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  cap badgePrivate Hugh O'Neil (O'Neill)

1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
Service No: 18967

Hugh O'Neil (O'Neill) grave

968

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4

1

6
Personal details

Family Information

Son of John and Mary Boyle O'Neil of 68a Coats St, Coatbridge then 17b East Canal St, Coatbridge. From the 1891 Census - Address - 3 Long Row, Coatbridge - Margaret McMlendin aged 65, boarders John O'Neil aged 36, Mary O'Neil aged 35, Hugh O'Neil aged 13, Edward O'Neil aged 11, Mary O'Neil aged 8, Patrick O'Neil aged 6, John O'Neil aged 4, William O'Neil aged 1. From the 1901 Census - Address - 18 East Canal St, Coatbridge - John O'Neil aged 48, Mary O'Neil aged 46, Hugh O'Neil aged 22, Edward O'Neil aged 21, Patrick O'Neil aged 17, John O'Neil aged 14, William O'Neil aged 11. Hugh's Pension was awarded to his mother Mary on the 08/07/1916.

Born / Resided

Coatbridge / 68a Coats St, Coatbridge

Died

Killed in Action on the 22/08/1915 at the Battle of Scimitar Hill, Suvla, Gallipoli

Enlisted

Coatdyke 1914

Employed

Iron Worker in the Victoria Iron Works

Age

36 / DOB - 13/12/1878

Buried / Remembered

Helles Memorial (Panel 85 to 93 or 220 to 222), 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

The Battalion sailed from Avonmouth on the 18/03/1915 and landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on the 25/04/1915. Hugh arrived 1 month later. The Battalion were part of the 87th Brigade, 29th Division. Hugh was Killed in the failed attempt to capture Scimitar Hill at Suvla Bay in Gallipoli. The Battle : Following a preparatory but ineffective (blind) artillery shoot starting at 1430 hours on the 21/08/1915, the 87th Brigade attack on Hill 70, or Scimitar Hill, began at 1500 hours. The 29th Division attack against the Anafarta Ridge's Hill 100 and Hill 70 (the latter known as Scimitar Hill due to its shape) was part of the last major offensive mounted at Suvla in the Gallipoli campaign during the First World War. It became the largest one-day attack ever launched by the Allies at Gallipoli and its immediate aim, in concert with attacks on the W Hills by the 11th Division and Hill 60 by the ANZAC force (that included the Connaught Rangers), was to capture the Turkish-held ground that threatened the Suvla landing area. It was also an attempt to capture ground that would link the 29th Division and the ANZAC force to the south. At 1530 hours, A, B, and D Company 1st Inniskillings passed through the King's Own Scottish Borderers to assault Hill 70, and advanced through the burning scrub that had been ignited by shellfire. After 400 yards they emerged from the cover of the scrub to be engaged by a devastating enemy fire that inspired a charge for the relative safety of the enemy's first trench, entering it around 1540 hours. Although then beaten back, the Inniskillings rallied within 150 yards of the top of the hill and, when the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the South Wales Borderers moved up in support, another charge for the crest was made. Unfortunately, it failed as depth positions brought deadly direct fire to bear while the immediate enemy stood on their parapets firing from the hip and throwing hand grenades. Accurate enemy shrapnel also inflicted heavy casualties. As the neighbouring 11th Division's attack faltered, the Inniskillings on Scimitar Hill were coming under fire from Turkish positions higher up the Anafarta Spur to the east and from the W Hills to the south. Elements of A and B Company, with some King's Own Scottish Borderers and others, grouped under cover of a small nullah, on the right just below the crest line of the hill, where they reorganised and attempted to form a firing line. This group held their position awaiting the development of a charge that was made at about 1900 hours and succeeded in reaching the first trench, which the enemy abandoned. However, the group was driven from the second trench and once more was forced to withdraw to its previous position. It was at this point that the 87th Brigade's Battalions consolidated gains and dug in. Their situation then became more perilous when the blazing scrub invaded their positions. At 2300 hours, the 1st Inniskillings, ordered to withdraw when relieved by the remnants of King's Own Scottish Borderers and South Wales Borderers, moved to reorganise at the rear of the King's Own Scottish Borderers. Hugh was previously with the 4th Battalion Highland Light Infantry (9063) and this is how he is listed on the Memorial. Hugh is also listed as O'NEILL aged 45 by the CWGC. Huge thanks to Hugh's great nephew Tom McCormick and his great great nephew Stuart McCormick for the photos of the Highland Light Infantry at Troon and the 2 of Hugh's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny). Hugh is also remembered on the St Patrick's Church Roll of Honour (see photos) and in the St Augustine's Parish (book) Roll of Honour. See photos for Hugh's Medal Index Card, his Newspaper clippings x 2, his Army Register of Soldiers Effects, his Service Medal and Award Rolls, his CWGC Grave Registration, his name on the Helles Memorial Panel List, Hugh's Pension Records x 2, his previous Regiment the Highland Light Infantry Cap Badge and the Kings Own Scottish Borderers Cap Badge. Finally a photo of the 6th Battalion Highland Light Infantry arriving at Troon and Hugh's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny) x 2.

Photos
  Medal Index Card  newspaper clipping  newspaper clipping  newspaper clipping  remembered at home  remembered at home  remembered at home  remembered at home  additional photo  additional photo  additional photo  additional photo  additional photo  additional photo

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Comments
Hugh O'Neill was my great uncle ( my grandmothers brother). As far as I know he had two other brothers Patrick and Edward who we knew as Uncle Paddy and Uncle Eddie. My father gave me Uncle Hugh's death penny and I will try to upload a photo of it if you let me know how to do it on your website. In 2014 while on a visit to Sydney I visited the Anzac Museum and there was a Death Penny for Sydney man also killed at Gallipoli.
Thomas McCormick, Marlborough England, 04/05/2021 6:32PM

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