John William VINEALL
Rank: Company Sergeant Major
Number: 5402
Unit: 6th Battalion Border Regiment
Date of Death: 19th October 1915
Age: 44
Cemetery: Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

Apart from a short break immediately before the War, William Vineall had been a professional soldier all his working life.

He was born in Tunbridge Wells in about 1871 and married Annie Ward between April and June 1897 at Elham in Kent. The family appear on the 1901 Census living in Kingstone, Kent. William is not mentioned and was, presumably, serving in South Africa with the Regiment. They now had a daughter, two year old Doris, who was born in Malta - presumably another posting for William.

After his service in the Boer War, for which he was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps (detailing the Battles or areas in which he fought) and the King's Medal with two clasps, he returned to the UK and was bandmaster with the 3rd Battalion at Carlisle. When he had completed his 9 years army service, the family moved to Stockport, living at 70 Naseby Road, Reddish. William found work as the commissionaire at the local engineering firm of Craven Brothers. In his spare time, he was a keen sportsman.

When War was declared in August 1914, William re-enlisted (he was probably recalled as a reservist) and, instead of going overseas on active service, he was made instructor to the newly created 6th Battalion. The Battalion trained at Belton Park, Grantham until it went on active service to Gallipoli on 30 September 1915. The men landed at the peninsula on 21 July and were heavily shelled as they did so. The Battalion's War Diary records that 50 shells landed in an area 100 yards by 50, but only 2 men were killed. They were in the front line until the 31st, when they were relieved to the nearby island of Imbros to rest and recuperate.

They returned on 7th August as part of a new series of landings intended to shore up the beleaguered garrison, and were soon in action again.  On the 9th, the Borders advanced for an a attack on Turkish positions at Ismail Oglu Tepe.  "C" and "D" Companies were in front with "A" (probably William's Company) and "B" following close behind. The advance went well for the first hour then they came under heavy fire from the enemy on high ground to their left. The Regimental History records "Every officer in "A" and "B" except one had been killed, but Sergeant Majors Vineall and Thompson brought forward the remnants of these companies and reinforced the firing line. The enemy machine gunfire was now very heavy and the firing line became divided into isolated groups" . The Borders' commanding officer now collected as many men as he could near Tordut Cheshme and held this line all day.

On the 21st, the Battalion, only 483 strong (full strength would be just under 1000), went into action near Scimitar Hill. "A" Company met strong fire near Chocolate Hill, whilst "C" and "D" Companies managed to secure their objectives.

William was one of the 56 men wounded in the attack. He will have received treatment from military surgeons at a Casualty Clearing Station at the beach-head and then been evacuated by hospital ship to Egypt where he died two months later.

William's various medals are held in the Regimental Collection at Carlisle Castle.

© 2006. Design and Layout are the property of Ihelm Enterprises Limited and cannot be reproduced without express permission.
Enter Search Phrase Here:(search may take up to 30 seconds) 
Close Search Window