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  cap badgeSapper Charles O'Neill

Royal Engineers, 2nd (Lowland) Field Company
Service No: 3032

Charles O'Neill grave

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Personal details

Family Information

Son of John and Elizabeth Digney O'Neill of 32a Tennant St, Coatbridge (originally from Armagh). From the 1901 Census - Address - 18 Albert St, Airdrie - John O'Neill aged 50, Mary Ann O'Neill aged 14, Patrick O'Neill aged 9, Charles O'Neill aged 7, John O'Neill aged 4. Charles' Pension was awarded to his father John.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 8 South Main St, Coatbridge

Died

Died of Wounds on the 19/07/1915 at Gallipoli

Enlisted

Coatbridge

Employed

Union Tube Works

Age

21 / DOB - 04/11/1893

Buried / Remembered

Helles Memorial (Panel 24 to 26 or 325 to 328), Turkey

Cemetery / Memorial Information

The eight month campaign in Gallipoli was fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war, to relieve the deadlock of the Western Front in France and Belgium, and to open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea. The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further landings were made at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. However, the difficult terrain and stiff Turkish resistance soon led to the stalemate of trench warfare. The Helles Memorial serves the dual function of Commonwealth battle memorial for the whole Gallipoli campaign and place of commemoration for many of those Commonwealth servicemen who died there and have no known grave. The United Kingdom and Indian forces named on the memorial died in operations throughout the peninsula, the Australians at Helles. There are also panels for those who were lost at sea, in one of the troopships sunk off Gallipoli. Over 20,000 names are commemorated on this memorial.

Additional Information

Charles arrived in Gallipoli on the 14/04/1915. The 2nd (Lowland) Field Company joined the 29th Division in February 1915. The 29th Division embarked at Avonmouth on the 16th - 22nd March 1915 and went via Malta to Alexandria. On the 7th April the first units to have arrived at Egypt began to re-embark for the move to Mudros, the deep water harbour at the island of Lemnos that was going to be used as a forward base for operations at Gallipoli. The Division landed at Cape Helles in Gallipoli on the 25/04/1915. The Battle of Gully Ravine : By late June 1915 agreement had been reached between the government in London, in the form of war minister Lord Kitchener, and the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Commander-in-Chief, Sir Ian Hamilton, to despatch sizeable reinforcements to the Gallipoli peninsular to facilitate a renewed offensive in August in the north. In the interim however Hamilton had been instructed by Kitchener to continue to press against the Turks. During the space of June and July therefore a series of attacks were mounted from Helles on the southern tip of the peninsula. Prominent among these was the Battle of Gully Ravine, fought on the 28/06/915 along the Aegean spine of the peninsula in the wake of a moderate French success a week earlier. The newly appointed commander of the British 29th Division, Major-General Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle, proposed a limited objective attack - in accordance with Hamilton's strict enjoinder that no sweeping breakthrough be henceforth attempted - along the Gully Ravine Spur. In this the 29th Division would receive support from two other Brigades, the Indian 29th and 156th Brigade of 52nd (Lowland) Division. Artillery support was to be fairly weak - 77 guns and howitzers : a third of what might ordinarily be expected - but was the best that could be managed given ongoing artillery and ammunition shortages (a mere 12,000 rounds were allocated for the attack). Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston's plans for the attack were approved by Helles VIII Corps commander Aylmer Hunter-Weston, who remained hopeful that the prominent hill feature Achi Baba could be seized, and the attack duly began with the usual preliminary bombardment on the 28th June. Progress was initially encouraging as the 87th Brigade seized the first two lines of Turkish trenches with light losses, with the 86th Brigade continuing successfully to the next two trench lines. Meanwhile the 29th Brigade - with offshore naval artillery support - successfully seized Turkish coastal trenches reaching up to Fusilier Bluff. Unfortunately for Hunter-Weston the attack conducted by the 156th Brigade, newly-arrived in the sector, went badly. Although they quickly reached Turkish trench lines without effective artillery support, they were subsequently thrown back by the Turks at heavy cost, which included the loss of their commander Scott-Moncrieffe. Determined Turk counter-strikes progressively restored to Turkish control trenches seized by the Allies on the Gully Ravine Spur, albeit at even heavier cost. Thus while the Allies had gained perhaps a kilometre along the coast, gains elsewhere were negligible. After a week's worth of fighting losses on both sides were notable. The British counted some 3,800 casualties and their Turkish opponents as many as 14,000. Charles is listed as O'NEIL on the Memorial and on his Service Medal and Award Rolls and his Pension Records. His name on the Helles Memorial was donated by Mick McCann at the britishwargraves.co.uk. Charles is also remembered in the St Patrick's (book), St Mary's Church and Stewarts and Lloyds Rolls of Honour (see photos). See photos for Charles' Medal Index Card, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects x 2, his Service Medal and Award Rolls x 2, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Helles Memorial Panel List, his name on the Helles Memorial, Charles' Pension Records x 2 and the Royal Engineers Cap Badge.

Photos
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