Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Selby Milner - 10th March 1937- 17th August 2008


David Selby Milner was born in Kent in 1937. When he was a year old his family moved to India, as his father was appointed to the British Army Staff College in Quetta in Balochistan province, now part of Pakistan. With war looming in Europe, the young Milner returned to Britain with his mother and younger twin sisters. Shortly afterwards, his father was involved in the hopeless defence of Singapore, where he was captured by the Japanese and endured four years on the Burma railway. After prep school in Surrey, Milner went to Rugby School and, immediately afterwards, did his National Service with 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers. Having first been posted to Cyprus, Milner was actively involved in the first phase of the Suez campaign and the invasion landing in Port Said. For many years thereafter he retained his involvement with airborne forces in the TA and as a troop commander in 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment. After National Service he went up to St John's College, Cambridge, and took his degree in mechanical sciences.

In the 1980s Milner qualified as a chartered surveyor and moved with his family to a country house near Abergavenny, not far from Aberfan. As an accomplished violinist, he was a member of the Abergavenny Orchestra. He became High Sheriff of Gwent in 2003. It was, at first sight, the unlikely connection between Alpine glaciers and colliery slag heaps that led Selby Milner to discover the cause of the Aberfan disaster in 1966. Milner, a young consulting engineer with Binney & Partners, was appointed to the official inquiry into the cause of the mud slide that engulfed a school in South Wales and claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults — Britain's worst mining tragedy above ground.

Selby is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, whom he married in 1968, and by their two daughters.




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