Neill, Reginald Henry (Rex)
‘B’ Company, 11th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 22)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
St John the Baptist Church of Ireland Church, Suffolk, Belfast
Lisburn’s Dead 1914 – 1919 (Friends’ School Lisburn WW1 Research Project)
Reginald Henry Neill was born in England and he was a son of Reginald Neill and Geraldine Neill (born in County Cork) who were married around 1893/1894.
The Neill family lived in Poleglass; in Colin Grove, Dunmurry and at Sheena, Craigavad.
Reginald Neill Senior worked as an architect and he and Geraldine had two children:
Reginald Henry (born around 1894/1895 in England)
Frances Mary (born around 1897/1898)
Frances Mary was baptised in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall).
Reginald Henry (Rex) Neill was educated at Mourne Grange, Kilkeel, Co Down and at Malvern College, Worcestershire. Rex Neill was an officer in the Second Battalion South Antrim Volunteers (UVF) and during the Great War he served with ‘B’ Company 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. He went to France from Bordon Camp, Hampshire in October 1915.
Lieutenant Rex Neill was 22 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Initially he was reported as wounded in action, then missing in action and finally it was officially confirmed that he must be presumed to have been killed in action. He has no known grave.
Lieutenant Rex Neill is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France and on a memorial plaque in St John the Baptist Church of Ireland Church, Suffolk, Belfast. This plaque was erected by his fellow officers in ‘B’ Company 11th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He is also commemorated in that church on a memorial window erected by his parents. The inscription below the window reads:
Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life
The inscription on the plaque beneath it reads:
Erected by his fellow officers in B Co. 11 RIR South Antrim Volunteers in loving memory of Rex Neill who gave his life for his country in the battle of the Somme near Thiepval Wood in July 1916 aged 22
Lieutenant Rex Neill is also commemorated in Lisburn’s Dead 1914 – 1919 (Friends’ School Lisburn WW1 Research Project).