Thomas Ross Milne, the 26th entry in this series marking the half-way point, was my 3rd cousin twice removed. We are both descended from William Langton and Margaret Risdale who were his 2nd Great Grandparents, and my 4th Great Grandparents. William and Margaret represent the beginnings of part of my Canadian heritage, as they were the first direct ancestors on my father’s side to arrive in Canada. Born in England at the end of the 18th century, this couple crossed the Atlantic with their children sometime between 1816 and 1825, settling in what is now the Peterborough area of Ontario. William and Margaret had 8 children: I am descended from their second oldest son, Francis Joseph, while Thomas Ross Milne is descended from their eldest daughter, Mary Ann.
Mary Ann Langton and her husband, Malcolm Macintyre, eventually settled in Fergus, Ontario, a small community in south western Ontario, just north of Guelph. Their eldest son, Duncan, a blacksmith, went on to marry Jean Ross, a recent arrival from Scotland, and they had twelve children between 1861 and 1879. Their 8th child, Helen Maud Macintyre, was Thomas Ross Milne’s mother.
Helen married Thomas William Milne, a tailor, in 1892. Thomas Ross was born the following year. From the 1901 census, it is clear that the Milne family is living with Helen’s father-in-law, also a tailor. Through one of my connections on Ancestry, I have seen a delightful picture of three generations of Milne men, Thomas Ross, his father, and his grandfather taken when Thomas Ross is no older than 5 years old. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to contact the owners of the picture to use it here, but if I am able to in the future, I will certainly share it.
By the 1911 census, Thomas Ross is working for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a baggageman, and by 1916, the year he enlisted in the CEF, he was a telegraph operator for the CPR. This trade directed his participation in the war as he directed to the Canadian Engineers Training Division and eventually the Canadian Signalling Corps where he served as the rank of Sapper. He arrived in England in November 1916, and unfortunately in less than a month, was hospitalized with German measles, and wasn’t released until mid-January 1917. By May 1917 he was in France with the Canadian Signalling Pool. This work could have involved everything from laying and operating telephone lines, operating the very new wireless technology, or sending messages via morse code with lanterns.
He retuned to England in May of 1919, and then returned to Canada to be demobilized the following month. He returned to his work with the CPR, and was moved to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) Ontario. In December of 1919, he married Margaret Whent, and by late 1920 they were expecting their first child who, sadly, was stillborn. They had one other child the following year in 1921, Thomas Howard Milne, the fourth in a line of Thomas Milnes, Thomas Howard joined the Royal Canadian Navy during the second world war, and another photo I’ve seen shows him standing with his father, both looking very proud.
Thomas Ross Milne passed away in 1953 at the age of 60.