Milne, John Robert. Died 1st Feb 1915

John Robert Milne
6174, 2nd Bn., Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Bandsman John Robert (Jack) Milne was born around 1883 in Dublin, Ireland. His father was Colour Sergeant Thomas Milne, who became a drill instructor at Rugby School.

After attending St Matthews School, Jack joined the Scottish Rifles in August 1898 as a band boy and served throughout the Boer War. At 6ft 2in, he was a keen sportsman and was in the Battalion football and cricket teams.

At the outbreak of WW1 he was with his regiment in Malta and after a short stay in England (including twelve hours in Rugby) he arrived at the front on 5th November 1914.

On November 29th he was injured at Armentieres. Some comrades who had been sent out to get water got too close to the German lines and two of them were shot. Jack, a stretcher bearer was the first to reach the casualties and started to dress one of the wounded men. He was shot by a sniper 200 yards away. The bullet entered close to the spine and came out under the left breast. He remained conscious and was taken to the Field Hospital.

“He kept very bright and cheerful all the time until his death. He remained at the base hospital until the New Year, and then was brought to England and taken to the Royal Herbert Hospital (Woolwich), where he lay for another 32 days, although paralysed from the waist downward, to all appearances improving; but on the 1st February he seemed to get a change, and gradually faded away without having had any pain.”
(Rugby Advertiser 13 Feb 1915)

The funeral took place on the 5th February 1915 and he was buried with full military honours at Shooters Hill Cemetery. The Band of the Royal Field Artillery preceded the gun carriage. His two brothers, Will and Thomas, lowered him into the grave.