Neil McLean, MM

Neil McLean, MM

Neil McLean was a fisherman on the drifter Surmount when he enlisted in the Gordons on 9th September 1914. He was 18 and lived at 1 Hay Street, Buckie with his parents, Alexander and Helen (nee Reid).

By late 1916 he was a Lance-Corporal in the 6th Gordons in France, had seen much fighting and been wounded twice. His father was on boom defence on the English coast and his younger brother, Alex, was mate on the drifter Olive at Scapa.

On 13th November the Gordons were called upon to fill a gap between two battalions:

In going across the open a machine gun on the left knocked out most of the company. The Gordons lay low for a time and when they again got a move on, Lance-Corporal McLean could not see any of his comrades.

He went on his own till he came to the German second line. When he saw that he was among the Germans, the gallant Gordon did not know what at first to do, but having a supply of bombs with him he let the Huns have the benefit.

Jumping into a dugout he saw a number of Germans down below. One of them came up and Mclean asked how many were down there.

The German did not state the number, but the Highlander asked if he would "Kamerad" – that is surrender. Thereupon the German went down into the dugout and reappeared with a white flag, followed by other 14 of the Kaiser’s soldiers.

McLean made prisoners of the lot and took them across to his own lines, where he handed them over to an escort.

The brave youth told the escort that he was going back to do some more work. He re-organised his party and cleared the communication trench, and he then advanced to the German third line.

For this act Neil McLean was presented with the Military Medal.

He survived the war. On 11th September 1925 he married Nellie Imlach at Buckie.

At 7.05 a.m. on 19th October, 1929, he "slipped while walking along a slimy horizontal beam of the wharf at Albert Basin, of Aberdeen Harbour and fell into the water and was drowned". He was 33 years of age.

Neil McLean, MM. Photo courtesy of the Banffshire Advertiser.
Report from the Banffshire Advertiser regarding Neil McLean
Report from the Banffshire Advertiser regarding the award of the Military Medal to Neil McLean.