Joseph McNeil

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: October 1914
  • Place of enlistment: HMS Unicorn, Dundee
  • Service no: Clyde Z/1285
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Anson Battalion, R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: France
  • Age at Death: 22
  • Date of Death: 13.11.1916
  • Burial Country: France
  • Cemetery: Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Sp. Mem. C.5.

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 24 Hawkhill, Dundee
  • Occupation: Mill Worker
  • Mother:

    Elizabeth McNeil, 24 Hawkhill, Dundee

  • Father:

    William McNeil

  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Joseph McNeil

Joseph McNeil was the son of Mr William and Mrs Elizabeth McNeil of 24 Hawkhill, Dundee and was employed in the Dundee Mills as a Millworker. In October 1914 he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve onboard HMS Unicorn for service in the Royal Naval Division. After initial Naval Training at the Crystal Palace in South London he was sent to Blandford Camp in Dorset for advanced military training. In January 1915 he was drafted to the Hawke Battalion which was in training at Blandford. In March he was transferred to the Collingwood Battalion, also at Blandford. The Collingwood Battalion landed in Gallipoli in late May 1915 and took part in the Third Battle of Krithia on 4 June 1915. This was their first and last action because, as they advanced towards the enemy line, they were caught in heavy Turkish artillery and machinegun fire. The number of dead and wounded was very high and the Battalion was disbanded two days later. The survivors were distributed to the other RND battalions to replace their losses and Joseph McNeil went to the Anson Battalion. He survived the Gallipoli campaign and after a period on Mudros Island, sailed in May 1916 with the Anson to Marseille to join in the fighting on the Western Front. After training in Army tactics was being prepared to join in the Somme battle. One of the first day’s objectives of the British attack on 1 July 1916 was the capture of the village of Beaucourt just to the west of the River Ancre. It was finally taken on 14 November by the men of the RND. This was the first major operation by the RND in France and established a reputation for being a “Can Do” Division. However, the casualty list was very long and over 30 local men were killed and countless more wounded. This was the worst ever day for Dundee’s Naval forces in the First World War and Joseph McNeil was listed as missing. In January 1917 information came to light to say that he had been buried by men of the 51st Highland Division. His mother was informed the same month. Joseph McNeil was later reinterred in the Y Ravine Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel. The Cemetery was later adopted by the City of Winchester.

Information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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