Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Stanley Lyndall Milligan (1887–1968)

by J. K. Haken

This article was published:

Stanley Lyndall Milligan (1887-1968), soldier and surveyor, was born on 27 April 1887 at Aberdeen, Scotland, son of Robert Angus Milligan, solicitor, and his English wife Margaret Katherine, née Lyndall. The family migrated to South Africa when Milligan was 9. He was educated at the South African College, Cape Town, and passed the Surveyor's Board (public service) registration examination. Milligan, his mother and brother then migrated to New South Wales where he joined the public service in Sydney. He enlisted in the New South Wales Scottish Rifles in 1908, was discharged with the rank of sergeant on the inauguration of compulsory military training and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Australian Military Forces in 1911.

Milligan was working in Sydney as a survey draughtsman when he joined the Australian Imperial Force on 27 August 1914 as a second lieutenant in the 4th Battalion. He embarked for Egypt in October, was promoted lieutenant on 1 February 1915 and landed at Gallipoli on 25 April. He performed valuable service from late April to early May and was mentioned in corps routine orders. Wounded on 14 June, he rejoined the battalion on 9 August as a captain and was appointed acting adjutant next day. The 4th Battalion served on the left sector of Lone Pine until the end of August. Milligan was appointed staff captain, 1st Brigade, on 30 November and left Gallipoli on 19 December; his service in the evacuation brought another mention in corps routine orders. On 1 March 1916, in Egypt, he was appointed temporary deputy assistant adjutant and quartermaster general, 1st Australian Division. Promoted major and appointed brigade major, 1st Brigade, on 12 March, he sailed for France that month. In July-August he served in the battle of the Somme at Pozières and Mouquet Farm and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and mentioned in dispatches.

On 17 March 1917 Milligan was appointed to command the 2nd Battalion as lieutenant-colonel. In March-April the battalion fought during the German retreat at Bapaume and on 9-10 April in the capture of Hermies. It served at Bullecourt in May and in the 3rd battle of Ypres in September-November. For excellent service as commanding officer during September-October Milligan was appointed C.M.G. On 19 December he was promoted general staff officer, grade II, on 1st Divisional Headquarters and held this post until 26 October 1918. He was G.S.O. II, Australian Corps Headquarters, from then until February 1919 and G.S.O. I, 5th Division, from February 1919. His A.I.F. appointment ended on 12 January 1920. Apart from his C.M.G. and D.S.O. he was mentioned in dispatches five times during the war.

Milligan was granted a commission as captain in the Highland Light Infantry, British Army, in 1921, with seniority from November 1917 and was seconded to the Egyptian Army. He served in the Sudan in 1921 and in the Darfur campaign and was awarded the Sudan General Service Medal. He was a member of the Anglo-French Sudan Boundary Commission delineating the boundary between the Sudan and the Wadi area of French Equatoria in 1922-23 and was assistant quartermaster general, Sudan Defence Force in 1924-27. He resigned from the army in January 1927 when he was appointed director of surveys in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. When he retired in 1937 he was awarded the Order of the Nile. In World War II he commanded military training centres in England and Wales in 1940-44.

Milligan had married Sylvia Nora Evelyn Turnbull on 30 June 1934 at Torquay, Devonshire, England. Survived by his wife, a son and a daughter, he died on 15 April 1968 at Weymouth, Dorset.

Select Bibliography

  • H. W. Cavill, Imperishable Anzacs (Syd, 1916)
  • F. W. Taylor and T. A. Cusack (eds), Nulli Secundus: History of the 2nd Battalion, A.I.F., 1914-19 (Syd, 1942)
  • Reveille (Sydney), Jan 1933
  • Royal Highland Fusiliers Journal, June 1968
  • Milligan file (Australian War Memorial).

Citation details

J. K. Haken, 'Milligan, Stanley Lyndall (1887–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 21 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne University Press), 1986

View the front pages for Volume 10

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


27 April, 1887
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


15 April, 1968 (aged 80)
Weymouth, Dorset, England

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.