McNEILL John Carstairs
Lieutenant Colonel, 107th Regiment (Bengal Infantry)
On 30 March 1864 near Ohaupo, New Zealand, Lieutenant Colonel John Carstairs McNEILL was proceeding to Te Awamutu on duty, with two privates when they saw a party of the enemy (Maori) in front. The colonel sent one of the privates back to bring up the infantry, but before help could arrive the officer and private were attacked by about 50 Maori. In trying to escape the private's horse fell, throwing its rider, and the colonel, seeing his plight, returned, caught the horse and helped the man to mount. Although the enemy were very close and firing sharply, by galloping hard they Grand Companion of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB) Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) Indian Mutiny Medal Lucknow Canada General Service Medal Tel-El-Kabir, Suakin 1885, Tufrek
Born 28 March 1831, Colonsay, Argyllshire, Scotland
Died 25 May 1904, St James' Palace, London, England
Buried at Oronsay Priory, Isle of Colonsay, Scotland
Date of Act of Bravery, 30.3.1864. Action at Ohaupo, New Zealand
For the valour and presence of mind which be displayed in New Zealand, on the 30th of March, 1864, which is thus described by Private Vosper, of the Colonial Defence Force.
Private VOSPER states that he was sent on that day with Private Gibson, of the same Force, as an escort to Major (now Lieutenant Colonel) McNEILL, Aide-de-Camp to Lieutenant-General Sir Duncan CAMERON. Lieutenant Colonel McNEILL was proceeding to Te Awamutu on duty at the time. On returning from that place, and about a mile on this side of Ohanpu, this Officer, having seen a body of the enemy in front, sent Private GIBSON back to bring up Infantry from Ohanpu, and he and Private Vosper proceeded leisurely to the top of a rise to watch the enemy. Suddenly they were attacked by about 50 natives, who were concealed in the fern close at hand. Their only chance of escape was by riding for their lives, and as they turned to gallop, Private VOSPER’s horse fell and threw him. The natives thereupon rushed forward to seize him, but Lieutenant-Colonel McNEILL, on perceiving that Private VOSPER was not following him, returned, caught his horse, and helped him to mount. The natives were firing sharply at them, and were near that, according to Private Vosper’s statement, it was only by galloping as hard as they could that they escaped. He says that he owes his life entirely to Lieutenant-Colonel McNEILL’s assistance, for he could not have caught his horse alone, and in a few minutes must have been killed.