Odds and quads

This brass desk set embellished with ammunition shells belonged to Lieutenant General George Francis Milne (1866-1948), Commander-in-Chief of the British Salonika Army during the First World War.

December 15, 2011

Along with France and Greece, Britain sent troops to assist Serbia against the combined forces of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in 1915. The desk set was presented to Lieutenant General Milne by Serbian soldiers and deposited by his family at the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London in 1980. The top is inscribed with the words "Long Live England, Long Live Yugoslaves. Salonica 1918"; the underside with "Serbian Artillery Workshop" in English and Serbian Cyrillic. There are also engravings of a British and a Serbian soldier, holding the flags of their respective countries, and the British and Serbian coats of arms.

Lieutenant General Milne later assumed responsibility for the administration of the whole area around the Black Sea before serving as Chief of the Imperial General Staff and then Constable of the Tower of London. He became Baron Milne, of Salonika and of Rubislaw in the County of Aberdeen, in 1933.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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