Admiral Sir David Milne

1763 - 1845

Naval commander. Born in Musselburgh, the son of an Edinburgh silk merchant, Milne entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1778. He saw action during the American War of Independence in the Caribbean and in the Second Relief of Gibraltar, which was under siege by a Franco-Spanish fleet (1782). He served in the West Indies (1778-83) and then in support of the merchant trade with the East Indies (1783-93). Promoted to Captain in 1795, he led a force which won a victory over a French division off Puerto Rico that same year and was present at the capture of ports in Dutch Guyana (1796). He continued to fight the French in the Caribbean (who were allied to the Americans) and was involved in the campaign against Santo Domingo (1797-99).

In 1800, he captured the French frigate La Vengeance off the African coast. In 1804, he took command of a naval station in Canada and was involved in the Anglo-American war of 1812. He was the deputy commander of the fleet which attacked Algiers in 1816. Milne was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1814 and widowed in the same year. In 1816 he took command of the British Navy in North America, living in Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Bermuda. Returning to Britain in 1819, he took a second wife and was appointed Vice-Admiral in 1825.

The last three years of his life were spent in Devonport as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy. He died at sea while returning to Scotland from Plymouth, having served his country for more than 60 years. Milne is buried in the churchyard at Inveresk. His children include David Milne-Home (1805-90) and Admiral Sir Alexander Milne (1806-96).

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