John Milne

Date of birth:                 1894
Place of birth:               Southampton
Rank:                              3rd Engineer
Regiment / Division:   Mercantile Marine
Battalion/Ship:             S.S. “Warilda”
Died:                               3rd August 1918 aged 24
Death Location:           At Sea

Life before the War

John’s parents were George and Barbara nee Munro. Barbara was born in Scotland in 1859. His siblings were:

James b.1882 Scotland

Barbara b.1891 Southampton

John b.1894 Southampton

The census return for 1901, shows Barbara was living at 7, Anderson’s Road, St. Mary’s Parish, Southampton with her children James who was working as a Plumber, Barbara and John. Although Barbara was shown as married, her husband was not at home on the night of the census.

Barbara (the mother) was living at the same address in 1911 with her son John. She again states she is married, but her husband is not at home on the night the return was completed. Barbara has no income, but John was employed at the Railway Docks as an Engineers Assistant. Barbara the younger was a visitor at the home of the Martin family who lived at 6, Highcliffe Avenue, Cedar Road, Southampton. She states that she lives on Private Means.

War Service

Mercantile Marine Memorial

“Milne, 3rd Engr. John.  S.S. “Warilda” (Port Adelaide). Drowned, as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine, 3rd Aug., 1918. Age 24. Son of George and Barbara Milne (nee Munro), of 7, Anderson’s Rd., Southampton”

Historical Information – S.S. “Warilda”

H.M.A.T. “Warilda” (His Majesty’s Australian Transport) was a 7713 ton vessel, built by William Beardmore and Company in Glasgow as the S.S. “Warilda” for the Adelaide Steamship Company. She was designed for the East-West Australian coastal service, but following the start of the First World War, she was converted into a troopship and later, in 1916, she was converted into a hospital ship.

On the 3rd August 1918, she was transporting wounded soldiers from Le Havre, France to Southampton when she was torpedoed by the German submarine UC-49. This was despite being marked clearly with the Red Cross; as with a number of other hospital ships torpedoed during the war, Germany claimed the ships were also carrying arms.

The ship sunk in about two hours. Of the 801 persons on board, a total of 123 lives were lost. Amongst the survivors was her commander, Captain Sim, who was later awarded the OBE by King George V. Her wreck lies in the English Channel





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