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The Airmen's Stories - P/O J A Milne


John Archibald Milne was born on 18th January 1915 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada. He went to Victoria Elementary School there and then the Yorkton Collegiate Institute. He obtained his private pilots license in 1935 and served in the RCAF as an aero engine fitter.

He went to England in June 1939 and joined the RAF in August on a short service commission. He did his elementary flying training at 19 E&RFTS Gatwick and then moved on to 3 FTS South Cerney. With his training completed, Milne arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down on 21st May 1940.

After converting to Spitfires he was posted to 72 Squadron at Acklington on 9th June. After flying some convoy patrols, Milne moved later in the month to 605 Squadron at Drem. The squadron moved south to Croydon on 7th September.



Milne claimed a Me110 destroyed on the 27th and shared in the destruction of a Ju88 on 4th October. He was shot down on the 22nd by Me109s over Croydon and made a crash-landing near Dorking in Hurricane V6783.

Milne was slightly wounded in the action but fractured his hip on landing and was admitted to hospital. He later married his nurse.

In April 1941 Milne went to 52 OTU Crosby-on-Eden as an instructor.

He was posted to Aden in November 1941 to set up an OTU after which he joined 112 Squadron in the Western Desert in early 1942.

On 26th June 1942 112 were based at Sidi Haneish near Mesa Matruh. The alarm was raised after dark when German tanks were reported to be advancing on the airfield. In a rushed night takeoff Milne, in Kittyhawk I AK909, struck another aircraft and crashed.

He fractured his spine and had to be evacuated to Baragwanath in South Africa where he spent the next six months in a plaster cast.

Milne returned to the UK in November 1942, later commanded 10 Group Communications Flight and in 1944 went to Assam as Chief Test Pilot.

He was released from the RAF in July 1946 and returned to his home town in Canada.

He worked postwar for the Yorkton City engineering department.

Milne died on 14th February 2007.


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