Enlisted to the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders on June 28, 1940.
To be Lance Corporal on November 1, 1943.
Reverts to the rank of Private own request on May 12, 1944.
Promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on July 26, 1944.
Promoted to the rank of Corporal on August 18, 1944.
19 September, 1944:
"D" Coy made a dash up the hill to within 200 yards of the crest before our guns ceased their covering barrage. As soon as it did, one German came up from his bunker below and fired some bursts from his Schmeisser machine-gun. Corporal James McDonald was hit in the knee and went down (he should survive the war). The rest of the Company swarmed over the hill and captured the rest of the guns intact. From this position, and the one adjoining, the Glens took 185 prisoners, but not before the enemy had time to blow up some of their own guns. By the time this action was over it was dark, but the enemy was still in Le Portel, France (4 to 5 km South of Boulogne-Sur-Mer). "D" Coy took what sleep they could in the enemy bunkers.
Next morning, though the field glasses they could see the enemy moving around a hut in Le Portel, and smoke was issuing from its chimney. Corporal Don Milne said: 'let's put out the fire'. He knew nothing about Artillery, but the breech was open on the nearest gun his section had captured. Milne aimed the gun by looking down the barrel, a round was put in, the breech closed, and the section took cover behind the parapet. Milne pulled the long lanyard, the gun fired, and the hut disappeared. They all gave a loud cheer. Cpl Donald James Milne was awarded the Military Medal.
(Book: Up The Glens)
October 11, 1944:
Cpl Milne had a minor wound to the head caused by shrapnel. In an attempt to reach R.A.P. (Thomas hoeve, Hoofdplaat, Netherlands) he was hit for a second time, fatal.
The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders war diary reports on October 11, 1944: MR170153 (Oostlangeweg, Hoofdplaat, Netherlands)
0315 hrs: Continual harassing fire. Two enemy gunboats have slipped out of hiding and engaged us for some time. The enemy is laying smoke across "A" Coy front. Defense tasks are called for.
0400 hrs: Gunboats have disappeared.
0715 hrs: The morning is cloudy with a low mist.
1100 hrs: The weather has cleared. our aircraft has intercepted the enemy boats which we reported earlier in the morning as trying to escape. There were 3 boats which we observed, and they were loaded with troops. Typhoons are occupied at present engaging targets in the area.
1125 hrs: "o" Group: 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade is standing fast. Division's intention is now to make this the focal point and Brigade has under command the 7 RECCE (17th Duke's of York Royal Canadian Hussars) and the North Shore New Brunswick Regiment (NSR). The position of the 10th Brigade remains unchanged. The Highland Light Infantry of Canada (HLIofC) target is Biervliet, Netherlands, the 7 RECCE is to clear a land route into the pocket. The North Nova Scotia Highlanders (NNSH) who at present are located in woods 173133 (Helenahoeve, Biervliet) are to move west and take over Driewegen, Netherlands, with their "B" Coy taking out area 161145 (cross road Wilhelminadijk / Zuidlangeweg, Hoofdplaat, Netherlands).
1250 hrs: The unit is to be joined shortly 30 OR's (LOB), 1 blitz, 1 mortar carrier, the Scout Officier, snipers... and, of no small importance, the mail. The snipers will be welcomed by "C" Coy who have enemy snipers in their area.
1330 hrs: The HLI of C are doing very well, except that they are a little behind time. They report that prisoners are coming back. The Brigadier comments: "I don't wonder... all that bloody racket you're making!".
1402 hrs: The Brigadier urges the HLI of C to keep pushing. The opposition is stiff at Biervliet. "D" Coy (SDG) report that they have only 7 OR's (other ranks) remaining who landed with the unit on D-DAY (June 6, 1944). Many of the originals are however returning among reinforcements having recovered from their wounds (in the UK).
1450 hrs: The heavies are over Flushing, Netherlands (other side of the Westerschelde water). "A" Coy reports that the bombing was effective on the heavy guns.
1600 hrs: Enemy mortar is reported at 153160 (Westlangeweg, Hoofdplaat about 350 meters east of Hogeweg, Hoofdplaat) and an Anti Tank gun at 150162 (crossing Hogeweg / Inlaag, Hoofdplaat). The artillery is called down upon these sites.
1620 hrs: "A" Coy reports their being attacked by Spitfires (Allied fighter planes). The "D" Coy attack on x-roads 161145 (Wilhelminadijk / Zuidlangeweg, Hoofdplaat) has been called off. At the moment things would seem to be slightly 'balled up'.
1730 hrs: The HLI of C are firmly located in the Biervliet area with Coy's on target areas 434, 200 South East of 435 and One 500 West of 435. The NSR are between the HLI of C and the NNSH with Coy's at targets 266,264 and 500 East of 277. Coy's of the NNSH are on targets 276,277 and 434. The 7 Recce are situated in FERRET the area formerly held by the HLI of C: They are situated around the area target 447 with plans to move Southward's. The Chaudiere are in DAFFODIL the original NNSH area.
Personal details have been collected from official Service Records and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Some of the additional information has been provided by War Diaries, Libera Me (G.E. Spittael), Polder Fighting (R.W. Catsburg), Veterans Affairs Canada, WW2 Talk, Aircrew Remembered and other sources. The commonwealth-adegem.com website is not responsible for incorrect information.
Everything has been collected and processed voluntarily by Michael van de Velde, Netherlands. Along the way I had great support from expert researchers and other volunteers. Thank you!