John Neil McLeod - Cliffe History

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John Neil McLeod
15th August 1894 – 21st March 1918
John was born in Edinburgh and, in 1903, his family moved south to take up residence in Cliffe. His family consisted of William Norman (his father), Barbara Jessie (his mother) and ten children: five boys and five girls. After moving to Cliffe another boy was born into the family.

Prior to the start of the war John Neil McLeod enlisted into the regular army, the Seaforth Rangers, that was part of the British Expeditionary Force and during this period he rose to the rank of Corporal.

In 1916 John was shot through the neck and paralysed down the right side – he returned home to Cliffe. Within a year of his return his father was involved in a tragic road accident where he died and it is said that the shock of his father’s death caused an almost complete recovery of John’s injury.

John was sent to work at a munitions factory across the Thames in Essex. On one particular night there was a huge fire in the factory in Cliffe which could be seen across the Thames and John, fearing for his sisters’ safety, returned to Cliffe to help fight the fire.
The commanding Sergeant wasn’t so understanding and accused John of deserting his post without permission and promptly demoted him the Private and passed him fit to return to the Front!

Within a few weeks of his return to the front, whilst on sniper patrol, he went missing. His body was never recovered and his mother never gave up hope that John was still alive and would one day return home.
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