Hugh Bertram Neely

Date of birth:                     27th June 1888
Place of birth:                    Bromley, Kent
Rank:                                   2nd Lieutenant
Regiment / Division:       Suffolk Regiment
Battalion:                           1st Battalion
Died:                                   23rd April 1915 aged 26 years
Death Location:               France/Flanders

Life before the War
Hugh was born 27th June 1888 in Bromley, Kent.  His parents were William, born 1855 and baptised on 24th October 1855 in the Borough of Hackney, London, and Clara Rebecca, nee Cope, born 24th February 1864 and baptised on 5th July 1864 at St. Paul’s, Lisson Grove, London.  William and Clara married 1885 in Bromley Kent.

Hugh’s siblings were:

Clive William                  b.8th April1886 and died 20th June 1916
Wilfred Guy Stuart      b.6th August 1890 – d. 1975
Phyllis Clare                   b.1898
John Conrad                   b.29th March 1901- d.1989

In 1891 the family were living at “Grasmore”, Sandford Road, Bromley.  William was a Stationer.  The family employed two servants, one as a cook and the other a nurse.

By 1901 the family had moved to “Yew Lodge”, 1, Burnt Ash Lane, Bromley.  William owned his own business as a Stationer.  The family had four servants, a certified monthly nurse, a housemaid, a nurse and a cook.

In 1911 they had moved to Ruxley House, 157, Widmore Road, Bromley.  William didn’t show any occupation.  They employed a cook and parlour maid.

National Probate Calendar
“Neely Hugh Bertram of 3 London Road Southampton lieutenant H.M. Suffolk regiment died 25 April 1915 at Ypres Belgium. Administration London 8 July 1915 to William Neely stationer.  Effects £724 12s 6d”

Clara’s National Probate (Mother)
“Neely Clara Rebecca of Ruxley Southfields Road Eastbourne (wife of William Neely) died 7 March 1941 at Chichester Hospital Chichester.  Probate Llandudno 7August 1941 to Trustee Department of The Westminster Bank Limited and Wilfred Guy Stuart Neely medical practitioner.  Effects £6761 9 s 2d”

William’s National Probate (Father)
“Neely William of 55 Lee Road Blackheath London died 29 October 1949.  Probate London 23 December 1949 to Wilfred Guy Stuart Neely physician and surgeon and John Conrad Neely wing commander R.A.F.  Effects £13559 6s 6d”

Brother Clive’s War Service
Name:                              Clive William Neely
Death Date:                   20 Jun 1916
Rank:                                2/Lieutenant (T)
Regiment:                       Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Battalion:                       14th Battalion
Type of Casualty:       Died

Brother Clive’s National Probate
“Neely Clive William of 157 Widmore Road Bromley Kent 2nd lieutenant 14th Battalion Royal Fusiliers died 20 June 1916 in Mesopotamia.  Probate London 26 October to William Neely stationer.  Effects £1526 8s 5d”

Brother John’s R.A.F. Service – London Gazette 5 July 1955
Name: NEELY, John Conrad (1901-1989), Air Vice Marshal –  *Allegedly, ‘Jack’ was awarded his wings in 1928, making him a contemporary of Eugene Esmonde VC.
Air Vice-Marshal John Conrad Neely, C.B.E., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.
Service biography: Joined RAF 1928; World War II 1939-1945; Consultant in ophthalmology, RAF Central Medical Establishment 1950-1959; senior consultant, RAF Central Medical Establishment 1955; retired 1959.
*In 1942 he was mentioned in dispatches for his careful surgical technique,
he  contributed to the reconstruction of pilots’ faces which had impacted on instrument panels. His paper on *Traumatic Diplopia* contains a photograph of a very disintegrated Hawker Typhoon after a crash landing implying that he had operated on the pilot…..

Hugh’s War Service
Name:                               Hugh Bertram Neely
Death Date:                    25 Apr 1915
Rank:                                2/Lieutenant
Regiment:                       Suffolk Regiment
Battalion:                        5th Battalion (Territorial)
Type of Casualty:        Killed in action

Lancing College War Memorial:
3rd (Reserve) Battalion Suffolk Regiment attached to the 1st Battalion 

Date of birth:                 27th June 1888
Date of death:               25th May 1915

Killed in action aged 26.
Buried at Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery Plot I Row E Grave 7.

Hugh Bertram Neely was born at Bromley on the 27th of June 1888 the second son of William Neely, a stationer, and Clare R. (nee Cope) Neely of Ruxley House, 157 Widmore Road, Bromley in Kent.

