Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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126191   Gunner Joseph Wylie Neill
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 01/05/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 26/06/1896
Died: 17/04/1918 (Killed in Action)
Age: 21
Summary      
Joseph Neill was the eldest son of James and Hester Neill. He was born on 26th June 1896 in Cookstown. He was the first of five children, the other four being born in Clydebank, Scotland. By 1911, he was back living in Cookstown. He was a factory worker. Around 1914, he went back to to Clydebank to work in the shipyards. Joseph Neill enlisted in Clydebank in 1916 and was sent to France in July of that same year. Gunner Joseph Neill was serving with the A Battery of the 119th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery when he was killed while having tea on 17th April 1918.
Gunner Joseph Wylie Neill
Further Information
Joseph Neill was the eldest son of James and Hester Neill. James Neill and Hester ‘Wiley’ were married on 19th October 1895 in the district of Cookstown.
Joseph Wylie Neill was born on 26th June 1896 in Cookstown. He was the first of five children, the other four being born in Clydebank, Scotland.
Family: James Neill, Hester Neill, Joseph Neill (born 26th June 1896, Cookstown), Margaret Neill (born about 1897, Dumbarton, Scotland), William Neill (born about 1899, Dumbarton, Scotland), James Neill (born about 1902, Dumbarton, Scotland), Esther Neill (born about 1905, Dumbarton, Scotland).
It seems his father remarried in 1908. His second wife was Mary Ann. No record can be found on GRONI so they have married in Scotland.
The 1911 census lists Joseph as age 15, living with the family at house 42 in Church Street, Cookstown. Joseph had left school and was a factory worker. His father was a carter.
Joseph is reported to have lived at Oldtown Street, Cookstown up until about 1914.
Around 1914, he went to Clydebank to work in the shipyards of John Brown & Company.
Joseph Neill enlisted in Clydebank in 1916 and was sent to France in July of that same year.
Medal card
Gunner Joseph Neill was serving with the A Battery of the 119th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery when he was killed in action on 17th April 1918.
Gunner Neill was killed by a shell while having tea.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 11th May 1918: Gunner J W Neill
Mr James Neill, 126 Glasgow Road, Clydebank, (formerly of Oldtown Street, Cookstown), has received officially intimation that his eldest son was killed in action on 17th April 1918. The deceased resided in Cookstown up to 1914, when he went to Clydebank, and was employed in the shipyard of Messrs Brown & Co. He joined up in 1916, going to France in July that year. Previous to leaving Ireland he was a member of the U.V.F. A chaplain (Rev H D Peel) writing condolence to his bereaved father, says that his son was killed by a shell while having tea, and was buried with every honour and respect.
Gunner Joseph Neill is buried in Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck, Belgium.
From the Mid Ulster Mail at Easter 1927:
"We shall know his voice in the lamb’s sweet song,
His step in the streets of Gold,
The same sweet smile on his loving face,
as he wore in the days of old.
Oh why was he taken, so young and so fair?
When earth held so many it better could spare;
Hard, was the blow that compelled us to part!
with a loved one, so near, and so dear to our heart."
Submitted to the Mid Ulster Mail by his Uncle and Aunt, Mr & Mrs Beattie, Clydebank, at Easter 1927.
The CWGC record Gunner Joseph Neill as the nephew of Mrs Maggie Beattie of 31 Glasgow Road, Clydebank, Glasgow. He is also listed as being born in Cookstown, Ireland.
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Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Church Street Cookstown South Census listing in Church Street 54.638422 -6.743714
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1911 Census lists Neill family 1911 census lists Joseph as age 15 at house 42 in Church Street, Cookstown
2 FindAGrave.com Photo of Gunner Joseph Wylie Neill's grave
3 National Archives UK Medal card can be purchased here
4 Soldiers Died in the Great War Details of Gunner Joseph Wylie Neill
5 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Gunner Joseph Wylie Neill's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2020