Alexander Milne (1806 - 1896)

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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet's Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Inveresk, East Lothian, Scotland
Death: Died in Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland
Managed by: Alisdair James Smyth
Last Updated:

About Alexander Milne

Biographical Summary

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet, GCB (10 November 1806 – 29 December 1896) was a Royal Navy officer. As a captain on the North America and West Indies Station he was employed capturing slave-traders and carrying out fishery protection duties. He served a Junior Naval Lord under both Liberal and Conservative administrations and was put in charge of organising British and French transports during the Crimean War. He became Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station and in this role he acted with diplomacy, especially in response to the Trent Affair on 8 November 1861 during the American Civil War, when the USS San Jacinto, commanded by Union Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent and removed, as contraband of war, two Confederate diplomats, James Mason and John Slidell. He became First Naval Lord in the Third Derby ministry in July 1866 and in this role took advantage of the Government's focus on spending reduction to ask fundamental questions about naval strategy. He again became First Naval Lord in the First Gladstone ministry in November 1872, remaining in office under the Second Disraeli ministry and identifying the critical need for trade protection at times of War and demanding new cruisers to protect British merchant shipping.

Naval career

Born the second son of the Admiral Sir David Milne and Grace Milne (daughter of Sir Alexander Purves, Bt), Milne joined the Royal Navy in February 1817. After initial training at the Royal Navy College at Portsmouth he joined his father's flagship, the fourth-rate HMS Leander, on the North American Station in 1819. Over the next few years he served in the sixth-rate HMS Conway, third-rate HMS Ramillies, second-rate HMS Ganges and third-rate HMS Albion. He became an acting lieutenant in the sloop HMS Cadmus on the coast of Brazil in June 1827 and was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant on 8 September 1827. Promoted to commander on 25 November 1830, he joined the sloop HMS Snake on the West Indies Station in December 1836 and was employed capturing slave-traders.

Promoted to captain on 30 January 1839, Milne was given command of the sixth-rate HMS Crocodile on the North America and West Indies Station and employed carrying out fishery protection duties before becoming Captain of the sixth-rate HMS Cleopatra also on the North America and West Indies Station in November 1840. In HMS Cleopatra he was employed both capturing slave-traders and carrying out fishery protection duties. He became Flag-captain in the first-rate HMS Caledonia to his father, who was then serving as Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth, in April 1842 and Flag-captain in the first-rate HMS St Vincent to Sir Charles Ogle, who was then serving as Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, in October 1846.

Milne became Fourth Naval Lord in the First Russell ministry in December 1847, Fifth Naval Lord in the First Derby ministry in March 1852 and Fourth Naval Lord in the Aberdeen ministry in January 1853, when he was put in charge of organising British and French transports during the Crimean War. He became Third Naval Lord in the First Palmerston ministry in November 1857 and, having been promoted to rear-admiral on 20 January 1858[5] and appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (Civil) on 20 December 1858, he became Fourth Naval Lord in the Second Derby ministry in April 1859. During his service at the Admiralty from December 1847 to June 1859 he served under four different First Lords of the Admiralty in three Liberal and two Conservative administrations.

Milne became Commander-in-Chief, North America and West Indies Station, hoisting his flag in the second-rate HMS Nile, in January 1860: in this role he acted with diplomacy, especially in response to the Trent Affair on 8 November 1861 during the American Civil War, when the USS San Jacinto, commanded by Union Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent and removed, as contraband of war, two Confederate diplomats, James Mason and John Slidell. Milne was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (Military) on 25 February 1864 and promoted to vice-admiral on 13 April 1865.

Milne became First Naval Lord in the Third Derby ministry in July 1866 and in this role took advantage of the Government's focus on spending reduction to ask fundamental questions about naval strategy. He remained in office until the Third Derby ministry fell from power 18 months later. He became Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, hoisting his flag in the battleship HMS Lord Warden, in April 1869. He was promoted to full admiral on 1 April 1870 and advanced to Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath on 20 May 1871. He again became First Naval Lord in the First Gladstone ministry in November 1872, remaining in office under the Second Disraeli ministry and identifying the critical need for trade protection at times of War and demanding new cruisers to protect British merchant shipping. He retired from office in September 1876 and was created a Baronet on 26 October 1876.

In retirement he chaired a Royal Commission on the defence of British possessions and commerce abroad. Promoted to Admiral of the Fleet on 10 June 1881, he lived at Inveresk House in Inveresk where he died from pneumonia on 29 December 1896. He was buried in Inveresk churchyard on 2 January 1897.

Family

In 1850 he married Euphemia Cochran; they had two daughters and one son.

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 January 2013, 11:25 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sir_Alexander_Milne,_1st_Baronet&oldid=533351096> [accessed 10 June 2013]

Other References

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Admiral of the Fleet Sir Alexander Milne, 1st Baronet's Timeline

1806
November 10, 1806
Inveresk, East Lothian, Scotland
1850
1850
Age 43
1896
December 29, 1896
Age 90
Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland