John Alexander MILNE DSO, MiD


MILNE, John Alexander

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 17 August 1914, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 36th Infantry Battalion
Born: Aberdeen, Scotland, 23 September 1872
Home Town: Bundaberg, Bundaberg, Queensland
Schooling: Torphins School
Occupation: Engineer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 12 April 1918, aged 45 years
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

17 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, 9th Infantry Battalion, Brisbane, Queensland
21 Aug 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 9th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 9th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Omrah, Brisbane
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 9th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
18 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, 41st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Demosthenes, Sydney
18 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 41st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 34th Infantry Battalion
12 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 36th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux

Help us honour John Alexander Milne's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

Born Woodside, Cromar 23 Mar 1872 Educated Torphins School. Arrived in Brisbane in August 1890 on the Dorunda. Worked as a farm labourer in the Wide Bay district, he was a miner 1897 and then an engine driver on the Gympie goldfield and in 1903-1906 was a farmer at Kilkivan junction. He became a commercial traveller for hardware firms, based at Maryborough and from 1908 at Bundaberg, where he established a commission agency in 1913 and was a dealer for the International Harvester Company. An excellent rifle shot was from 1908 an officer in the Wide Bay’s Regiment 1st Bn (later the 4th Infantry Bn). Enlisted Bundaerg, Queensland, in 9th Bn Australian Imperial Force as a captain 20 August 1914 and sailed on the first troopship to leave Queensland. On 25th April 1915 took “E” Company ashore at Gallipoli; although wounded five times he continued to encouraging his men until he collapsed and was dragged down to the beach where it was realised he was still alive. After treatment in hospital he returned to Gallipoli but on 11 November, two days after his promotion to major, he was evacuated because of fever and in January 1916 was invalided to Australia. After enthusiastic civic welcomes in Maryborough and Bundaberg he resumed duty on 1st May 1916 and was appointed second in command of the 41st Bn. Reaching France in November, he was promoted Lieut-Colonel and given command of the 36th Bn on 24th February 1917. Gassed at Messines, and injured by a shell at Passchendaele.

He was 46 and the son of Alexander & Jane (nee McCombie) Milne, Husband of Elsie M Milne, McKenzie Street, Banktown, NSW. 

Decorations and Awards
DSO Volume III Page 306 his DSO Awarded for gallantry at St Yves 7th-12th June. 
London Gazette 25-8-17.

There are five Australian soldier casualties of the Great War honoured on the Kincardine O'Neil war memorial and also a Pilot Officer of the Royal Australian Air Force  who died in WWII.

Kincardine O'Neil - Kincardine & Deeside District 
UKNIWM Ref No. 5854 

The people of Torphins decided to build a memorial hospital and it was named the Kincardine O'Neil Memorial Hospital. It is therefore possible that the names listed on this Kincardine O'Neil memorial are the same as those listed on the Torphins monument.

The Kincardine O'Neil war memorial is a rustic granite pillar with a pinkish hue set on a pedestal with an inverted sword carved in shallow relief on the face of the pillar. The pedestal is set into a rough cairn of tumbled boulders. The commemoration and names of the dead are listed on dressed granite tablets set into the face of the pedestal. 
The monument stands in gardens by the roadside of the A93 in the village.

The others are:

Private WILLIAM BEWS,   493 31st Bn Australian Infantry 

Trooper JOHN WILLIAM  GAVIN, 1385 Australian Expeditionary Force, 9th Light Horse 

Private GEORGE GORDON, 1683 50th Bn Australian Infantry.

L/cpl JOHN THOMSON,  1273 Australian Army Medical Corps 15th Field Ambulance 

Pilot Officer WILLIAM GEORGE CRUICKSHANK, Royal Australian Air Force 


Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Colonel J. A. Milne, D.S.O.

He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Order 'for keeping the front line well supplied with stores, munitions, and water, although his party was constantly depleted by casualties and exhaustion.' His home is at 162 Alice-street, Newtown, Sydney." - from the Sydney Mail 05 Sep 1917 (

"The Late Lieut.-Colonel J. A. Milne, D.S.O.

He was killed in action in France on April 12. Colonel Milne left Queensland in September, 1914, as a captain in the 9th Battalion, and was present at the landing on Gallipoli, where he was severely wounded. On recovering he returned to the firing line, and was promoted to major. Some time later he contracted fever, and was invalided to Australia. Later he returned to the front, this time to France as second in command of a battalion. He was then promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and was given command of another battalion, known as "Carmichael's (original) Thousand.'' At Messines he was gassed, but stuck to his post, and for his bravery was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Afterwards he was twice mentioned in despatches. Lieut.-Colonel Milne has left a widow and three sons, the eldest of whom is on active service abroad." - from the Sydney Mail 22 May 1918 (

"LIEUT.-COLONEL J. A. MILNE, Son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. F. B. Bull, of Bundaberg, killed in action in France on April 12. Before the war Lieutenant-Colonel Milne was officer commanding the Wide Bay Regiment, and sailed with the original 9th Battalion, being wounded in the landing at Gallipoli, and was later again wounded on the Peninsula." - from the Queenslander 29 Jun 1918 (