Major William Neill in June 1944

Major Neill and Lieutenant McCartney in their foxhole on the 20th September

Major William Neill


Unit : "C" Company, 1st Battalion The Border Regiment

Army No. : 200852


At 1730 hrs on the 23rd September 1944 at ARNHEM, after a heavy artillery and mortar concentration, the enemy carried out a strong counter attack supported by self-propelled guns on the Battalion position, and succeeded in making a considerable penetration. Major Neill who had, that morning, been wounded in four places but had refused to leave his post, immediately organised a counter attack with the few men he could muster. Leading his small force with great determination and complete disregard for his own person, he drove the greatly superior enemy force out of the Battalion position and quickly rectified what otherwise would have become a very dangerous situation. Not content with merely rectifying the line, he commenced to organise a patrol and personally led it, after dark, into the enemy lines, destroying an enemy headquarters, and causing such confusion amongst the enemy that they were effectively prevented from mounting another attack until late the next day. Throughout the nine days of ARNHEM, Major Neill's devotion to duty and utter contempt of danger were an inspiration to all ranks, and the confidence he instilled into his men was largely responsible for the fanatical spirit with which he and his few men defeated every enemy attempt to overcome the positions.


After the War, "Jock" Neill, who had joined the 1st Border in 1942 and served with them throughout, moved overseas and became a member of the African Police before emigrating to Tasmania. He died in 1984.


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