9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (British Army)
Date Of Birth:
29/03/1918 (Killed in Action)
Edward James McNeill was the youngest son of Dugald and Catherine McNeill. He was born on 22nd July 1899 in Dungannon. He was one of at least 13 children. His father was a pastry baker who later became a confectioner. Edward enlisted in Dungannon and arrived in France with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 5th October 1915. Sergeant Edward James McNeill was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 29th March 1918.
Edward James McNeill was the youngest son of Dugald and Catherine McNeill. Dugald McNeill and Catherine Jane Ramsey were married on 22nd February 1879 in the district of Carrickfergus.
The family lived in Carrickfergus, then briefly in Banbridge and Belfast, before settling in Dungannon.
Edward McNeill was born on 22nd July 1899 in Dungannon. He was one of at least 13 children, eleven surviving.
The 1901 census shows Edward as a year old. His father was a pastry baker who hailed from Glasgow. The family lived in Perry Street, Dungannon.
Known family: Dugald McNeill, Catherine Jane McNeill, Unnamed daughter (born 17th September 1879, Carrickfergus, died 17th September 1879), Harriet McNeill (born 10th September 1880, Carrickfergus, died 8th October 1882), Margaret McNeill (born 5th August 1882, Carrickfergus), Elizabeth McNeill (born 26th January 1884, Banbridge), Dugald McNeill (born 22nd February 1886, Belfast), Catherine Jane McNeill (born 6th October 1888, Belfast), Hugh McNeill (born 25th October 1890, Dungannon), Harriet McNeill (born 25th October 1892, Dungannon), Daniel McNeill (born 10th July 1895, Dungannon), Wilhelmina McNeill (born 2nd November 1897, Dungannon), Edward McNeill (born 22nd July 1899, Dungannon), Annie McNeill (born 19th November 1900, Dungannon), Rachel McNeill (born 14th December 1904, Dungannon).
The 1910 Ulster Towns Directory lists Dougald McNeill as a confectioner in Perry Street.
The 1911 census records Edward James as 11 years old. He was still at school. The family still lived in Perry Street, Dungannon.
Edward James McNeill attended Drumglass Boys National School.
Edward James McNeill enlisted in Dungannon.
Private James McNeill arrived in France with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 5th October 1915.
From the Tyrone Courier dated 23rd March 1916: Dungannon Soldier’s Escape
Sergeant Edward Lucas, Parkanaur, and Privates Harry Hobson and Ted McNeill, Dungannon, all of the 9th Inniskilling Fusiliers, have had a very narrow shave in the trenches in France. While on duty they were subjected to shell fire from the Germans. A large piece of shrapnel shell, about two pounds in weight, skimmed over the parapet, and knocking the steel helmet off Sergeant Lucas, buried itself about a foot and a half in the bottom of the trench between Privates Hobson and McNeill.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated Saturday 25th March 1916:
Private Harry Hobson, 9th Inniskillings, who is in France, writing to his brother, Mr Ben Hobson, Dungannon, says:-
'I could not answer your letter sooner as we were in the trenches and are now just out for a few days rest. I had the pleasure of meeting John Johnston (2nd Inniskillings), Sam Wilkinson (Irish Rifles), and Joe Webb (Royal Engineers). They are all in the best of health and quite happy. It is fearfully cold on the feet in the trenches, and we had a fall of snow which made the trenches very wet and muddy. When the artillery starts shelling it makes things very warm, but our gunners are very good shots. They make havoc of the enemy's trenches, but the enemy cannot do us any harm except for shrapnel. By the way, Ted McNeill, Sergeant Lucas and myself had a very narrow escape of being knocked out the other day. We were on sap duty when shrapnel shells were being sent over. There was a lump about two pounds weight skimmed the parapet and, knocking the steel helmet off Sergeant Lewis, buried itself about a foot and a half in the bottom of the trench between Ted McNeill and myself. It was a very thrilling experience, but we had a laugh when it was over.'
Sergeant Edward James McNeill was serving with the 9th Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers when he was killed in action on 29th March 1918, aged about 18..
From the Tyrone Courier and Dungannon News dated Thursday 30 May 1918:
Sergeant Edward J (Ted) McNeill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, who is officially reported wounded and missing, is the younger son of the late Dugald McNeill, Perry Street, Dungannon and the brother of Misses McNeill, 19 Mark Street, Dungannon. His brother Dan McNeill is serving abroad in the Army Service Corps.
Last Will and Testament
In his will, Edward left all to his youngest sister, Rachel, who was living in Perry Street, Dungannon.
Last Will and Testament of Edward James McNeill:
In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to Miss Rachel McNeill, Perry Street, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland. Signed Private E J McNeill. 8th October 1915.
Sergeant Edward James McNeill has no known grave and is commemorated on Pozieres Memorial in France.
Sergeant Edward James McNeill has no known grave and is commemorated on Pozieres Memorial.
Edward James McNeill was the brother of Hugh McNeill, of 83 Torrens Avenue, Todmorden, Toronto, Canada.
Sergeant Edward James McNeill is commemorated locally on Dungannon War Memorial and on the WWI Roll of Honour in St Anne's Church Of Ireland in Dungannon.
The CWGC record Sergeant Edward James McNeill as the brother of Hugh McNeill of 83 Torrens Avenue, Todmorden, Toronto, Canada.