Donald Farrow Milne 5 November 1917

From Whaley Bridge near Stockport, Donald Farrow Milne was an only son. He came to Grafton for the Sixth Form, arriving in September 1910. When Donald Milne left in 1912, he joined the staff of the Calico Printers’ Association in Manchester, and in his two years there was making for himself a successful career.

In October 1914, he joined the Manchester Regiment and received a commission in a fortnight. Just before the Somme, he came home on leave, where he was taken ill in London. On recovery, he was sent out to India, arriving in Bombay on 31st July 1917. After five weeks in Bangalore, he was sent to Mesopotamia in September. Here the British position had recovered after the disastrous fall of Kut to the Turks in April 1916. A new commander, Major-General Stanley Maude, was appointed and in February 1917, the British defeated the Turks and took Baghdad and the Berlin-Baghdad Railway the next month. On 5th November 1917, the British decided to attack Turkish Forces outside the northern city of Tikrit. Although British losses were heavy, the Turks withdrew and Tikrit was taken the next day.

Donald Milne had been in Mesopotamia just two weeks when he was killed in action, aged 22, during the successful attack on the city of Tikrit. He was one of some 160 British troops killed that day.  His Commanding Officer wrote: “Though he had only been with us sixteen days, we liked him from the beginning, and all ranks spoke well of him.”

His name was inscribed on the Basra Memorial, along with those of two other Oundelians who also died there - Alan Scarth, killed the previous year and Reggie Plunkett who was to be accidentally drowned in 1918. The memorial carries the names of nearly 42,000 servicemen who died in this forgotten corner of the war and have no known grave.

C Pendrill
Yarrow Fellow