Lieutenant John Elliott O'Neill


John Elliott O'Neill was born in 1892 or 1893 in Dublin City, the second of two children of groom Hugh O'Neill (or Neill) and his wife Agnes (nee Brydon). By 1911 he was living at 36.1 Academy Terrace and Fairman Place, Londonderry, with his widowed mother and older brother, and working as a clerk.

O'Neill enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 31 August 1914 (No.1054 – later Corps of Hussars No.71213).

In the first half of 1915 he embarked for England with F Squadron, where they awaited orders for France. On 12 July, however, O'Neill was one of about two dozen men of the squadron who volunteered for service as Military Mounted Police with the 54th (East Anglian) Division, which was under orders to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. They sailed from Devonport on HMT Manitou on 29 July 1915, joining the landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, between 10 and 16 August.

At the end of the year the Gallipoli campaign was abandoned and the North Irish Horse military policemen moved with the 54th Division to Egypt.

Later in the war O'Neill applied for a commission and underwent training at an officer cadet battalion in the UK. On 17 March 1918 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

He was promoted to lieutenant on 17 September 1919, and relinquished his commission on 30 November that year.

After the war O'Neill worked as a civil servant. He died at 10 Ormiston Park, Belfast, on 18 January 1963.