Their Stories II
Further notable Govanites on Roll of Honour
Private Lawrence Nealis
A shipyard labourer, born 20 June 1898 at 113 Brighton Street, Govan. Prefiguring Frederick Forsyth and a key plotting device from The Day Of The Jackal by nearly 60 years, Lawrence was 15 when he enlisted with the 3rd Royal Scots Fusiliers (Special Reserves) in 1913, but claimed to be 18, using as “proof” the birth certificate of an elder brother, also called Lawrence, who had died in infancy. He later became a regular soldier, still aged 15, with the 2nd Battalion of The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. Having already been wounded in the hand at 16, Lawrence was filling water bottles when he was shot and killed by a German sniper, five days after his 17th birthday. The Evening Times reporting on his death in July 1915 maintained that he “was only 20 years of age”. Lawrence is buried at Ration Farm Military Cemetery, La Chapelle-D’Armentieres in northern France close to the Belgian border. In 2015 the Govan Reminiscence Group purchased Lawrence’s medals to bring them back to Govan, the medals are now on display. Click here for More on Lawrence
Second Lieutenant John Kennedy
A teacher at Govan High School, John was born on 1 July 1887, the son of a cabinet maker and grew up at 14 George Drive, Govan. After attending Glasgow University and the Glasgow Provincial Training College (an early version of Teacher Training College), John became a staff member at Govan High School. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in early 1917 but was listed as missing at Monchy le Preux on the Western Front, while attached to the 7th Battalion of the Border Regiment after only three months of service. He was 29 years old.
Private Bernard Connolly
Born in Govan in 1894, Bernard was well-known and well-liked figure associated with St Anthony’s Church and School and an employee of the Glasgow & South Western Railway. He joined up with the 10th Cameronians (|Scottish Rifles) but was wounded and subsequently died of his wounds aged 21 on 29th September 1915.
Lieutenant James McGregor Hill
The son of a ship-plater was born on 31st August 1889 at Lansdowne Cottage in Govan, James’ early years were spent at the family home at 252 Langlands Road. He attended Fairfield Public School, later serving there as a Pupil Teacher, then attended Glasgow University and the Glasgow Provincial Training College, becoming a teacher at East Walker School in Newcastle in 1913. He gained his commission in the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers shortly after the outbreak of war and fought on the Macedonian/Salonika Front (in the Struma Offensive). He died of his wounds on 10 November 1916 aged 27 and is buried in a single grave in the Mikra British Cemetery at Kalamaria, near Thessaloniki, in Greece.