while on convoy support duty in Atlantic, when H.M.C.S. St. Croix was torpedoed and sunk south of Iceland, one of nine Allied ships lost to submarine attacks over a three days period. Stoker 1st Class William Fisher was the only member of St Croix’s crew to survive the crossing.
Buried at sea, MacMillan is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Three of the collection letters were written during the war by MacMillan to family members, the remainder are condolence letters.
ERA 4 Joseph MacMillan’s service record (Serv/Reg# V17743) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring MacMillan can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Joseph MacMillan’s brother, Private John Theodore MacMillan (service record, Serv/Reg# A108862), was killed in Holland on April 28, 1945, while serving with the Perth Regiment, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps.