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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Any clues with the 6 Neil brothers


soliloquies

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My sister and I recently found a picture of my great-grandad (Robert Neil) in a Dundee newspaper alongside his brothers. My gran never knew her Dad (as he died in 1919) and had never seen a picture so it has been amazing to find an image. Attached is a screenshot of all six brothers. Could anyone glean any more information from the brief glimpses of uniform you can see in the image?

post-106446-0-77763000-1417562342_thumb.

Top Row (l to r)

William Neil, 7459, Sergeant, HLI, died 17.05.15 at Richeburg

Alexander Gibson Neil, enlisted with the Canadians (Navy?), survived the war, he was a lorry driver/teamster

Bottom Row (l to r)

Robert Neil, 18417, Driver, Royal Engineers, died 07.03.19 in Dundee (he appears to be in his wedding suit)

George Harrison Neil 2130, Drummer, Black Watch, died 25.09.15 at Loos

James Neil, 7047, Sergeant, HLI, died 17.05.15 at Richeburg (within an hour of his brother, William)

Thomas Neil, 9818, Lance Corporal, Black Watch, POW most of the war, survived.

James appears to have been a bandleader in Motherwell and had connections with the Boy's Brigade. James, William, George and Thomas seem to have been in the army pre WW1.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

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To my untrained eye the only one which looks like it could be WW1 is 2nd man bottom row

The war was only a couple of months old when the pics were published..

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Alexander Gibson Neil was attested into the 74th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on 5 August, 1915. His papers are here: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=557685

Mark

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If you search Ancestry, the relevant Medal Index Card records are available to view free until the end of the year, and you can glean some additional information regarding their service, especially their dates of entry into the Western Front and in the case of Thomas the date he was captured.

Mark

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The photos of William Neil and James Neil, both HLI sergeants, are interesting from a photographic imaging perspective. HLI had buff facings in full dress that shows true in the image of William. However,in the image of James the collar comes through unexplainably as dark. The only reason I can think of is that the photo of James could have been taken before 1900 when the HLI's facings were yellow which would reflect as dark in the image. I would be interested in any other thoughts on this point.

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To my untrained eye the only one which looks like it could be WW1 is 2nd man bottom row

The war was only a couple of months old when the pics were published..

Thanks for your reply. I hadn't even considered they might be pre-WW1, so I mean need to look further afield with help working out their uniforms (dress, normal, etc).

Alexander Gibson Neil was attested into the 74th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force on 5 August, 1915. His papers are here: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/military-heritage/first-world-war/first-world-war-1914-1918-cef/Pages/item.aspx?IdNumber=557685

Mark

If you search Ancestry, the relevant Medal Index Card records are available to view free until the end of the year, and you can glean some additional information regarding their service, especially their dates of entry into the Western Front and in the case of Thomas the date he was captured.

Mark

Thank you, I have their medal cards and the attestation papers for Alex and James (pre WW1)

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The photos of William Neil and James Neil, both HLI sergeants, are interesting from a photographic imaging perspective. HLI had buff facings in full dress that shows true in the image of William. However,in the image of James the collar comes through unexplainably as dark. The only reason I can think of is that the photo of James could have been taken before 1900 when the HLI's facings were yellow which would reflect as dark in the image. I would be interested in any other thoughts on this point.

James joined the Royal Highlanders in 1899, so it's possible that image is from his time pre-WW1. From newspaper reports he served in Africa and India.

I have one other picture of him (below) and he seems to be wearing something different again.

post-106446-0-09299600-1417651654_thumb.

Can anyone point me towards a good site where I can see the different types of uniforms, obviously don't want to be asking abour pre-WW1 uniforms on here.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi solioquies,

I came across this thread while searching as I do every so often for the Dundee Neil brothers.

I am of no relation, however I am interested purely because there were four Dundee brothers and from what I could find no one knew anything about them. I haven't found any mention of them anywhere in Dundee and I wanted to change this. I searched through newspapers from around the time of WW1 that are currently held in Dundee central library, but unfortunately never found any mention or photograph (I expect I was looking at the wrong newspaper), so it's great to see the photos you have posted - to be able to put faces to their names.

I haven't got very far with researching them at all, but I have visited Robert's grave in Dundee's Eastern Cemetery and I have a photograph of this if you are interested?

I always wondered if there were family members somewhere, I'm glad they are not forgotten.

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Think James Neil is a Piper in the top newspaper photograph. Do you know if there is any history of Piping in the family? I have a book somewhere about uniforms of the HLI, I will dig this out and see if the uniform ties with that of a Piper. However, I do not think anyone else in the regiment ever wore Blackcock feathers in their glengarries.

Regards,

Stewart

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  • 7 months later...

Hi solioquies,

I came across this thread while searching as I do every so often for the Dundee Neil brothers.

I am of no relation, however I am interested purely because there were four Dundee brothers and from what I could find no one knew anything about them. I haven't found any mention of them anywhere in Dundee and I wanted to change this. I searched through newspapers from around the time of WW1 that are currently held in Dundee central library, but unfortunately never found any mention or photograph (I expect I was looking at the wrong newspaper), so it's great to see the photos you have posted - to be able to put faces to their names.

I haven't got very far with researching them at all, but I have visited Robert's grave in Dundee's Eastern Cemetery and I have a photograph of this if you are interested?

I always wondered if there were family members somewhere, I'm glad they are not forgotten.

Hello chana

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, I haven't checked back here since the end of last year.

My sister and I would love to see a photo of Robert's resting place. We are hoping to visit Dundee next year to pay our respects in person.

They are not forgotten, but until a lot of the newspapers went online we barely knew anything about them. Hopefully as more newspapers are digitalised more info might come to light.

Thank you for your kind offer.

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Think James Neil is a Piper in the top newspaper photograph. Do you know if there is any history of Piping in the family? I have a book somewhere about uniforms of the HLI, I will dig this out and see if the uniform ties with that of a Piper. However, I do not think anyone else in the regiment ever wore Blackcock feathers in their glengarries.

Regards,

Stewart

He was a band leader, but not sure if he was a piper too. It would be interesting to know more about his uniform. :)

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He was a band leader, but not sure if he was a piper too. It would be interesting to know more about his uniform. :)

You asked to learn more about pre-WW1 uniforms and the best place is the Victorian wars forum: http://www.victorianwars.com/viewforum.php?f=19&sid=0bd79f173c8bc7412ba0d3cfc0d9dd8b

Once you register post your query under the uniforms section. There is also a 'search' facility where you can put in the unit titles.

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Think James Neil is a Piper in the top newspaper photograph. Do you know if there is any history of Piping in the family? I have a book somewhere about uniforms of the HLI, I will dig this out and see if the uniform ties with that of a Piper. However, I do not think anyone else in the regiment ever wore Blackcock feathers in their glengarries.

Regards,

Stewart

I have that excellent book and you are correct that only pipers wore black cock feathers in the HLI.

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You asked to learn more about pre-WW1 uniforms and the best place is the Victorian wars forum: http://www.victorianwars.com/viewforum.php?f=19&sid=0bd79f173c8bc7412ba0d3cfc0d9dd8b

Once you register post your query under the uniforms section. There is also a 'search' facility where you can put in the unit titles.

Thank you for the link, I will have a look now. :)

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Thank you for the link, I will have a look now. :)

If you post your query there I will respond.

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