Live on and love on war the motto of Jack Neil

Name: Jack Neil
Date: 1915
Unit: Australian Medical Corps
Location: Gallipoli

Jack Neil was a religious man with a strong sense of honour and duty.

His first real test came when he and his five siblings were orphaned in 1905 when Jack was just 15.

Ten years later, when World War I began, Jack signed up and was sent with the Australian Medical Corps to Egypt and thence to Gallipoli.

He wrote to his aunt from Egypt on 3 September 1915 explaining that they were about to leave for Alexandria.

"Our wagons are not going with us at present so I daresay I shall be stretcher bearing when we get to work.

"Shall be glad now to get settled anywhere, and so make myself of some use.

"So my last message from Egypt is Au revoir, look forward to my return, with prayers for my safe keeping: live on and love on, as you know yours truly will do.

"Now on our way to do our duty and more than that we cannot do."

Maybe Jack Neil had a premonition, for he seemed to be saying goodbye.

"Whatever is in store will be for the best and certainly honourable will be my actions," he wrote. "Remember me to all. Perhaps some of us are marked: but what does that matter so long as our loved ones are safe and honoured.

"My heart will always be with you, my soul in God's keeping: and so I resign myself to merciful Fate, with prayers for you all.

"God be with you till we meet again."

A month later Jack was dead, killed on the beach at Gallipoli.

A mate, R. Tweddle, wrote to tell the family how it happened.

"Three of us were down on the beach at the time on duty (4th October) when a shell came whizzing through the air. Of course all ran for shelter but alas poor Jack, he was struck with a shrapnel bullet, it passing under the auxilla through the chest, consequently death was instantaneous. You can imagine the shock we other two got to think it was poor Jack.

"Well, he was buried near our camp, in a little cemetery here by Rev Smith. The lads are erecting a wooden tombstone in memory of their comrade.

"I miss Jack very much as we had been friends from the first.

"Jack was a good fellow, and he lived well so there's nothing to fear."

Jack Neil is buried at the 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery between Chailak Dere and Aghyl Dere about 190 metres east of the Anzac-Suvla Road.

The material for this article was supplied by Miss Marjorie A.H. Neil of Queensland

Last updated:

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DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) ( ), Live on and love on war the motto of Jack Neil, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 21 April 2024,
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