Colonel Alexander Milne-Thompson, Royal Army Medical Corps, was the 50th Division Assistant Director Medical Services in May 1918. He was the Commanding Officer of the Divisional Field Ambulance located at Beaurieux. This was the Field Ambulance that Pvt George Cooper was taken to as a Prisoner of War and the Field Ambulance that Louisa Constance Colt-Williams worked as a French Red Cross Nurse.
The following information is from his service record (WO 374/47984). Crown Copyright.
Colonel Alexander MILNE-THOMSON. Royal Army Medical Corps.
Col, RAMC, ADMS, 50 Div Staff
Captured 27.5.18 at Beaurieux
Capture Statement dated 5.12.18
Alexander Milne-Thompson, Col, 27.5.18 at BEAURIEUX, near CHEMIN DES DAMES, not wounded.
ADMS, 50 Div,
Arrived England: 2.11.18
“I was at Advanced HQ, BEAURIEUX, on May 27th with the GOC, AAQMG and GSOG. We occupied separate dugouts connected by telephone and about 40 yards apart. The attack began by an intense bombardment at 1am which continued until I was captured about 9:30am. At 7am the AAQMG visited my dugout to know how the evacuation of wounded was going on and about 7:30am the GOC rang me up on the telephone about the same subject. This was the last communication I had from them. I received no warning of the critical condition of affairs in front nor did they give me any warning to retire. I had an ambulance car at my disposal and could easily have got away if I had been warned. At about 8:30am I sent my DADMS (Handfield-Jones) to find out how the ambulance was progressing with the evacuation, he returned shortly afterwards and said he believed the Germans were in the village. I went with him to find out and on the way along the road a German patrol of 10 men and an officer arrested us.”
late Col ADMS, 50th Div.
Below is the war diary entry for May 27, 1918 from the 50th Division Adjutant and Quarter-Master General (1915 Apr – 1918 Dec). WO 95/2813/1. which shows Col. Milne-Thompson as “missing”.
WO 161, Rep MO60:
Captured 27.5.18 at Beaurieux when his Field Ambulance/hospital was captured. Kept at work in the Field Lazaret No 261 at Beaurieux from 27.5.18 to 13.6.18. 13.6.18 to St Giles until 8.7.18. St Giles was a large French Hospital of 4,000 beds. The German head was Dr Nieter. 8.7.18 from St Giles they walked to Fismes and then on to Beaurieux to a PoW camp there (12 miles altogether). 9.7.18 left Beaurieux, put in cattle trucks arriving at Laon at midnight. 4:30 am left Laon by train in cattle trucks arrived Hirson at 6:30 am where they were put in a fort. 20.7.18 left Hirson 9am arrived Charleroi at 12 noon, then on by train arrived Sedan at 6:30am, depart Sedan 7am arrive Saarbrucken 7:30am. Depart Saarbrucken 12 and passed through Hamburg and Karlsruhe arrived Rastatt 9pm. Next morning to camp at Rastatt for 4 or 5 days and then on to Stralsund arrived 31.7.18.
AAQMG – Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General
GOC – General Officer Commanding
GSOG – General Staff Officer GHQ
ADMS – Assistant Director Medical Services
DADMS – Deputy Assistant Director Medical Services
RAMC – Royal Army Medical Corps