Arthur O'Neill

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Arthur O'Neill
Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill.jpg
Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill's portrait published in The Bond of Sacrifice (1917)
Member of the United Kingdom Parliament
for Mid Antrim
In office
January 1910 – 6 November 1914
Preceded byRobert Torrens O'Neill
Succeeded byHugh O'Neill
Personal details
Born(1876-09-19)19 September 1876
Died6 November 1914(1914-11-06) (aged 38)
Klein Zillebeke, Belgium
Cause of deathKilled in action
Political partyUlster Unionist
FatherEdward O'Neill
RelativesHugh O'Neill (brother)

The Honourable Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill (19 September 1876 – 6 November 1914), was an Irish Ulster Unionist Party politician who was the first Member of Parliament to be killed in World War I.

Early life[edit]

O'Neill was the second but eldest surviving son of Edward O'Neill, 2nd Baron O'Neill, and his wife Lady Louisa Katherine Emma (née Cochrane). Hugh O'Neill, later Baron Rathcavan, was his younger brother.


Military career[edit]

O'Neill joined the British Army as a second lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards on 26 May 1897, and was promoted to lieutenant on 15 June 1898.[1] He saw active service in South Africa between 1899 and 1900, during the Second Boer War, for which he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with three clasps.[2] On 3 January 1902 he was promoted to captain,[3] and temporary appointed adjutant to the 2nd Life Guards.[4]

O'Neill Memorial Hall in Dunnygarran, South Antrim, built in 1926

O'Neill fought in the First World War as a captain in "A" Squadron 2nd Life Guards. He was killed in action at Klein Zillebeke ridge on 6 November 1914, aged 38, the first MP to be killed in the conflict. He is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres.[5] O'Neill is also commemorated on Panel 8 of the Parliamentary War Memorial in Westminster Hall, one of 22 MPs that died during World War I to be named on that memorial.[6][7] O'Neill is one of 19 MPs who fell in the war who are commemorated by heraldic shields in the Commons Chamber.[8] A further act of commemoration came with the unveiling in 1932 of a manuscript-style illuminated book of remembrance for the House of Commons, which includes a short biographical account of the life and death of O'Neill.[9][10]

Political career[edit]

He was elected to the House of Commons for Mid-Antrim in January 1910, succeeding his uncle Robert Torrens O'Neill. His brother Hugh succeeded him as MP for Mid-Antrim.

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill married, at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, on 21 January 1902, Lady Annabel Crewe-Milnes, daughter of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe. The Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, performed the ceremony.[11] Lady Annabel O'Neill later remarried and died in 1948.

O'Neill and his wife had five children; three boys and two girls. Their youngest child, Terence, was less than two months old at the time of his father's death.[12] Their eldest son Shane succeeded his grandfather in the barony in 1928, while their third son Terence O'Neill was Prime Minister of Northern Ireland between 1963 and 1969.



  1. ^ Hart´s Army list, 1903
  2. ^ "O'NEILL, Hon. Arthur Edward Bruce". Who Was Who. A & C Black. April 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  3. ^ "No. 27474". The London Gazette. 16 September 1902. p. 5959.
  4. ^ "No. 27403". The London Gazette. 4 February 1902. p. 716.
  5. ^ "Casualty Details: O'Neill, The Hon. Arthur Edward Bruce". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Recording Angel memorial Panel 8". Recording Angel memorial, Westminster Hall. UK Parliament ( Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  7. ^ "List of names on the Recording Angel memorial, Westminster Hall" (pdf). Recording Angel memorial, Westminster Hall. UK Parliament ( Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  8. ^ "O'Neill". Heraldic shields to MPs, First World War. UK Parliament ( Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  9. ^ "House of Commons War Memorial: Final Volumes Unveiled by The Speaker". The Times (46050). London. 6 February 1932. p. 7.
  10. ^ Moss-Blundell, Edward Whitaker, ed. (1931). The House of Commons Book of Remembrance 1914–1918. E. Mathews & Marrot.
  11. ^ "Court circular". The Times (36671). London. 22 January 1902. p. 10.
  12. ^ Mulholland, Marc (September 2012). "O'Neill, Terence Marne, Baron O'Neill of the Maine (1914–1990)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  13. ^ "No. 33567". The London Gazette. 3 January 1930. p. 45.
  14. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Captain Hon. Arthur Edward Bruce O'Neill". The Peerage. Retrieved 27 November 2014.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Torrens O'Neill
Member of Parliament for Mid Antrim
January 19101914
Succeeded by
Hugh O'Neill