William R. Milne, Z/1212

The following information has been kindly supplied by Willie's Great Niece Carol Johnstone. Further details may be found at Lives of the First World War
William Robert Milne was born on the 1st December 1894 in Buckie, Banffshire. He was the youngest of ten children born to Alexander Milne and Ann Geddes and employed as a bank clerk prior to the war.

On 18th October 1914 William was enlisted in the RND, three days before his friends John W Cowie and Robert A G Scott. He was admitted into the Hawke Battalion, service number Z/1212 and initially remained in training in England when the Division was ordered to Gallipoli. William was promoted to the rank of Able Seaman before arriving on the Peninsula in May '15. He was reported as wounded in July but it is later recorded that this was not the case. William served throughout the remainder of the campaign. He transferred with his unit aboard HMT Franconia to France and fought in the Battle of the Ancre before being promoted to Able Seaman (Higher Grade). On 3rd February 1917 William was killed in action during the assault on the Puisieux trench.

William's body was not identified and his name is recorded on the Thiepval memorial.

Letter from William Milne to his sister.

10th April 1916
My Dear Jean
                         As you say I did get a surprise when I saw your handwriting this morning. You will feel it queer having so little to do. I can't imagine you out for a walk before dinner. Both Birnie & I had both hard times in not being home this leave. We will all get home in time though. We ought to manage it next time but I'll be too late for Janet's wedding. This is a perfect holiday here. I don't earn 2/6 the week never mind fifteen bob. All I do is run around on horseback along with my boss's groom. We have great times. You know how I love horses and there are some fine ones here. In fact the boss has as many as he likes. I am very sorry to hear about Lizzie's brother. It is hard lines on her mother. When I begin to look back on the Gallipoli campaign I consider myself extremely lucky to be here. We can see, with the help of binoculars, the trenches on Helles from here; where our rest camp used to be & other well known places.You may know we aren't far away where our ships fire at the peninsula from their anchorage in the harbour. Tell Jimmie (your Jimmie I mean) to write a few lines in your next letter. We seem fated to have two persons with the same name in our family. Between Georges, Maggie & Alex's Maggie & your Jimmie and our own Jimmie its a perfect mix up. We will have to call them Jimmie A & Jimmie B. If I get leave I will have to try & get to see you all in Glasgow. I think I will stop now.

With love to you both
Your loving bro
Give Lizzie my sympathies
Royal Naval Division .info William R. Milne, Z/1212
William Milne
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