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Friday, 15 April 2016

Neill, Sidney Kirk

Lt Col Sidney Kirk Neill OBE
was probably born around 1920.

He was the son of Francis Seymour Neill and Matilda Millar Neill of house 3, Chester Avenue, Templecorran, Whitehead (Tea buyer).  The house was known as 'Chesterfield'.  The 1911 Irish Census also records two brothers: Francis Robert (born circa 1903) and Joseph McFerran Neill (born circa 1906). 

Sidney probably joined the Belfast Banking Company around 1938 / 1939.  He served in Head Office, 2 Waring Street, Belfast.

Following the outbreak of war, Sidney Neill joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).
The London Gazette (1941) records a Captain (temporary Major) S K Neill with Service Number 107098.

The London Gazette (18th February 1943) records Major (Temp Lt Col) S K Neill as being appointed to be Additional Officer of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).  See Update below.

Francis Robert Neill is recorded by Belfast City Council as being buried in Roselawn Cemetery.  He was aged 67 when he died on 18th December 1969 and pre-deceased his wife, Evelyn Constance Kathleen Neill who died on 21st September 1991.  Francis' address was Flat C, 33 Windsor Park, Belfast.

Update 14th April 2016

Can anyone help with this query received today.  Email me at
Good afternoon,
I recently came across your website and found an entry for Lt Col S K Neill. ........  My father served under Col Neill in the Western Desert and at Tobruk.  Dad was an Ammunition Examiner and obviously impressed Col Neill who mentioned him several times in the War Diaries for Tobruk and wrote a very complimentary Testimonial for him after he was invalided out of the Army.  As I am now attempting to write an account of Dad’s military career, I am endeavouring to find sources of information and would like to find out if Col Neill kept a private Diary.

Update 31st August 2016

I received the following information from Dom Neill who is Lt. Col. Neill's grandson. He writes in relation to the commendation for the OBE:

“Lt.-Col. Neill, 8 B.A.D., Commanding 8 B.A.D. is also responsible for the protection of TURA Zone in 17 Area wherein lie the greater portion of the ammunition and technical reserves for the Army and R.A.F. in the Middle East.

He was called on to organise his various units into a defensive force against attack, sabotage and fire.

Col. Neill showed exceptional skill and devotion to duty in effecting these measures. On 25th July 1942 he displayed gallantry and leadership of a high order when an explosion occurred in a laboratory in an Ammunition Park. In spite of flying fragments of shell and constant exploding ammunition caused by a large fire he organised rescue and fire fighting parties with a complete disregard for his personal safety. By his efforts several men and much material were saved.”

signed 1st January 1943

by Lt. Gen. Robert Stone and Brigadier J. I. Chrystall, and others unknown.

First published on 12th November 2012.