People on board
MILNE, Edward Ramsay, Capt.
Edward Ramsay Milne was born on the 6th of February 1888 in Montrose, Forfarshire, Scotland to William Nicol Milne and his wife Mary. In the 1891 census the family was living in Rose Cottage in Montrose and Edward was the second of the four children, two sons and two daughters. William’s occupation was given as ‘Salmon Fisher’, but the 1901 census shows that he was ‘Manager of a Fishery’. In 1901 the family were living at Nun’s Island in Galway, though the two additional sons were born in Scotland. Edward was then thirteen.
Some years later he became a junior reporter on the staff of the Galway Express, but around 1909 he moved to Canada where some of his brothers were already settled, and took up farming. On 16th December, 1914 he enlisted with the Canadian Army in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He gave his father as next-of-kin with an address at Cashel, Co Galway. When his younger brother Arthur enlisted he specified Gowla Lodge, Cashel. Edward landed in Europe in February 1915 and served on the Western Front throughout the war, rising to the rank of Captain. He was wounded in February 1916 in a trench raid and was the first Canadian to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery.
Recovering from wounds he returned to Ireland where he may have been working as a Recruiting Officer for the Connaught Rangers. On the 30th of October 1917 he married Ida McCullagh from Galway in St Peter’s Church, Phibsborough, Dublin. He was travelling to London for a medical consultation, walking with the aid of crutches, when he found himself caught up in the torpedoing of RMS Leinster. Given his physical condition, it was not surprising that he did not survive the sinking, but his body was recovered and he was buried in Bohermore cemetery in Galway.
The Galway Express, the newspaper he had worked for, reported on the funeral. The Connaught Rangers took part in the burial service, and all recruiting offices in Ireland were closed for two hours. The newspaper staff walked in the cortege, and his wife, mother and sister attended the funeral. A son, Edward, was born in 1919 in Galway. A report in the Freeman’s Journal in July 1919 described how “Col. Chamier, officer in command at Renmore Barracks, Galway … pinned on Capt. Milne’s infant son the Military Cross, posthumously awarded to the late Captain Edward Ramsay Milne, D.C.M. for exceptional bravery in action”.