Lance Corporal Fred McNeill


Fred McNeill was born on 20 March 1896 in Hamilton Terrace, Waterside, Coleraine, County Londonderry, the last of ten children of house painter Thomas McNeill and his wife Rose (née Thompson). The family moved to Belfast between 1901 and 1909, and by the time of the 1911 Census, Fred was living at 175 Dunluce Avenue with his widowed father and four of his six surviving siblings.

McNeill enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 12 May 1915 (No.1537 – later Corps of Hussars No.71428). On 13 October that year he married Lilly Molyneaux in the Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast. The couple had three children over the next five years.

After training at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp, McNeill embarked for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916. In May 1916 E Squadron came together with A and D Squadrons to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps until February-March 1918, when the regiment was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

McNeill remained with the regiment throughout the war, though how much time he spent in France and Belgium and how much at the Antrim reserve camp is not known at present. On 15 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.