PRIVATE WILLIAM MILNER
11TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 22
BURIED: BARENTHAL MILITARY CEMETERY, ITALY
William Milner was killed in action in Italy one hundred years ago today. His father chose his inscription. William was one of his parents' twelve children of whom five had died before 1911. Mrs Mary Milner, William's mother, died in 1915, as did his twenty-two-year-old brother Harry who died at home in Droitwich. Florence, his older sister died in 1917. Leaving five - four siblings and their father - to mourn William's death.
William Milner served with the 7th Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment, which was posted to Italy in November 1917. The battalion were part of an Allied contingent sent to help the Italians in the Trentino where it was feared the Austrians were getting the upper hand. Milner was killed on 11 October 1918 on the Asiago Plateau during a raid on the Austrian trenches.
Italy was a completely different battle front from the flat lands of France and Flanders, and from the desert heat of Palestine and Mesopotamia. It was rugged, mountainous and inhospitable and the cemetery where Milner is buried is rarely accessible between November and April due to deep snow.
For all its inhospitableness it would appear that Barenthal was one of the very first cemeteries to be built. Mr W Milner must have been asked for his choice of inscription in 1919. Next-of-kin don't seem to have been asked for this information until the War Graves Commission were ready to build the cemetery as I've seen inscriptions that refer to three, five and even eight years having passed since the soldier died.