James Martin Clement NEAGLE


NEAGLE, James Martin Clement

Service Numbers: 2233, 2233A, 2233a
Enlisted: 11 May 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Pirie, South Australia, 29 April 1889
Home Town: Port Pirie, Port Pirie City and Dists, South Australia
Schooling: Port Pirie Convent School and Terowie Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Ironworker
Died: Killed in Action (shell), Belgium, 18 October 1917, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot XXVIII, Row A, Grave 2
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Port Pirie Oval WW1 Memorial Gates, Tusmore Burnside District Roll of Honour, Whyalla Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

11 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2233, Adelaide, South Australia
12 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2233, 50th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2233, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
18 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2233A, 50th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
Date unknown: Wounded SN 2233a, 50th Infantry Battalion

Jimmy's Anzac Pilgrimage

My great uncle Jame Martin Clement Neagle (known as Marty) was my mother's favourite uncle and Cathy never forgot this man. She remembered the day he left for war with his younger brother Vin and tragically also remembered the day the telegram arrived at her home telling of his death in Passchendaele on October 18th, 1917. I have told his story in a number of places: in the books 'Journey of Remembrance', 'Connecting Spirits', and 'Jimmy's Anzac Pilgrimage' and on the Connecting Spirits website (www.connectingspirits.com.au).

He is not forgotten.
Lest we Forget.....by Julie Reece

Showing 1 of 1 story


"...2233A Private James Martin Clement Neagle, 50th Battalion, of Port Pirie, SA. An ironworker before enlisting in May 1916, Pte Neagle left Australia for England with the 4th Reinforcements, and arrived in France for service on the Western Front in December 1916. Attached to an Australian Light Railway company, he was admitted to hospital suffering from shell-shock after participating in the Battle of Messines in July 1917, being repatriated to England on leave to recover. Rejoining the battalion in October 1917, he was killed in action two weeks later at Broodseinde Ridge on 18 October 1917, aged 28." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

Martin (preferred name) Neagle was born in 1880.

Father Edward Joseph and  Mother Susan, of William Street Norwood.

Martin enlisted with his younger brother Vin. They had consecutive numbers (2233 and 2234).

Both brothers served in the 50th Battalion and departed from Adelaide on the “A 70 Ballarat” on the 12th of August of 1916. The deadly Battle of the Somme was in full force and the brothers avoided this battlefront being placed in the training camps on the Salisbury Plains at Codford in the UK. They experienced one of the coldest winters on record. Prior to leaving for France.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout, Australia and NZ in WWI

One year ago, during a very beautiful and memorable stay in Ypres, I had the honor and the privilege to visit the Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, and to present my deep respects to all the men who fell and who rest in peace on these sacred grounds and walking through the rows of these white graves under which thousands of heroes rest in peace, my eyes and my heart crossed the name of a young man for whom I would like to honor the memory.Today, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 2233/A James Martin Clement Neagle who fought in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion and who was killed in action 103 years ago, on October 18, 1917 at the age of 28 on the Belgian front.

James Martin Clement Neagle was born in 1880 in Port Pirie, Australia, and was the son of Edward Joseph and Susan Neagle, of 154, William Street, Norwood,South Australia.James was educated at Port Pirie Convent School and then at Telowie Public School, South Australia.Before the outbreak of the war, he was single and lived in Hummock Hill where he worked as an ironworker and served in the Australian Army for three years in the 17th Australian Light Horse.
Enlisted on May 11, 1916 in Adelaide, South Australia, in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion, 4th Reinforcement, along with his brother Vin, he embarked with his unit from Adelaide, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on August 12, 1916 and sailed for England.The deadly Battle of the Somme was in full force and the brothers avoided this battlefront being placed in the training camps on the Salisbury Plains at Codford, England. They experienced one of the coldest winters on record. Prior to leaving for France,James sent a number of postcards, in one of them he wrote:

"November 21st 1916, Codford, England
My dear Cathy,Just a line from "Uncle Marty" before I go to France on Saturday and fight for you, Mary and Jim. Don’t forget to pray for Uncle Vin and Mart and we’ll be home again soon. This is something like the country looked like last Saturday and Sunday. when we had snow here. Be a good girl for mummy and daddy. With love and kisses,Uncle Martie."

