William Johnstone Milne

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William Johnstone Milne
William Johnstone Milne.jpg
Born21 December 1892
Cambusnethan, Wishaw, Scotland
Died9 April 1917 (aged 24)
near Thelus, Vimy Ridge, France
Allegiance Canada
Service/branchCanadian Expeditionary Force
Years of service1915 - 1917
Unit16th Battalion, CEF
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsVictoria Cross

William Johnstone Milne VC (21 December 1892 – 9 April 1917) was a Canadian soldier. Milne was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Milne was a Canadian soldier in World War I who received the VC at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917.


Milne was born on 21 December 1892 in Scotland and moved to Canada in 1910. He worked on a farm near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan before joining the army in September 1915.

Milne was 24 years old and a private in the 16th (The Canadian Scottish) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 9 April 1917 near Thelus, France, during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, where his actions led to the award of the Victoria Cross.

His citation reads:

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.[1]

Four soldiers earned the Victoria Cross in the Battle of Vimy Ridge; the others were Thain Wendell MacDowell, Ellis Wellwood Sifton and John George Pattison.

Milne's body was never found. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.

The medal[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 30122". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 1917. p. 5705.

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