|As a young Lieutenant Milne served as naval aide-de-camp to Lord Chelmsford during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. The morning of the disaster at
Isandlwana, Milne left the ill-fated camp with Chelmsford's column and it was he who climbed to the top of a tree to observe the events at the camp
with his telescope when the first reports of a Zulu attack began to trickle in. He reported that the draught oxen appeared to have been moved into
the camp but that all else looked normal. The "oxen" were in actuality the mass of Zulu warriors who by that time had overwhelmed the camp and
He continued on as Chelmsford's ADC until the end of the war and was present at the final battle at Ulundi where he was slightly wounded.
Known affectionately as 'Arky-Barky' by Queen Alexandra, Milne had no naval wartime experience prior to the outbreak of war in August 1914,
having spent ten years in royal yachts (two as commander). Having once said "they don't pay me to think, they pay me to be an Admiral", Milne
was appointed to command of naval forces in the Mediterranean in November 1912, having risen from Rear-Admiral in 1904 to full Admiral in
Contemporary opinion of Milne was, on the whole, unfavourable. Admiral John Fisher, the formidable former (and soon to return) First Sea Lord,
regarded Milne with contempt, attributing (correctly) his successful naval career to be based upon royal favouritism.
In the days immediately prior to the start of war in August 1914 Milne was instructed to monitor the whereabouts of two German warships in the
region commanded by Admiral Wilhelm Souchon, the cruisers SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau.
Milne reported seeing the cruisers on 4 August, a mere matter of hours prior to the expiration of the British ultimatum to Germany at midnight.
Instead of taking action on his own account (which would have flown in the face of Admiralty orders) he permitted the two cruisers to escape to the
Dardanelles - with significant consequences for Turkey's subsequent decision to enter the war against the Allied powers.
Milne's failure to stop the Goeben and Breslau caused a furore in the British press and Milne was vilified. Although exonerated of any blame by
the Admiralty in London (well aware of their own failure in the matter), Milne was never again given an active command.
Formally retiring after the armistice Milne published a defence of his actions in 1921. He died on 4 July 1938 never having escaped the stigma of
the Goeben and Breslau affair.
Real Photo Post Card
Russell & Sons - Photographer
|Above: Yhe cut signature autograph of Archibald Berkeley Milne. Signed: "Yours Faithfully A. Berkeley Milne" the autograph was cut - in
Victorian fashion - from a larger sheet and laid down on ruled notebook paper.
3 3/4 Inches by 2 Inches
9.5 cm x 5 cm