On December 8th 1916 Martin arrived at the notorious British training camp at Etaples. Its reputation amongst the troops was one of harsh cruelty and awful treatment of the troops by the officers. On the 23rd of December the reality of the front line hit Martin Neagle as he joined the unit for battle. His records don’t show his movements until the following year when his battalion was involved in the horrific Battle of Messines. In June of 1917, 19 British mines that had been prepared for two years exploded in the largest underground detonation in military history.

The impact was devastating,killing many Germans and changing the landscape of the Messines region forever. Massive craters were created and it was reported that the blast was felt in London. The Neagle brothers were a part of this attack and both were wounded.James suffered shell shock and was hospitalised from June 9th for two months. While recuperating he spent time at Le Havre and a collection of his postcards written in early August show many of the local sites. One of the most poignant messages was “Battered but not beaten”.

James rejoined his unit after a period of leave in England and once again postcards reveal his brief time as tourist going to Scotland and seeing the sites in London such as the Tower of London. On the 4th of October 1917 Martin sent a beautifully embroidered Xmas card to his sister and brother in law in which he wrote:
"To Cis and Mac, a happy Christmas and bright New year. Your loving brother Mart.”
James was only able to rejoin his unit on 7 October 1917.After having seen action during the Battle of Polygon Wood (26 September – 3 October 1917), the 4th Australian Division took part in the First Battle of Passchendaele (12 October 1917). Both of these attacks were stages of the Third Battle of Ypres. The latter was carried out by the 12th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division. The Brigade wasn’t able to capture its objective at the Keiberg Spur and was forced to withdraw. Overall the First Battle of Passchendaele had been an utter failure. Casualties had been high along the whole line, while no significant gains had been made.

On the following day the 50th Australian Battalion relieved the 49th Australian Battalion in the frontline near the hamlet of Nieuwemolen and Defy Crossing. German shelling of the Battalion’s positions was persistent throughout the following days. Meanwhile the 50th Battalion started wiring the front line. This job was completed except about 100 yards on the 18th of October 1917. From 10:15 pm to 5:45 am.The German artillery consistently shelled the frontline and the 50th Battalion’s rear. Both gas shells and high explosive shells were fired on the Battalion’s positions.The Battalion was relieved in the frontline on the following day.

Unfortunately,Private James Martin Clement Neagle was killed in action on the 18th of October 1917. He was buried in the field on the Broodseinde Ridge near Celtic.The place of his original grave was approximately 2 kilometers south of the 50th Battalion’s position. This may indicate that Private Neagle may have been killed while he was deployed as a courier or while assisting another unit further down the line. His remains were exhumed after the war and he now rests in peace with his comrades and friends, his brothers in arms at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, and his grave bears the following inscription "May he rest in peace".

James, it is with deep respect that I would like today to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done and endured for us alongside your friends and comrades during this terrible war in the mud of the trenches,in the icy water and the blood of young men who all answered the call of duty and who all served their country with honor and devotion on the lands of France and Belgium, they were young and incredibly brave and faced the worst horrors of a world at war which took so much from them, on these battlefields which were consumed by the flames of the fury of war, they lost their youth and fought with the greatest of courage giving all they had, they fought with their hearts, with the strength of their convictions and with the love of their families and their country who hoped to see them again,they bravely went over the top by facing the murderous fire of the machine guns which spit on them rains of bullets who mowed down a whole generation of men, who, united, never ceased to fight day and night under shells, in this apocalypse which they went through, they never backed down and all did their duty with extreme bravery and indestructible faith in victory and in the peace for which they gave their lives.we who are here must never forget who we are and where we come from but more importantly we must not forget what so many brave men have done for us and for their countries, they were all from different horizon and all fought under a different flag, but all fought together under the same horrible conditions, for humanity, for freedom and for the peace in which they all rest in peace today on the sacred grounds of France and Belgium and will never be forgotten because their names, in our hearts and in our thoughts as well as in the immaculate and flowered stone of their graves, will never cease to live so that they cross the years with the certainty of being remembered and honored with the respect and love they all deserve. Thank you James, with all our hearts we will never forget you.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.