3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Neil was born on 11th June 1964 in Stanbridge, a small village near Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. His parents, David and Ann, also had one other son, Mark, born in 1962 and a daughter, Debbie, born in 1968. Mark also served in the Army, the Royal Hampshire Regiment for 9 years and Neil's father, David, was a Mayor in the Medical Core of the Territorial Army.
The family moved back to the West Country in 1966. Neil started his school years at West Monkton Infant School, along with his brother. He became a member of the club scouts and enjoyed outdoor activities. In 1972, the family moved to Hampshire where Neil attended Leesland Junior School, followed by St. Vincent Senior School. Neil was very interested in all sports and followed Leeds United Football Club, he was particularly good at running and eventually threw javelin for Hampshire, fishing also became another hobby he thoroughly enjoyed. By the age of 13, Neil decided he wanted to become a gamekeeper, he loved animals and all outdoor pursuits but unfortunately, despite all his efforts trying to follow his chosen career, he was always told that gamekeepers are born, not made.
As Neil's brother, Mark joined the army on leaving school, Neil followed in his footsteps and set off for Aldershot in 1980, we were never quite sure if he had chosen the Parachute Regiment or if they had chosen him. Neil went on to become a Junior Sergeant and Junior Platoon Commander for 3 PARA where is was quoted on his reports "Excellent material for the Parachute Regiment, exceptionally well disciplined, leads by example, the mark of a good soldier and always in command of the situation".
In April 1982, Neil along with his fellow comrades joined the SS Canberra and sailed for the South Atlantic. Six weeks later they arrived on the Falkland Islands and proceeded to march over forty miles in difficult conditions to reach Mount Longdon where one of the bloodiest battles was fought. Neil died on June 12th, 1 day after his 18th birthday.
In Neil's honour, St. Vincent School planted a tree with a plaque and a photograph was hung in his classroom and a seat was also dedicated in his memory at the Falkland Gardens in Gosport. Nearly 20 years have passed and Neil has a larger family now who are exceptionally proud of him yet never met him, including his nephew Lewis, and niece Tansy.
There isn't a day which passes where Neil isn't remembered and he will always be a large part of our lives. Neil is desperately missed and loved by all who knew him and he will never be forgotten.