Sidney Herbert Milnes
1880 – 7th August 1915. Lancashire Fusiliers (5th Battalion)
Sidney Herbert Milnes was a former Manchester FC player who was killed in Gallipoli in 1915. Milnes was born in Seedfield, Bury, to Edmund and Isabella Jane Milnes. Edmund was a Drysalter and Cotton Spinner, and quite wealthy; the Milnes household had five staff. Consequently, Edmund could afford to send Sidney to Marlborough College for schooling.
Upon return, Sidney joined the family spinning firm, Milnes Brothers and Hoyle, and joined Manchester FC. He was also a keen tennis player. On his time at Manchester, the Lancashire Fusiliers Annual (1914-1915) wrote;
For many years (Milnes) was a leading member of the Manchester Football Club, and in spite of his small build, was a most useful player in any position behind the scrummage. With more weight he would have certainly have made a name as a great player for he combined with cleverness at the game a wonderful knowledge of all its finer points.
After retiring from regular play he became a keen member of the Manchester and District Referee’s Society, and was himself an excellent referee, and in that capacity he once went out with an English team to South America. He served for many years on the Lancashire County R.U.F.C., and was one of the selection board. He was deservedly popular everywhere, “for he was one of the best-hearted sportsmen anyone could wish to meet.”
Milnes had been in the territorial Lancashire Fusiliers since 1900, following the footsteps of his three older brothers. He therefore joined the war early, serving as a Captain in the 5th Battalion. The following year they were in Gallipoli, and Milnes’ unit was frequently involved in the fierce fighting of the Dardenelles. In August, 1915, Milnes was last seen badly wounded in an assault on “The Vineyard”. His body was never found, but two years later he was confirmed as killed in action.
Milnes is commemorated at Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Panels 59-73, 218-219
Lancashire Fusiliers Annual 1914-1915
Imperial War Museum
World Rugby Museum