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    Looking information/photo of Ltn-Col. James Agnew McNeale

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    Hi all,

    I just bought another medal for my humble collection and I desperately would like to find a copy of owners photo. Also any extra information about him and his service would be greatly appreciated. Especially any extra information from the Afghanistan campaign.

    So far I have information below:

    James Agnew McNeale (27th December 1843 – 13th August 1901)

    Lieutenant Colonel

    Commandant of 8th Bengal Cavalry


    James Agnew McNeale was born in Belfast in 1843, the son of John McNeale of Parkmount, Rush Park, Co. Antrim.


    In young age James studied in the Berkeley Villa School in Cheltenham, England. The school gave him a very good testimonial of his characteristics. Also he studied a period of time in W.Fraderick 2 Rue de Calais du Roule, Paris, France.


    He received a nomination for the Royal Indian Military College (Addiscombe Military Seminary) on 28th May 1860. It cost about £300 to put a young gentleman through the course. As usual with 19th century educational institutions, the pupils led a tough existence, which might have helped them to cope with the hard career path they had chosen in India. They also learned Indian languages which were essential if they were to successfully command native infantry, cavalry and engineer units. The college closed in 1861 so he must been one of the last ones who studied in there.


    After one year of study he was appointed as an Ensign in the Bengal Infantry on 8th June 1861. In following year he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant 30th July 1862.


    Following promotion took place after 8 years when he received a rank of Captain on the 9th May 1870, also he became a Third Squadron Commander, 8th Regiment, Bengal Cavalry (Formerly 18th Irregular Cavalry).


    James must been regularly visiting home because he played cricket for Ireland in a crushing defeat by the MCC in 1871 at College Park, Dublin.


    On the 13th February 1873 James got married with Amelia Lucy Luard in Meerut. She was a daughter of Colonel Peter William Luard, 55th Native infantry. Luard served with the Army of the Sutlej in 1846.  Commanded the 17th Punjab Infantry after the Mutiny of the 55th Native Infantry, with the Saugor Field Brigade under Brigadier Wheeler in 1859.


    A year later, 7th January 1874 their daughter Emily Ida McNeale was born at Meerut, India. She lived in India all of her young age, until moved back to England with her mother in 1906.  


    Following year newspaper “The Homeward Mail” lists that on 11 May 1875 a son John Hugh McNeale was born to them as well at Peshawur, North-West Province. United Kingdom 1881 Census shows that he was visiting Cheltenham with Mother and sister. Father, James Agnew McNeale, remains in India. He studied in Clifton Collage 1889-90. John joined with India Police Department 21st October 1895 and was posted as Assistant District Superintendent., Central Provost and promoted to District Superintendent June 1903. He retired September 1924. John moved back to England and he dies in Cheltenham 1956.


    When the Second Anglo – Afghan war started then Captain McNeale was sent to there. 8th Bengal Cavalry was attached under Kandahar Field Force, 1st Division, Cavalry Brigade under command of Brigadier General Walter Frane. Kandahar Field Force had one of the most difficult and daunting task to clear and pass the valleys up to the city of Kandahar. When the Peshawar and Kurram Field Forces were able support each other and indeed eventually met up then the Kandahar Field Force was virtually cut off from the rest of the campaign and had to support itself autonomously for the entire course of the campaign.


    This column did not face the same kind of large scale resistance as the other two columns did, but suffered from a potentially far more paralysing problem for the force; supply. The Kandahar Field Force animals were dying in their hundreds and thousands in the difficult terrain and with the worsening weather conditions. Added to this, was the fact that the local tribes were quite happy to prey on any group of carts that did not look sufficiently well defended.

    Despite all the problems, on the 8th January 1879 Kandahar Field Force enters into the city.

    James got promoted again on 8th June 1881 when he became a Major. He was still holding a position as a Squadron Commander, 8th Bengal Cavalry. Finally he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and he held a position of Commandant in the 8th Bengal Cavalry on 8th June 1887.

    At that time service in India was uneventful. June 1894 8th Bengal Cavalry paraded under command of Colonel McNeale for Queen-Empress seventy-fifth birthday at Allahabad, a city in Uttar Pradesh state, north India. A salute of thirty-one guns and the feux-de-joie being fired, after which the flag was saluted and three cheers were given for her Majesty.


    Lieutenant Colonel McNeale retired in 1898 after 38 years of service with the colours.


    Sadly he wasn’t able to enjoy his well-earned retirement long because James McNeale died only aged 57, in India on 13th August 1901 and he is buried in Gulmarg. His headstone inscription reads "In loving memory of Col. James Agnew McNeale, Genl. List Infantry, Late of the 8th Bengal Lancers, who died at Gulmarg August 13th, 1901. Aged 57 years." Widow, Amelia and daughter Emily, proceed to England on February 1906. She lived with their daughter in Gloucester and passed away 1929.

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