John O'Neill (VC)

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John O'Neill
Born (1897-02-10)10 February 1897
Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died 16 October 1942(1942-10-16) (aged 45)
Hoylake, Cheshire
Buried at Holy Trinity Churchyard, Hoylake
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars World War I

John O'Neill VC MM (also spelt O'Niell) (10 February 1897 – 16 October 1942) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was 21 years old, and a sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 14 October 1918 near Moorsele, Belgium, when the advance of his company was checked by two machine-guns and an enemy field battery firing over open sights, Sergeant O'Neill, with 11 men only, charged the battery, capturing four field guns, two machine-guns and 16 prisoners. Again on the morning of 20 October with one man he rushed an enemy machine-gun position, routing about 100 and causing many casualties.[1]

He also served in the RAF as an Armourer Sergeant when he served alongside Lawrence of Arabia.

In 1940 he was commissioned into the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps as a Lieutenant.[2] defending Liverpool's docklands from air attack.

John O'Neill died of a heart attack on 16 October 1942. He is buried in Trinity Road Cemetery, Hoylake, Wirral.


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31082. p. 15118. 26 December 1918. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  2. ^ CWGC entry

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