He was educated at Quernmore School at Bromley and at Lancing College where he won an Exhibition and was in News House from September 1902 to March 1905.  He was a Sergeant in the Officer Training Corps and was a Prefect in 1904.

On leaving school he trained as a dentist at Guy’s Hospital from October 1908 becoming MRCS and LRCP in November 1912.

He was Assistant Demonstrator of Dental Metallurgy from January to March 1911 and was Assistant Dental House Surgeon at Guy’s from July to September 1912.  On leaving Guy’s he passed into private practice and worked as an assistant in two or three posts before establishing his own practice in Southampton.

He was a member of the committee of the Lancing Club for a short time and, although he didn’t obtain school colours for football while at Lancing, on leaving he played for Guys Hospital, United Hospitals (1911/12), where he was Hon Secretary, as well as for the OLs, for Kent and for Surrey.  He also played rugby for the Southampton Trojans.

He was a member of the 28th Battalion London Regiment (Artists Rifles) for many years, serving as Private 1587 and leaving in 1912.

On the outbreak of was he closed his practice and rejoined his old regiment, the Artists Rifles, on the 6th of August 1914.  He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (on probation) in the Suffolk Regiment on the 15th of August 1914.  Shortly afterwards he was sent for a musketry course at Hythe and qualified in the use of the machine gun.

He left for France on the 4th of March 1915 landing there the following morning where he was attached to the 1st Battalion of his regiment.

His brother, 2nd Lieutenant Clive William Neely OL of the 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, died on the 26th of June 1916.

Guy’s Hospital War Memorial:
From his earliest days at Guy’s, when he came as a pupil in Dental Mechanics in October 1908 to the time he qualified in November 1912, he was a tower of strength to the Dental side, mentally and physically.  In addition to his ordinary hospital appointments, he was Assistant Demonstrator of Dental Metallurgy from January to March 1911, and Assistant Dental House Surgeon from July to September 1912.

At sports he was in his element and won his full Hospital and United Hospital Colours for football.

After taking his degree he passed into private practice, filling two or three posts as assistant for a short time, and then setting up at Southampton.  Here he was very successful until war broke out, when he immediately closed his practice, like the sportsman he was, and rejoined his old volunteer regiment, “The Artists”.  Later he received his commission as Second Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, and was sent on active service to France.

In the heavy fighting which took place around Ypres about the end of April, he was one of the many officers who fell in action – brave men who gave their lives cheerfully and willingly for their country.  We men of Guy’s can realise what a loss he must have been to his men, for he was always a man who thought of others before himself.

The Catholic Roll of Honour:
NEELY, Second-Lieut. Hugh Bertram, 1st Suffolk Regt., second son of William Neely, Bromley, Kent; at Ypres, April 25, 1915—aged 26.

The De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour:
“2nd Lieut., 3rd (Reserve), attd. 1st (12th Foot), Battn. The Suffolk Regt., 2nd s. of William Neely, of Ruxley House, Bromley, by his wife, Clare, dau. Of James Staines Cope; b. Bromley, co. Kent, 27 June, 1888; educ. Quernmore; Lancing College, where he matriculated in 1902, and Guy’s Hospital, where he passed the Licentiate in Dental Surgery in Nov. 1912; subsequently practisd as a dentist in Southampton; was a member of the Artists’ Rifles for many years until 1912; rejoined 6 Aug. 1914, two days after war was declared, being gazetted 2nd Lieut. 3rd Suffolk Regt. On the 15th of the same month; passed through a course of musketry at Hythe, where he qualified in the use of the machine gun; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 4 March, being attached to the 1st Battn., and was killed in action at the Second Battle of Ypres, 25 April, 1915. Buried at Vlamertinghe. He was a good all round sportsman; played Soccer for Guy’s, also for the United Hospitals, of which he was honorary secretary, and Rugger for the Southampton Trojans; unm”.

He was entitled to the 1915 Star, General Service and Victory Medals.

Researched by Becky Lonergan 2013.

The following piece of information was supplied by a member of  the public C.Olding – Photos of Hugh and brother Clive on Ancestry . St Edmund’s RC Church Southampton Catholic Magazine Roll of Honour ( those serving as well as those who died) . February 1915 parishioner rejoined Territorials August 1914, made Ltn and expects soon to be at the front. Death reported and that of brother in Mesopotamia.
He was an active member of the St Edmund’s Dramatic Society. The Southampton Times describes an entertainment called ” Louison” at St Barnabas’ church hall for St Edmund’s debt fund in which Mr H B Neely is a fine figure as officer in the French guard.

Thank you to Barry McAleenan – John Conrad was his godfather – Barry provided  the added information * about John who lived close to his grandfather.

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