Military Career of Keith Miller

The military career of Keith Miller, an Australian Test cricketer and Australian rules footballer, lasted from August 1940 until June 1946, when World War II interrupted his sporting career. Miller enlisted in the Militia, before switching to the Royal Australian Air Force, where he served from November 1941 until 1946 when he was discharged with the rank of flying officer. Miller trained as a fighter pilot, and in the last month of the European theatre of war, he flew combat missions over German installations. However, Miller was more notable for his efforts as a cricketer, representing the Royal Australian Air Force cricket team and after VE Day, the Australian Services in the Victory Tests of 1945, followed by a tour of the Indian subcontinent and Australia before being demobilised.

While serving in the Militia, Miller continued playing football for St Kilda Saints and interstate cricket for Victoria when he was off duty. Miller struggled to conform to military norms and was soon fined for "using insulting language towards a superior officer". In late 1941, he left the Militia and was accepted into the Royal Australian Navy, but tore up his form because his friend was rejected, before enlisting in the RAAF. After his initial training in 1942, he earned his wings and was deployed to the United Kingdom in early 1943 where he continued his training with the No. 169 Squadron RAF. Miller survived a few disciplinary incidents while training to eventually take part in combat operations in the closing stages of the European theatre of the war, and had several narrow escapes from death throughout his combat and training period. He received several campaign medals for his service.

Away from battle, from 1943 onwards, Miller was selected to represent the RAAF in a series of matches against the Royal Air Force and other English teams. The objective of the matches was to show that the British Commonwealth would not be cowed by German attacks, and the team was officially designated as a military unit. In 1945, following the Nazi surrender, the RAAF team merged with members of the Australian Imperial Force team to become the Australian Services, involving army and air force personnel, and competed against England in the five Victory Tests. Following the end-of-war tour of England, the Services team toured the Indian subcontinent before returning to Australia and playing in the 1945–46 season against the Australian states before being demobilised. Miller was the vice-captain of the team on the return leg of the tour to Australia.

Miller was Australia's top-scorer during the Victory Tests and came to the fore with his fast bowling. Miller was acclaimed for his free-spirited and adventurous batting, which he attributed to the triviality of sport in comparison to war. This was particularly exhibited in his 185 from 165 minutes for Dominions against England. It was through his involvement in wartime cricket that Miller met many of his future international colleagues, such as England's Denis Compton, Bill Edrich and Len Hutton.

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Military Career Of Keith Miller - Services Matches in Australia
... returning to Australia, Hassett's men were informed by the military and the Australian Board of Control that the Services were to play a further six first-class matches against the state teams ... Miller was tired but the fixtures were meant to revive cricket following the war and were also used as a lead-up to the international tour to New Zealand in March 1946 ... Miller put in his best batting performance of the season with an 80 in a drawn match, before being rested in the match against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval ...

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