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Robert Milne

Updated: Aug 4, 2022


76255 Private

11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment), 70th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Division

Age: 24

Date of Death: 9.6.17

Buried: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery XIV.H.1A

Family history: Husband of Janet Milligan Briggs Milne, Clifton Villa, Banknock. They married on 12 February 1916 and they had one child a son Robert born on 25 August 1916. Son of Robert and Nellie Milne, 6 Loanhead Terrace, Aberdeen. Prior to enlisting he was employed as a joiner. He enlisted in Aberdeen in the 3/2 Highland Field Company, Royal Engineers, a Territorial Company. He embarked at Folkstone and landed in Calais on the 10 January and transferred to the Sherwood Foresters on 11 January 1917.

The action leading to his death

The 23rd Division were in position preparing for the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 June which later was referred to as ‘Cratering the Ridge’ when the British blew nineteen mines beneath the German lines. The 23rd Division were in the northern sector running through Hill 60 to Mount Sorrell. It not only fell to 23rd Division to take the enemy trenches in front but to also protect the left flank of the British attack. The frontage allotted the Division was over 2000 yards and the advance would be made from Windy Corner to Sap H on either side of the Ypres-Comines railway. The final objective extended from the Verbrandenmolen-Hollebeke road. Along the south eastern edge of Battle Wood to Klein Zillebeke, from a point north of which it was drawn back to join the old front line just north of Mount Sorrell. To regulate the allotment of definite tasks to units, two intermediate objectives, the Red and Blue Lines, were selected with the Black Line the final objective. The Red Line covered the Caterpillar and Hill 60 with the blue Line located some 70 to 250 yards beyond the Red Line.

(Linesman Map showing the trench lines at Hill 60 before the mine explosions on 7 June)


The advance to the capture of the Red Line would pivot on the left flank of the 70th Brigade, this first phase was to be carried out by the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment on the right, who would advance direct on the Blue Line, and by the 11th Sherwood Foresters on the left, who would be responsible for forming the defensive flank.


At 3.10am the nineteen mines were blown, with Major Henry, commanding the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, having fired the mines underneath the Caterpillar and Hill 60, opened a bottle of champagne to drink to the success of 23rd Division.

(Linesman Map showing location of mines blown on 7 June)


The infantry advanced one minute after the mine explosion. On the left of the advance the 70th Brigade, Sherwood Foresters, advance was disrupted by uncut German wire and became disorganised and they were quickly reorganised. The majority of the battalions casualties were as a result of enemy sniping and shell fire. At 10.30am the Germans mounted a counter attack on the front to the left of 70th Brigade which was fought off by parties of the 11th Sherwood Foresters and 8th Yorkshire Light Infantry. On the night of the 9/10 June the 23rd Division was relieved. The casualties of 70th Brigade were 8 Officers killed or died of wounds, 23 wounded and 2 missing. Other Ranks 175 killed or died of wounds, 23 wounded 156 missing. Robert died of his wounds on 9 June.

Medals Awarded

British Medal, Victory Medal

Headstone




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