BORN HULL 1898. SON OF JAMES & EMMA O’NEAL, OF 17 CHEAPSIDE, WILMINGTON, HULL. HE WORKED AT SANDERSON’S PAINT WORKS, ENGLISH STREET, HULL.
HE ENLISTED IN THE HULL PALS, AGED 17. SERVED WITH THE 13TH EAST YORKSHIRE REGIMENT, IN EGYPT AND FRANCE. HE WAS A SIGNALLER AND HAD A GOOD REPUTATION WITH HIS REGIMENT. KILLED IN ACTION AT OPPY WOOD, ON 03/05/1917, AGED 19. HE WAS TRYING TO TAKE THE WOUNDED BACK TO THE TRENCHES AFTER THE ATTACK.
UNMARRIED. HIS ARMY EFFECTS WERE LEFT TO HIS FATHER JAMES. HIS NAME IS RECORDED ON THE HULL BOYS CLUB MEMORIAL, ROPER STREET. HIS COUSINS JOHN & HAROLD PERRY ALSO FELL. (NOTE: BERNARD & THOMAS O’NEAL – 24 GARDEN STREET, HULL)
The attack on Oppy Wood, part of the Battle of Arras, was a significant battle for the East Yorkshire Regiment and particularly for the city of Hull. All four Hull Pals battalions were involved on 3 May and all suffered heavy casualties, with 40% of those present killed or injured. 2nd Lieutenant Jack Harrison, a local teacher and rugby player with Hull FC, won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in rushing a machine gun position to protect his platoon. His body was never found.The village of Oppy in France had been in German hands since October 1914 and was part of a formidable defensive system including trenches, dug-outs and thick barbed wire defences. During the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917, the British tried to take Oppy. The first attack was a failure. A second attack was partially successful. The third attack on 3 May, known officially as the Third Battle of the Scarpe, was again unsuccessful with significant loss of life. The troops were ordered to attack at 3.45am, rather than at dawn, and the defending Germans could easily see the line of British soldiers clearly lit by the full moon. The British continued to attack Oppy and were finally successful the following year. The City of Hull Memorial at Oppy was unveiled in 1927 and commemorates the men of the Hull Pals who were killed on 3 and 4 May 1917.