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MILNE, George Alfred Charles (1916-1997)

MILNE, George Alfred Charles 'Tiger' (1916-1997)

Notable cricketer and hotel manager, George Milne led a celebrity life mixing with the wealthy and the famous.

Born in Melbourne on 8 April 1916, elder son of policeman, Frederick W Milne (1890-1965) and his wife, Aimee Isobel nee Scobie (1895-1936), George came to the College from University High School enrolling as a day student from 15 February 1933 to December 1935. His address at enrolment was 6 Manning St, Newtown.

At College, he was a member of both the 1st Football XVIII and 1st Cricket XI for three years from 1933 to 1935, becoming captain of the 1st Cricket XI in 1935. His cricketing records stood for many years - a fast bowler, he took forty-six wickets at an average 8.4 runs each for the year 1935 (an APS record at the time), and notably scored 133 runs against Melbourne Grammar School (MGS) in 1934. In 1935, he took 9 wickets for 39 runs in a match against Geelong Grammar School (GGS). In his College career he scored 557 runs, and took 69 wickets. He was also a School Prefect and Calvert House Prefect in 1935.

During World War II, he enlisted (No. VX44781) in the 2nd AIF and served with the 2/22nd Battalion. He was captured by the Japanese on New Britain and interned at Zentsuji Prisoner of War Camp. Most of the officers in the camp were Allied officers captured in the early battles of 1942 and the camp was a 'show camp' used by the Japanese for propaganda purposes. Milne later wrote to The Pegasus from Shikoku Island, Japan, where he was confined with Don Dennis (1st Independent Company): 'Daily life here is occupied by lots of study, such as book-keeping, Japanese, shorthand, German and other subjects which I am sure will prove most useful in later activities. Don't worry about me, health is still good and hopes are high, but have as yet received no mail from home. Please pass on my regards to all my friends.'

He was recovered from Japanese captivity at Hakodate on 11 September 1945. The 'Herald' (Melb) newspaper reported his release under the headline '24-Not Out!:'
'Cricket enthusiasts, who remember Lt George Milne as an all-rounder of the MCC first eleven, will be glad to learn that he is safe and well. He was missing in Rabaul, but his father, Sgt F Milne, in charge of Prahran police district, has now received a letter from him, saying that he has been a prisoner of war in Zentsuji prisoner-of-war camp in south Japan. Lt Milne, who is aged 24, says he is in good health, is unwounded, and is being well looked after. He was taken prisoner at Rabaul, and was transferred to Japan on 19th July 1942.'

'Tiger' Milne was discharged from the army on 3 April 1946. On 7 July 1947 he married Bettye Jackson, of Camberwell.

He died in Sydney on 30 December 1997.

Ad Astra in March 1972 noted that:
'George Milne ('31) has moved through the field of hotel management to the 18th floor of the 700-room Merlin Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. One-time manager of Menzies Hotel and the Southern Cross, he is now general manager of Merlin Hotels for Malaysia.' and in September 1973, that he had returned to Australia.

His brother, Norman Frederick Milne (1926-1998), was also educated at Geelong College.

Norman's father, Frederick W Milne was a Detective Constable with the Geelong Police in the mid 1930s. In 1936, the family home of Frederick Milne at 6 Manning Street was torn to bits in a bomb explosion. Frederick's wife, Aimee Isobel Milne was killed in the blast. Frederick's son, Norman and sister Chloris were sleeping in a back room of the house at the time but were relatively unscathed by the explosion. George was no longer living at the family home by this time and so escaped any injury at all.

Sources: Ad Astra March 1972 p7; Ad Astra Sept 1973; ‘Geelong Collegians at the Second World War and Subsequent Conficts’ compiled by J. Affleck pp383-384 (citing Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; National Archives; AWM Photographic Collection P04017.005).

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