Arthur Lennox Stanley Mills DSO VD KC BA MA BCL was born in Montreal, son of Rt. Rev. William Lennox Mills DD LLD DCL and Katharine Sophia (Bagg) Mills. He was educated at Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario ( BA), Oxford University ( MA) and McGill university ( BCL).
After the outbreak of WW 1, Mills enlisted and was soon overseas at the Western Front in France, with the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles). By the summer of 1915, the war on the Western Front had stalemated into one of attrition.
After the second Battle of Ypres there followed sporadic frontal attacks on both sides without any result other than the slaughter of tens of thousands of men. Conditions were appalling. The troops lived in the squalor and dankness of the trenches, sometimes knee deep in water and mud.
From July 1, 1916, to December 30, 1916, Canadians along with the French and other Allies were involved in the "Slaughter of the Somme", also called the Battle of the Somme. For a pitiable gain of only six miles, 836,000 soldiers were killed, including Germans and 24,029 Canadians.
By the beginning of 1917, a brief respite ensued while plans were laid for an Allied seizure of the formidable German fortification of Vimy Ridge.
At 5:00 in the morning on April 9, 1917, Canadian forces, in driving snow and sleet and under a barrage of artillery fire, began their assault on Vimy Ridge. An hour later they had taken the first line of enemy trenches and by mid afternoon had captured the crest of Vimy Ridge except for two positions which fell three days later. More than 4,000 prisoners were taken, some of them found chained to their machine guns.
Major Mills was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for gallantry during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. His citation reads, in part, as follows:
"...He found a gap between his own and the next company which was strongly held by the enemy. At great personal risk he collected five men and, demoralizing the enemy, he assisted with the capture of 200 prisoners. Throughout he was most courageous and daring in handling the entire line of the battalion front."
On October 30, 1917 in the mud and driving rain, Canadians carried out their assault on the Passchendaele Ridge and captured it by November 10th. The cost had been horrific: Approximately 16,000 casualties, all for a paltry ground gain of four and one half miles.
At 5:00 a.m. on March 21, 1918, 64 German divisions attacked the Allied line on a 54 mile front. It aimed at splitting the British and French armies and gaining a quick victory before the presence of the American army could be felt on the battlefield. Although the Germans reached the Marne River within 40 miles of Paris, their drive petered out and by June, 1918, the Allies were counterattacking all along the line.
At 4:20 a.m. on 8 August 1918, without the customary artillery bombardment but supported by tanks, the Canadian Corps charged forward on a front five miles wide. By August 22, the Canadians had overcome 10 German divisions, occupied 27 towns and villages and had penetrated a distance of 14 miles. This was the beginning of the end of WW1 with the Allies as victors.
Postwar, he became a Senior Partner with Burnett & Co., Stockbrokers, in Montreal and President, Stanley Bagg Corporation. In February, 1918, he married Martha Georgina Smithers, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Smithers of Montreal. They had two sons.