Canadian Virtual War Memorial

William Johnstone Milne

In memory of
Private
William Johnstone Milne
April 9, 1917

Military Service:

Service Number:
427586
Age:
24
Force:
Army
Unit:
Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)
Division:
16th Battalion
Citation(s):
An extract from the Second Supplement to The London Gazette, dated June 8, 1917, records the following:
For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack. On approaching the first objective, Pte. Milne observed an enemy machine gun firing on our advancing troops. Crawling on hands and knees, he succeeded in reaching the gun, killing the crew with bombs, and capturing the gun. On the line re-forming, he again located a machine gun in the support line, and stalking this second gun as he had done the first, he succeeded in putting the crew out of action and capturing the gun. His wonderful bravery and resource on these two occasions undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his comrades. Pte. Milne was killed shortly after capturing the second gun. British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Honours and Awards:
Victoria Cross

Additional Information:

Born:
December 21, 1892 Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Enlistment:
September 11, 1915 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Son of David Milne of Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Private Milne emigrated to Canada in 1910 and farmed near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan prior to joining the army. Private Milne's body was not recovered from the battlefield. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial, France.

Commemorated on Page 294 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

William Johnstone Milne is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
VIMY MEMORIAL ; Pas de Calais, France
Grave Reference:
N/A
Location:
Canada's most impressive tribute overseas to those Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War is the majestic and inspiring Vimy Memorial, which overlooks the Douai Plain from the highest point of Vimy Ridge, about eight kilometres northeast of Arras on the N17 towards Lens. The Memorial is signposted from this road to the left, just before you enter the village of Vimy from the south. The memorial itself is someway inside the memorial park, but again it is well signposted. At the base of the memorial, these words appear in French and in English:

TO THE VALOUR OF THEIR COUNTRYMEN IN THE GREAT WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THEIR SIXTY THOUSAND DEAD THIS MONUMENT IS RAISED BY THE PEOPLE OF CANADA


Inscribed on the ramparts of the Vimy Memorial are the names of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as 'missing, presumed dead' in France. A plaque at the entrance to the memorial states that the land for the battlefield park, 91.18 hectares in extent, was 'the free gift in perpetuity of the French nation to the people of Canada'. Construction of the massive work began in 1925, and 11 years later, on July 26, 1936, the monument was unveiled by King Edward VIII. The park surrounding the Vimy Memorial was created by horticultural experts. Canadian trees and shrubs were planted in great masses to resemble the woods and forests of Canada. Wooded parklands surround the grassy slopes of the approaches around the Vimy Memorial. Trenches and tunnels have been restored and preserved and the visitor can picture the magnitude of the task that faced the Canadian Corps on that distant dawn when history was made. On April 3, 2003, the Government of Canada designated April 9th of each year as a national day of remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of William Milne – Private W.J. Milne, V.C.
  • Attestation Paper (front)
  • Attestation Paper (back)
  • Newspaper clipping – Extract from the Canadian Daily Record, June 1917
  • Canadian Daily Record – Private William Johnstone Milne
Lower right-hand picture
Extract from the Canadian Daily Record, June 1917
  • Award Citation – Personal Information Sheet
  • Poem by Scott Allan White
  • Cenotaph – Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients, Cenotaph
  • Vimy Memorial – Canada's Vimy Memorial, located approximately 8 kilometres to the north-east of Arras, France. May the sacrifice of so many never be forgotten. (J. Stephens)
  • Inscription on Vimy Memorial

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