Roy Denzil Pashley Milner

Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918

Roy Milner was was born in Totley on 1 December 1892, the second son and youngest child of William Aldam Milner and Sarah Elizabeth Milner (nee Roberts), of Totley Hall.

Roy Milner
EnlargeRoy Milner
Totley Hall
EnlargeTotley Hall
Roy's father was born in Wadsley, Yorkshire on 26 March 1854, the son of William Pashley Milner and Susan Aldam Aldam. He was a barrister and magistrate and in the 1881 census he lived with his parents at Meersbrook Hall, Norton. Roy's mother was born in Sheffield in 1857, the daughter of Sir Samuel Roberts, a Sheffield magistrate and MP, and his wife Sarah Ann (nee Sorby).

Roy's parents were married in Sheffield on 6 June 1883 and the following year they moved to Totley, altering the old hall and building the lodge on Totley Hall Lane in 1887. Their first child was a daughter, Marjorie Elsie, who was baptized at Christ Church, Dore on 21 June 1884. Two sons followed who were also baptized there, William Alfred (known as Billy) on 20 April 1888 and Roy Denzil Pashley on 1 April 1893.

Marjorie married William Wilson Jnr., a snuff manufacturer of Beauchief Hall, Norton, at Christ Church Dore on 1 July 1909 and went to live at Horsley Gate Hall, Holmsfield, Derbyshire. The Sharrow Mill snuff business still exists and is owned and run by members of the Wilson family.

Roy's father was made High Sheriff of Derbyshire in March 1911. Both he and his wife were Governors of Totley All Saints School and Joan Stratford's history of the school chronicles many of Sarah Milner's visits to give talks, donations and prizes. The children also enjoyed visits to Totley Hall to see the gardens and she accompanied them on outings.

Totley Hall Lodge
EnlargeTotley Hall Lodge
Roy Milner was a pupil at Repton School in south Derbyshire from September 1906 to July 1911. When he left school, he joined the Army and went to the Royal Military College Sandhurst for his initial training as an officer. He obtained a commission in the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) on 22 January 1913 and looked forward to a promising military career. He was very popular with his fellow officers and men and he played polo for his regiment when they were stationed at Plymouth. He was also fond of hunting and he was a member of the Barlow Hunt.

On the outbreak of war Sec. Lt. Milner, two other officers and a hundred men were deployed to South Shields where they took over a battleship that Armstrong, Whitworth & Company had built for Turkey but which was instead claimed by the British Government. The soldiers were on board for two days until the Royal Navy arrived to take possession of the ship. On 8 September 1914 the regiment sailed from Southampton and arrived at St. Nazaire in France on 11 September. They formed part of the 18th Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force. Roy wrote home to his parents to say that he was on his way to the front and was in good spirits.

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.

All Saints Church
EnlargeAll Saints Church
Stone Laid By Mr & Mrs Milner
EnlargeStone Laid By Mr & Mrs Milner
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 Roy's death. His body now lies in Grave Ref. 6. C. 5 in the Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension in Aisne, France.

For the rest of the war Sarah Milner worked tirelessly helping to provide aid and comforts for wounded soldiers and also informing and educating local people about the conflict and how they could help the men at the Front. How difficult this must have been for her as she mourned the loss of her youngest child. After the war William and Sarah Milner gave land on Totley Hall Lane and money towards the building of a new church. All Saints Church opened in 1924 and the chancel is dedicated to Roy Milner.

Roy's father died in 1931 and his mother went to live in Titheacre, Baslow, Derbyshire shortly after and died aged 87 in 1944. The family name is commemorated in the names of roads built in Totley in the 1930s, the first of which was Aldam Road.

Totley War Memorial Project Group