Robert George ‘Bob’ Mills was the son of a horseman. He worked as a motor driver and for Essex County Council. He married in Springfield in November 1937 and had three children. During the war he served in the Royal Air Force. He was killed along with five other ground crew when a large callibre bomb accidentally exploded at an airfield in Yorkshire. His home was in Church Lane, Springfield.
Bob was born in Kelvedon in 1906. He was the second son of horseman Charles Mills (1874-1963) and Georgiana Mills (nee Mann) (1879-1957). His parents had married in Essex in 1901.
Robert's siblings were Lilian Rebecca Mills (1901-1968), Albert Charles Mills (1902-1961), Walter John Mills (1904-1918), Annie Emily Mills (1909-1996), Leslie Samuel Mills (1912-1989), Ethel Jane Mills (1917-1977), and Arthur Bernard Mills (born 1922).
In 1911 the census recorded four year-old Bob living with his parents and four siblings near Boreham Hall, Boreham. At the time his father was employed as a horseman on a farm.
In 1926 Bob was working as a cowman in Boreham.
On 27 November 1937 Bob married Mary Letta Chesson at All Saints' Church in Springfield. At the time he was 31 years old and lived at 2 Phillips' Cottages in Springfield. He was employed as a motor driver and his parents lived in Little Waltham. His bride was nine years younger and a domestic servant living at the same address. She was the youngest daughter of the late Mr. H. Chesson of Great Maplestead. The couple went on to have two sons and a daughter, born in 1938, 1939 and 1940 respectively.
During the Second World War Bob served as Aircraftman 2nd Class 1030747 in the Royal Air Force. Prior to joining up he had worked for Essex County Highways Department.
On 2nd July 1943 he was one of six members of ground crew assigned to 158 Squadron who were killed when a 1,000 pound bomb accidentally exploded on a trolly at R.A.F. Lissett near Bridlington in Yorkshire. He was 36 years-old.
Robert George MILLS, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Killed in Yorkshire when a bomb accidentally exploded. Aged 36
The other men who died in the incident were: Corporal 1079323 Leslie Tomlinson Fielding (aged 37), Aircraftman 1st Class 1696963 Jack Ezra Laycock (aged 20), Aircraftman 1st Class 1085812 William Mithan (aged 22), Aircraftman 1st Class 1665709 Lewis Daniel Moore (aged 33), and Aircraftman 1st Class 131423 Kenneth Darwin Taylor. A seventh man was stood just six yards away when it exploded. He had his tunic and hat blown off, but remarably escaped without injury,
At the time of his death Bob's wife and three young children were still living at 2 Phillips Cottages, Church Lane in Springfield.
His funeral service was held at Springfield All Saints' Church with burial afterwards at Springfield Holy Trinity Church (grave 982).
Bob is commemorated on the Springfield, R.A.F. Lisset and Essex County Council war memorials.
R.A.F. Lissett is now the site of a wind farm and one of the twelve wind turbines commemorates Bob and his comrades killed by the bomb explosion on 2nd July 1943. The memorial at R.A.F. Lisset contains the names of 851 service personnel connected with the airfield who lost their lives during the war. Among them is who is also commemorated at Springfield.