Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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6972028   Sergeant William Neill
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 14/09/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 5th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 25/02/1894
Died: 22/04/1945 (Died of Illness)
Age: 51
Summary      
William Neill was the eldest son of William and Jane Neill. He was born on born in February 1894. He was employed as a mill worker prior to serving in WW1. He later married and had six children. William Neill re-enlisted once more with the 5th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 5th August 1940. Sergeant William Neill died of illness while in service at Southend General Hospital in Essex on 22nd April 1945, aged 51.
Further Information
William Neill was the eldest son of William and Jane Neill. William Neill and Sarah Jane Robinson were married on 1st November 1893 in the district of Cookstown.
William Neill was born on born 25th February 1894 in the district of Magherafelt. He was the oldest of eight children, six surviving.
The 1901 census lists William as age 7, living with the family at house 1 in Loughry, Tullaghogue, Cookstown. His father was a coachman and domestic servant.
Known family (parents): William Neill, Jane Neill, William Neill (born 25th February 1894), Margaret Neill (born 10th May 1895), James Neill (born 21st August 1896?) Thomas Neill (born 28th March 1898), John Neill (born 23rd April 1900. died 23rd April 1900), John Neill (born 22nd March 1901), Mary Neill (born 16th March 1904), Sarah Neill (born 30th May 1906).
The 1911 census lists William as age 17, living with the family at house 30 in Millburn Street, Cookstown. William had left school and was employed as a mill worker. His father was a farm servant.
World War One
Private William Neill served in the First World War at Salonika, Egypt and France and was wounded on 8th November 1918. His army service number was 3881.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 25th December 1915: Home on Furlough
Private William Neill, of the Inniskillings, whose parents reside at Millburn Street, Cookstown, is home on a few daysí furlough. He joined the Inniskillings between four and five years ago, when only a lad, and was with the 3rd Battalion in Londonderry at the beginning of the war. He volunteered for active service and went with the 1st Battalion to Gallipoli, where for six months he was in the thick of the fighting. He had some thrilling experiences and narrow escapes. He was once slightly wounded, and on another occasion a bullet passed through his helmet, quite close to his head. His most trying time was at Chocolate Hill, but he does not care to give any details. He was invalided home suffering from rheumatism, but is now quite recovered and is in good health and spirits. At the expiration of his furlough he goes back to Londonderry for a time.
From the Belfast Newsletter dated 27th December 1918: Rank and File Casualties - Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Wounded - Neill, 3881 W, (Cookstown)
Between the wars
He re-enlisted on 3rd March 1919 in Le Harve and transferred to Army Reserve on 5th March 1919 in Dublin.
William was discharged on 14th December 1922 in Hamilton, Scotland with the rank of Corporal.
William was the husband of Elizabeth Neill (nee McFarlane), who hailed from Gortgonis, Coalisland. They went on to have at least six children.
Upon his discharge from the army, he obtained a position with Mr Kilpatrick, coal merchant, of Coalisland, where he remained until World War Two broke out.
Known family: William Neill, Elizabeth (Bessie) Neill (nee McFarlane), George Neill, Margaret Neill, Clyde Neill, June Neill, James Neill, William Neill.
World War Two
William Neill re-enlisted once more with the 5th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 5th August 1940.
Sergeant William Neill died of illness while in service at Southend General Hospital in Essex on 22nd April 1945, aged 51
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 5h May 1945: Sergeant William Neill, Gortgonis, Coalisland
Much regret was express when news was received of the death of Sergeant William Neill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, at a military hospital in England on 22nd April after a short illness. The later Sergeant Neill, who was 51, served throughout the last war and afterwards for seven years in India. Upon his discharge from the army, he obtained a position with Mr Kilpatrick, coal merchant, of Coalisland, where he remained until the present war broke out. Hearing the call of King and country, he rejoined his old regiment. Sergeant Neill was a member of Ballynakelly L.O.L. No 157 and R.B.P. 1113 and took a deep interest in Ballynakelly Flute Band, of which he was a prominent member.
The funeral on Saturday from his late residence, Gortgonis, was very large. A detachment of his old comrades from Omagh Depot, under R.S.M. Carberry, acted as pall bearers as the coffin, covered with a Union Jack, was carried through the town on its way to its resting place in Cookstown Cemetery. Rev J A Pollard, B.A., rector of Brackaville, officiated at a service in the house, and Rev R Dougherty, rector of Derryloran, officiated at the graveside. The following were the wreaths:
bullet Sweetest memories of a loved and beloved husband and daddy, from his wife Bessie and sons, Bill, George Clyde and daughters Margaret and Jean
bullet In affectionate remembrance from his father and brother
bullet With deepest sympathy from Mr and Mrs McDonald and family
bullet In affectionate remembrance from sister Mary, Tommy and family
bullet With deepest sympathy from sister Sadie, husband and family
bullet Deepest sympathy from his niece and nephew, Jean and Jim, Freddie and Lax
bullet Deepest sympathy from members of Ballynakelly Flute Band
bullet Deepest sympathy from Mr and Mrs Ballantine and daughters
bullet Deepest sympathy from Officers 25th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
bullet Deepest sympathy from his comrade Sergeants
bullet Deepest sympathy from all ranks Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
bullet Deepest sympathy from Sergeantís Mess, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
bullet Deepest sympathy from No 5 Company, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
The deceased leaves a widow, four boys and two girls. One of the boys is serving with the Royal Army Service Corps in Belgium.
Williamís son William (junior) served with the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.)
Sergeant William Neill is buried in Cookstown New Cemetery. His inscription reads: AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING WE WILL REMEMBER
He is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph.
Sergeant William Neill is commemorated on Cookstown Cenotaph.
The CWGC record Sergeant William Neill as the son of William and Jane Neill of Cookstown. He is also recorded as the husband of Elizabeth Neill of Gortin.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Clare, Cookstown Cookstown East Parents lived in Clare 54.640596 -6.726892
2 Loughry, Tullyhogue Tullyhogue Census listing in Loughry, Tullyhogue 54.608890 -6.730501
3 Millburn Street Cookstown North Census listing in Millburn Street 54.651220 -6.745908
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Neill family Lists William as age 7 living with the family at house 1 in Loughry, Tullaghog, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Neill family Lists William as age 17 living with the family at house 30 in Millburn Street, Cookstown Urban, Tyrone
3 FindAGrave.com Photo of Sergeant William Neill's grave
4 National Archives UK WW1 Medal card of William Neill (3881) can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2021