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Biographical entry Milne, Robert (1881 - 1949)

MRCS 28 July 1904; FRCS 13 December 1906; MB BS London 1905; MD 1907; MS 1909; LMSSA 1916; LRCP 1904.

11 March 1881
September 1949
Aldeburgh, Suffolk
General surgeon and Orthopaedic surgeon


Born 11 March 1881, second son and second of the eleven children of Robert Milne, MD, of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, and Mary Thompson, his wife. Dr Milne practised at Bow in East London, and was medical director of Dr Barnardo's Homes for orphaned children. One of his daughters became matron of St Mary's Hospital. Robert Milne was educated at the City of London School and at the London Hospital, which he entered in 1899 with the Price science scholarship. He won many prizes and scholarships in anatomy, biology, and physiology, and after qualification in 1904 served as resident accoucheur, house surgeon, and house physician, and as surgical registrar to Sir Hugh Rigby.

He was appointed sixth assistant surgeon in 1910, and then went for a period to America, where he worked chiefly in F H Albee's orthopaedic clinic. From 1914 to 1920 he was surgical tutor at the London Hospital, though during most of these years he was on active service in France as a major in the RAMC. He published an account of his American experiences in the London Hospital Gazette in 1913. While primarily an orthopaedic surgeon, Milne never specialized completely, and was in these early years much interested in surgery of the thyroid. From 1905 he worked with T H Openshaw in the orthopaedic department of the hospital, and succeeded him as surgeon in 1922. He retired in 1942 and was appointed consulting surgeon. During the war of 1939-45 he was consulting orthopaedic surgeon to the Royal Navy, with the rank of rear-admiral. He was for many years consulting surgeon to Dr Barnardo's Homes, an appointment to which his father, as medical director, had the pleasure of welcoming him.

Milne was much interested in the application of radiological and electrical techniques to surgery, and became expert in the interpretation of x-ray photographs. His surgical opinion was sound and his technique sure. He excelled as a teacher and examiner, served on the Court 1935-42, and examined for Cambridge and for the Society of Apothecaries; he had an exceptional gift for getting the best out of a candidate. Milne was built on a large scale, mentally and physically; his cheerful, confident expression inspired confidence. He was an expert witness in accident cases in the Law Courts. Milne married on 24 April 1915 Alice May Brown, who survived him with two sons and a daughter. He lived at 75 Portland Place, W1, but died suddenly from a heart attack while taking his summer holiday at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, on 29 September 1949, aged 68. Mrs Milne died on 2 February 1953.


Rarer diseases of long bones. Lond Hosp Gaz 1910, 16, clin supp p 35.
Thyroid surgery. Ibid. 1913, 19, 243.
Orthopaedic surgery in America. Ibid, p 275.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England Library