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Monday, 12 November 2012

Neely, Noel Montgomery

Lieutenant (RN) Noel Montgomery Neely
was born on 27th December 1910. 

He was son of James Neely and Margaret Neely.  

In 1911 the family were living house 2, Sion Terrace, Attaclady, Co. Tyrone.  In the Census return, his father describes Noel’s education as ‘cannot read’. 
On 1st April 1927 Neely joined the Belfast Banking Company.   
Noel Simpson, author of ‘The Belfast Bank 1827-1970’ records some detail of a letter from Noel Neely to the bank’s secretary, James Carlisle, describing his first few days of naval life: 
“I have been rated seaman, which is one step up from the bottom, and am paid fortnightly at the rate of 21/- a week, starting from next month.  I believe service pay is to be raised by sixpence a day, but when that and any further betterment of my financial lot materialises I shall let the Bank know.

I may cut a very nautical figure in my bell-bottoms, but I find the whole garb too tight for comfort.  Added to that, there is a most miserly allowance of pockets – two only, and so placed that one looks like a lop-sided Mae West and a sufferer from acute hernia.  However, if this hot weather lasts I shall shrink so much that my clothes will fit perfectly!
At the moment I am awaiting draft, and drafting is, apparently, such a haphazard business that I may be sent off any day now.  I have been billeted with a most worthy soul, a local light in the Labour Party.  She is quite a good cook and, as she obviously regards me as a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, I can’t quite get rid of the uncomfortable feeling that I am being fattened as a capitalistic sacrifice.  If only the house possessed a bath I should be happy.  Squabbling about a kitchen sink with four other sailors is a bit trying.”

Having been promoted to Lieutenant (Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve), he was serving on board HMS Circe, when he was killed on 23rd April 1944. 
Neely is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent, England.  
Neely left a widow, Joan and a daughter.  They had lived in Helen's Bay, Co. Down. 

Note:  HMS Circe was an ‘Algerine Class’ Royal Navy Minesweeper (J214) built by Harland & Wolff Ltd in Belfast.  It was ordered on 15th November 1940 and launched on 27th June 1942.  Commissioned on 16th October 1942, the ship received Battle Honours in Sicily 1943, Salerno 1943 and Anzio 1944.  
Following the end of the war, HMS Circe became an RNVR drill ship in 1956 before being scrapped at Dalmuir in December 1966.

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