Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Armistice Day

Roy Milner is one of the young men named on our local War Memorial. He was the younger son of the family who lived at Totley Hall and after leaving Repton School he went to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. On 22nd January 1913 he was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and began his career as a regular soldier. The Milner family were well liked and respected and on the outbreak of war in August 1914 the local people lined the lane and cheered as he left to join his regiment. On September 11th 1914 the regiment landed in France and Roy wrote home to his parents to say that he was on his way to the front and in good spirits. Below is an excerpt from our book describing the last few days of his life. The details are taken from the regiment's War Diary.

On 14 September Sec. Lt Milner and his men of ‘A’ company began the 350 mile march to the area around the River Aisne in Picardy. The following day the battalion marched for fifteen hours in heavy rain. The drenching rain continued as they marched for another twelve hours on the 16th. Finally, weary and footsore, they arrived at Chacrise on the 18th where they were billeted on a farm and were given a 24 hour rest period. On 19 September with three other battalions of the 18th Brigade they moved forward to the village of Vendresse in the steep-sided Troyon valley where they relieved the 1st Black Watch in the trenches. Later that day they were moved back to a reserve line.

20 September dawned wet and cold with heavy rain and sleet falling. The Sherwood Foresters joined other regiments as they attempted, with some success, to retake trenches broken into and occupied by the Germans. Roy Milner, with a fellow officer and most of their men, was cut down by heavy machine gun fire as he led a charge up the valley. On 24 September Mr and Mrs Milner received a telegram from the War Office announcing the news of their son's death. Roy’s body now lies in Grave Ref. 6. C. 5 in the Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension in Aisne, France. He was just 21 years old.

Remembering also Gt Uncle Harry 1880-1916 and Uncle Harold 1911-1942

When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.


Diane said...

Sobering Rowan. The play on Saturday centred around 2 young men age 18 and 21 and was written by a soldier from the 1st World War. We travelled over the Somme area in Picardy last week. Its a vast, plain like are and I couldn't imagine the horror that had taken place there. I'll email you as I would love a copy of your book. xxxx

Hollace said...

What a heartbreaking story. It is good to have it told and to personalize the sacrifices made by the military and their families. I was glad to hear the the townsfolk liked Roy; it made his loss all the more poignant to the town.
I hate war!!
I am glad you are sharing portions of the book. Thank you.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Thank you, Rowan. A sad story simply but effectively told.

Dog Trot Farm said...

What a brave young man. I salute all soldiers, young, old, male, female on this most important day. Thank you for sharing this story, both thought provoking and heart wrenching. Another cold and rainy day here in Maine. From across the pond, Julie.

Mac n' Janet said...

Thank you for sharing this and for all the work you put into it. A number of years ago we visited Verdun and the things we saw there, the trenches, the ossuary, have never left me.

Rosie said...

In just 9 days from arriving in France he was dead! As must so many others have been. It was and still is so very sad. I'm glad your book is keeping the memory of these men alive. I too will e-mail you about your book.

Anonymous said...

This story is the reason why today is a day to honor and keep the soldiers memories alive.
Thank you for sharing, Rowan.
Hugs Rosemary...xx

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, Rowan. It is hard to read such things, but necessary. Thank you for keeping his memory alive.

I've chosen your blog for a Liebster award. Check my post tomorrow for details.

Bovey Belle said...

A sobering thought that Roy Milner had scarcely arrived than he was dead . . . His parents, and your village, must have been distraught at the news. What a lovely young man he looked too.

Morning's Minion said...

Like those who have already posted comments, I thank you for sharing this young man's story. I wish that more towns and villages and their historical societies would undertake remembrance projects such as yours. This sort of research and compilation is both compelling and emotionally draining. Some of the events may read like good fiction--but these were real people.

Pomona said...

What a sad tale - tragic. I have just been editing a book on HMS Hood which went down with only 3 survivors in WW2 - these stories are heartbreaking.

Pomona x

Victoria said...

HUgs Rowan..thankyou for sharing this powerful story and tribute!

Heidi said...

I have been trying to comment so not sure if any are going through. I will try again...

Such a wonderful tribute to a very brave man!

I saw a monument on Daybreak (on ITV I think) which was so amazing. There was a door opening by the statues where the sunlight falls through at just the right hour of Armistice Day.

Hugs from Holland ~

bright star said...

A beautiful post.Willwe ever learn!

Witchcrafted Life said...

Powerfully moving tribute. Thank you very much for sharing Roy's story with the world.

Many heartfelt thanks as well for your caring well wishes regarding my broken foot, kind soul, I sincerely appreciate it.

♥ Jessica