Alexander Malcolm McNeill

Alexander Malcolm McNeill

Lance Corporal Alexander Malcolm McNeill, 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, born in 1892 at Muiravonside in Stirlingshire, he was the eldest son of James McNeill, a Coal Miner, and Christine McNeill, of Braehead Cottages, Carnock, near Dunfermline.

His siblings were Elizabeth, Janet, James and Peter. A brother, Robert, died in 1905, and a sister, Beatrice, died in 1916.

Before enlisting on 24 Novemeber, he was still living at Braehead Cottages and working as a coal miner at Kinneddar mine, near Saline. He joined the Gordon Highlanders at Aberdeen on 2 December 1914.

He embarked at Southampton on 17 March 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion in France on 20 March 1915. Having survived the Battle of Aubers Ridge, he was shot in the hand a few days later and needed surgery which kept him away from his battalion for a month. He survived the Battle of Loos unscathed only to come down with influenza and spent two weeks in hospital in Rouen, returning to the Battalion on 10 November 1915. Just 15 days later he was hit again, this time in the groin, an injury which took several months to heal at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital near Southampton. Back to his unit he went in March 1916 and within days he was promoted to Lance Corporal.

On 1 July 2016 Alex survived the worst of the fighting only to be killed, aged 24, by a German sniper bullet late in the day. His friend, William Shepherd from Oakley, took charge of Alex’s body and was present at the burial in Mametz. He lies there now in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery.  Alex’s sister Lizzie gave birth to a son on 7 July 1916. She named him Alexander Malcolm McNeill Hogg in memory of her beloved little brother. 

Alexander McNeill