Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Lance Corporal Samuel Neely, 12th Battalion, the North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’), died of wounds received in action on the Western Front.
Lance Corporal Neely had served with the Royal Irish Rifles, and then been assigned to the Labour Corps, before joining the 12th (Service) Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment. The Battalion had been formed in France from the 11th Garrison Guard on the 11th of June in 1916, and shortly afterwards moved to St. Omer and saw action on the Western Front, including at the River Lys during the advance in Flanders from the 18th of August to the 6th of September.
It is not clear on which day Lance Corporal Neely was wounded, but he had arrived at the No. 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station with a severe chest wound and died at 10:30 in the evening of the 12th of September. The clearing station had not long returned to Hondeghem to support the advance of the British Fifth Army, but was ordered to move out at midnight on the night of Lance Corporal Neely’s death to the St. Venant Lunatic Asylum, south of St. Omer.
Lance Corporal Neely was described by a comrade as a gallant soldier and true-hearted man. He is buried in the La Kreule Military Cemetery in Hazebrouck, France, and is one of sixty soldiers from the Great War commemorated at the Second Broughshane Presbyterian Church, Ballymena.
Samuel, from Cullybackey, County Antrim, was 32 years old and married.