NEILL, Lyonel Clare Fyans
(Service number 37/1605 (66441))

First Rank Air Mechanic Last Rank


Date Unknown Place of Birth Dunedin, N.Z.

Enlistment Information

Date Age 20 yrs 4 mths
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Motor driver
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Beatrice Victoria Robinson & Forster Fyans Neill, parents
Religion Church of England
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces (?) Served in
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With Royal Flying Corps
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials Albury War Memorial; Fairlie War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Lyonel was born in Dunedin on 14 June 1894, the son of Foster Fyans and Beatrice Victoria Robinson, nee Jones, Neill, who married in 1893 at Geelong. His grandparents, Percival Clay and Gertrude Emmeline nee Fyans had come from Australia to Dune din in 1863 at the beginning of the Otago gold rushes. Grandfather set up a supplies store for the miners. This also included a liquor license: the firm later merged with Wilson and Co. to form Wilson and Neill Ltd.

Foster owned a property at Bushy Park, north of Dunedin. Lyonel went to the school at Waikouaiti, beginning on 18 July 1904 and leaving 12 September 1905.

In 1906 his father bought "Albury Park" farm in South Canterbury and Lyonel went to the Te Ngawai School. Also in 1906 Foster bought a Darracq car in Dune din. The car is still used and owned privately.

It is thought Lyonel worked on his father's property and served 3 years in the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, and later travelled to the England.

He married Marjory Eleanor Harper, born Dunedin, New Zealand in 1897, in the March quarter of 1915 at Brentford, Middlesex. Their son Fredric Fyans Neill was born in the June quarter of 1916, also at Brentford. Their daughter Joan Walcott Neill was born in the December quarter 1917 at Epping, Essex about 17 days before her father's death. His mother Beatrice had died in London in 1916 aged 47 years. Foster Neill later married Josephine Barton Gillingham in 1920 at St Stephens Anglican church at Fairlie and two children were born. Philip Foster, born c 1922, died of polio 1943 aged 20: a medical student, he also studied music at Dunedin. Katherine born 1921 who on the death of her brother gave 1000 pounds for a music scholarship in his memory to be awarded by the University of Otago.

Lyonel worked with the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Lyonel had applied to join the NZEF in September 1914 and was discharged as medically unfit in the November. Lyonel was recoirded as being 5 feet 9 inches tall, with hazel eyes and black hair. He was an Anglican.

About 1916 Lyonel joined the Royal Flying Corps, perhaps to train as a pilot. He was stationed at Farnham and the Hall Flying School, London. An aerial career was not to be. On 17 October 1917 Lyonel boarded the "Osterley" to be sent home via Sydney to New Zealand. He had had a recurrent ear infection: (he may have had ear problems when he was a child). ON 30 October 1917 he died of disease at sea. His death Certificate says "Meningitis and cerebral abscess, secondary to chronic suppuration of the Mastoid Antum" His wife Marge and the children returned to New Zealand after the war and one time were living in Wai-iti Road, Timaru. A war gratuity was paid to Mrs Neill.

Lyonel was awarded the British Army and Victory medals. He appears on the Roll of Honour Waikouaiti Memorial as N.F. Neill, St Clement Danes RAF Church London, the Albury and Fairlie Memorials and the Commonwealth War Graves.


External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Maree Bowen, SC branch NZSG; J Cordes, Mackenzie Genealogical Group

Currently Assigned to


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