""A splendid soldier," says the Army and Navy Gazette, "was lost to the army at Tel-el-Kebir in the person of Sergeant-major McNeill of the 42nd Highlanders, and it will be long ere his name is forgotten in the Black Watch."
Cabinet card of "Black Watch" Sergeant-Major McNeill of the 42nd Highlanders. He was killed in action at Tel-el-Kebir in Afghanistan on September 13th, 1882.
Wear as shown, Edinburgh front mark. Scarce view of a true hero!
$275.00 plus shipping
age and none under 21, with 154 of the Reserve. The Black Watch had in its ranks 300 men of above six years' service, all under 20 being left behind in Scotland and their places filled up from the Reserve, while the Seaforth Highlanders were grey-haired men—an unusual sight in our army now,—their breasts covered with medals and crosses won in Afghanistan, and two-thirds of the Rifles and Marines were over 24 years of age....
"The Duke of Connaught as Brigadier of the Guards was in his place at Tel-el-Kebir, but whether the Guards were in their proper place was doubted by the whole of the army, and by none more than the Guards themselves. To serve in a campaign without firing a shot or using a bayonet, ill became the history, the traditions, and the past reputation, of our corps d'elite."
"A splendid soldier," says the Army and Navy Gazette, "was lost to the army at Tel-el-Kebir in the person of Sergeant-major McNeill of the 42nd Highlanders, and it will be long ere his name is forgotten in the Black Watch. There are certain points in connection with the deceased's career which it may be well to bring to light, reflecting as they do to the discredit of the country he served so well. Sergeant McNeill was an unmarried man—he always refused to enter the married state, because he had a widowed mother. She was at one time in an infirmary at Aberdeen. From this he removed her, to place her in a more comfortable home. He put aside a portion of his pay to cover the cost of this home. Had he married, his widow would have been entitled to a pension. His mother is entitled to nothing! The officers of the regiment, on the fact becoming known, at once subscribed £50 for the bereaved mother, who had been deprived of a good son and all means of subsistence at the same time."
The scenes in and about the works were painful in the extreme. One Egyptian officer fell under a wounded camel and lay there the entire day, being taken for dead. The cries of the wounded were excruciating; many tore about like maniacs, covered with bayonet wounds and panting with thirst. Others were seen crawling about in a state of delirium, and even committing suicide.
Many narrow escapes were experienced. Captain J. H. Sandwith, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry (3rd Battalion), had a bullet through his helmet; another struck the revolver case of an officer of the Coldstream Guards, which saved his life.
As soon as the news of the taking of Tel-el-Kebir was known at Ismailia, a train was sent forward at once with the Commissariat, arriving on the ground at nine o'clock.
In October, a party of Highlanders were sent back to Tel-el-Kebir to reinter some of our dead, who had been unearthed and plundered by the Bedouins. The sheikhs of the adjacent villages were warned that they would receive condign punishment if such an event occurred again....