Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

William Neilson

William Neilson :

William Neilson : Egypt Medal

Egypt Medal

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

We don't know when William joined the Army. He was given the service number 1901 and by 1880 he held the rank of Sergeant in the 63rd Regiment of Foot. He was serving in India with this Regiment at the end of the 1870's.

The 63rd Regiment played a small part in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. William was with them in August 1880 when they marched from Sibi in modern Pakistan to try to relieve British forces under siege in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Another force marching south from the Afghan capital Kabul got there first so William will have seen very little fighting. After the end of the war the 63rd Regiment stayed in Kandahar until the British withdrew in April 1881.

On the 1st July the 63rd Regiment became the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. They were stationed at Quetta, in modern Pakistan, at the time.

The Anglo-Egyptian War broke out in June 1882 after the pro-British Khedive was deposed. Britain wanted to protect its commercial investments in Egypt, as well as the Suez Canal, which gave access to India. The 1st Battalion was sent to Egypt on the 6th September to join a larger force that had already landed. For this reason they did not see very much fighting. The war ended later that month with the British restoring the Khedive to power, but having much more control over the country.

William's time overseas ended on the 3rd November 1882. He returned to the UK and was stationed at Warley in Essex, and then at the Tower of London for a time. He was with the battalion in Warley when lists of soldiers eligible for medals for the Egyptian campaign were drawn up. He was listed on the Egypt Medal roll on the 25th November 1882 and the Khedive's Star roll on the 20th March 1883.

On the 3rd July 1883 a list of men who had not received the Khedive's Star was drawn up. William was on the list: He had died. His medal was returned to the War Office in London.

William's medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in July 1956. As well as his Egypt Medal and Khedive's Star, he was also eligible to receive the Afghanistan Medal for his Army service.

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