Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Patrick Neill

Patrick Neill :

Patrick Neill : Crimea Medal with clasps 'Alma', 'Balaklava', 'Inkermann', 'Sebastopol'

Crimea Medal with clasps 'Alma', 'Balaklava', 'Inkermann', 'Sebastopol'

We don't know anything about Patrick's early life or family.

He joined the 63rd Regiment of Foot in around March 1852 and was given the service number 2828. At this time the regiment was stationed in Limerick, Ireland. It had moved to Dublin by the end of June. We don't know anything about Patrick's service during this time.

The Crimean War broke out in October 1853, and Britain and France declared war on Russia in March 1854. At first the 63rd Regiment was not intended to take part in this fighting, but in June it was ordered to prepare to go to war. Patrick arrived in the Crimea, then in Russia but today part of the Ukraine, in September 1854. He held the rank of Corporal during the war.

Patrick and the 63rd Regiment played a minor role in the Battle of the Alma on the 20th September. They then moved to Cathcart's Hill, where they joined the siege of Sevastopol. The Russians attacked these forces at the Battle of Balaklava on the 25th October. Patrick took part in this battle, which ended in a Russian victory and led to a much larger battle on the 5th November, at Inkerman.

The Russians were again the attackers, but the 63rd Regiment were ordered to counterattack. After vicious hand to hand fighting they pushed the Russians back to a position called the Barrier. The Russians were determined to take this position, but the regiment held them off. The 63rd Regiment lost around 18 men killed and around 100 wounded during the fighting. Patrick was one of the men wounded.

The winter of 1854-55 was harsh, and the British soldiers were poorly equipped. Warm clothing and shelter were in particularly short supply, and this meant that far more soldiers died of disease or exposure than were killed by the Russians. Many of Patrick's comrades died, but he seems to have come through unharmed.

The British and French continued the siege of Sevastopol throughout 1855. They launched a final attack on the city on the 8th September 1855 and had captured it by the next day. Patrick took part in this attack. He may also have been involved in the capture of the Russian fort of Kinburn in October.

The Crimean War ended in February 1856, and the 63rd Regiment left the Crimean Peninsula on the 6th May. They were heading for Halifax, in Nova Scotia, Canada. We don't know whether Patrick went with them, or anything about the rest of his life.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council