Tag Archives: Western Road School

Pilot Officer Alfred Robert William Milne

Pilot Officer Alfred Robert William Milne, of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
618 Squadron, died on 11th October 1944, aged 22, in a training flight over the North York Moors. He died along with Warrant Officer Eric Stubbs, who came from Guildford, Surrey.

Their remains were discovered on a farm near Chop Gate, North Yorkshire, in March 2020. A police investigation was launched to identify the remains, which were returned to their families. In August 2021 they were given a military funeral. This was reported in the national press and covered by ITV.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission website states that a memorial to Pilot Officer Milne is in the London Road Cemetery, Mitcham, in plot 14, grave 8633.

Alfred Milne’s parents, Alfred Charles and Daisy Milne, lived at no. 96 Lammas Avenue according to the 1939 electoral register. The details of his will show that he and his wife were at the same address. They had married in July 1943.

MILNE, Alfred Robert William, of 96 Lammas-avenue, Mitcham, Surrey, died 11 October 1944, on war service.

Administration Llandudno
5 April 1945

to Gwendolen Margaret Milne widow.

Effects £86 19s. 1d.

From the UK, World War II Index to Allied Airmen Roll of Honour, 1939-1945 on Ancestry:

Flew into a hill near Bransdale, Yorks in low cloud during a transit flight from Warboys to Turnberry while carrying a highball bomb.

His death was reported on the front page of the 3rd November 1944 issue of the Mitcham News & Mercury, although they gave his rank as Warrant Officer.

KILLED IN A PLANE CRASH

After Completing Tour of “ Ops ”

ANOTHER old boy of Western-road School is this week reported to have been killed on service. He was Warrant Officer Alfred R. W. Milne (aged 22), eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. T. C. Milne, Lammas-avenue, Mitcham, who was killed in a plane crash in Yorkshire.

W.O. Milne, who married Miss Gwendoline Oliver, Lavender-avenue, Mitcham, a year ago last July, had just completed his tour of “ops.” Among his friends was Ken Pile, also an old boy of Western-road, who, as reported recently in the “News and Mercury” has just been awarded the D.F.M.

Before volunteering at the outbreak of war, W.O. Milne was a postman at the South-West London District Office. He spent eighteen months training in Canada, and returned to this country to serve with Coastal Command.

He was a member of the First Mitcham Group of Boy Scouts.

Ken Pile was also killed in a flying accident, in March 1945.

Pilot Officer Eric Pile

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October, 1944.

Younger brother of Pilot Officer Kenneth Laurence Pile D.F.M.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October, 1944:

Two Mitcham pilot officer brothers of the R.A.F. are in the news this week through the award to one of them of the Distinguished Flying Medal.

He is Pilot Officer Kenneth Laurence Pile, aged 22, eldest son of Mrs E.C. Pile, Eldertree-place, Grove-road, Mitcham, who has completed his full number of “ops”, most of them over Germany.

His brother Eric, who is two years his junior, trained in Southern Rhodesia, and is now in Italy.

Both were educated at Western-road Central School, where their father, the W.A. Pile was school keeper from the opening day until his death. Mr Pile served through the last war.

P.O. Ken Pile continued his education at Wimbledon Technical Institute. He was a Flight Engineer with the R.A.F.V.R., with a rank of Flight Sergeant, when his gallantry was officially recognised by the award. it is not yet known why he was decorated.

Both brothers are keen sportsmen.

Kurt Taussig, a Jewish refugee and the last Spitfire pilot from Czechoslovakia who stayed in the UK after the war, spoke of his good friend Eric Pile, in an interview recorded by the Imperial War Museum (reel no. 11, from 2 minutes 25 seconds to 4 minutes 40 seconds.)

He said that as Eric didn’t have a father, and Kurt had no family himself, the two formed a friendship on this common ground. He said they were ‘like brothers’. Kurt spoke of their time in operations flying Spitfire Vc and IX with 225 Squadron, RAF at Peretola Airfield, Florence, from February 1945 to May 1947, and of reactions to posting and their accommodation at Villa Cora.

In the recording, made in December 2007, Kurt said that Eric was living in Stirling, Scotland and had advertised in a newspaper to meet up with his old comrades from 225 squadron, and Kurt re-established contact with him then.

Kurt Taussig died 19th September 2019, aged 96, and was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, 25th September 2019.