John Miller, his son Donald, and his brother William Douglas were interested in motor-boats and motor-boat racing.
On 8th June 1929, Donald and William took part in a motor-boat race across the English Channel. Because of fog, they completed only half the course. Donald struggled into Calais, after spending much of his time baling water out of his boat. William Douglas drifted all night in his leaking boat
John was a motor-boat champion. In 1930, he and his brother, William, were taking part in an outboard motor-boat display at the Lancashire and Cheshire Out-Board Motor Racing Club in St Helens. John then went on to give an exhibition of outboard back jumping which involved his boat driving at high-speed up a floating ramp. As the boat hit the water, there was an explosion and he fell forward. The flywheel of the motor had burst and a fragment of the metal had struck John in the back, killing him instantly. John's wife and daughter were spectators at the event.
William, who dived in the water to help, said that he had had a premonition that something was about to happen
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