David Milwall (born April 6, 1934 in Raith, Scottish East Indies) is the first attested Soldier of the Lord. He gained prominence when, on September 14, 1961, he was arrested in Perugia by Roman authorities who accused him of orchestrating a plan on killing Pope John XXIII. Although at the time Milwall stated he was "leading an army", the Roman investigation into his crime showed that he was acting alone in his plot. Still, Milwall's charismatic ramblings captured greater worldwide attention and brought the Soldiers for the first time into worldwide public discourse.
Much of what is known about Milwall is contained in his journals, confiscated by Roman authorities upon his arrest and used as evidence at his trial. Many of the entries have been shown by historians to be outright fabrications or recitations of known Soldier legends, and even the entries that can be shown to document real events are so clouded with allegory and symbolism that deducing the real truth can be difficult.
Nevertheless, Milwall was known to have been born in Raith in what was then the Scottish East Indies, at the time under occupation by the invading Japanese forces. His father, Stuart, was a staunch Nathanite believer who subjected his wife, Mildred, to St. Jasper's Robe. He instilled strong Nathanite beliefs into David Milwall at a young age, with the younger Milwall often looking up to his father. Because his father was denied entry into the Scottish Army (with Army records stating faulty coagulation, although Milwall believes it was due to his father's faith), Milwall himself aspired to be in the Army one day, spending much of his adolescence in training.
Although the War ended before he could participate, he still enlisted in the East Indies Army upon his 18th birthday in 1952. His journals assert that he was the leading member of the Army mutiny that soon led to the independence of Birea from Scotland, a claim many experts agree is false, although many historians believe this mutiny may have been the real origins of the Soldiers.
Plot to assassinate Pope John XXIII
After Birea became independent in 1953, Milwall remained a part of the Army and advanced in the ranks, eventually becoming a Major in 1961. It was in July of that year that Milwall made a trip to Rome in order to plot the assassination of the Pope, a plot he says was taken as part of his duties within the Birean Army although official records indicate he was on paid leave when he was arrested. The reasons for Milwall's journey have never been adequately explained, and the reasons for his leave from the Birean Army have also been lost, as Milwall's status as a folk hero within Birea have meant the country has expunged any potentially damaging references to his character.
Evidence picked up by the Roman Imperial Vigiles show that Milwall stalked Pope John XXIII immediately upon arrival in Roman territory, writing his journals and maintaining a collection of photographs at a hotel room he stayed at outside of Rome. He knew the Pope was going to make a trip to Perugia that September to mark the anniversary of the 1956 Perugia earthquake that had killed over 100 people, spending countless hours studying the Pope's motorcade and his security detail. Milwall intended to breach the Pope's quarters during the early morning hours, concluding that his security detail and the Pope himself may not have the energy to combat an intruder.
Before he could go through with his plan, a cleaner at the hotel found a picture of John with a bull's eye drawn on it, which he reported to the local Vigiles. Given the significance of the find, it was not long before the Imperial Vigiles were on the case. After a search of his hotel room, the Vigiles gathered enough evidence to arrest him, doing so on September 14, 1961.
He was arraigned in court a week later, and, although he chose to contest the charges, Milwall spent much of his trial admitting, and even boasting, of his plot and his crimes. He said he did this because he had a vision from God telling him to do so, writing several times in his journal that, should he fail in his plot, it was important that the world "knew what the Soldiers were trying to achieve".
The reasons for Milwall's lack of defence at his trial is a subject of fierce debate among historians. Some question Milwall's willingness to go through with his plan, noting that despite having training as a covert operative, Milwall was lazy hiding his evidence, suggesting that Milwall's intention all along was to get caught. Others assert that Milwall simply analyzed his situation and made the best decision out of it- since public opinion was decidedly against him in Rome and because of the magnitude of his crimes, Milwall personally felt like a martyr and thus felt no need to adequately defend himself.
Conviction and life in prison
It was no surprise that Milwall was convicted after a week long trial, after which he was sent to the Tullianum, where he is still incarcerated. Because of his status as a Birean legend, he is kept under maximum security in solitary confinement, with the only visitor allowed to see him being his wife, Cathy (a moot point since their 1970 divorce). Milwall is not allowed Internet access, with his only view into the outside world provided to him by newspapers delivered with his food. Letters have been sent to him, although prison officials assert none have ever reached him.