The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/McNeill, Major-General Sir John Carstairs

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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography by Philip Mennell
McNeill, Major-General Sir John Carstairs

McNeill, Major-General Sir John Carstairs, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., V.C., Equerry-in-Ordinary to the Queen, eldest son of the late Captain Alexander M'Neill, of Colonsay, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter and co-heiress of John Carstairs, and nephew of the late Lord Colonsay, was born on March 29th, 1831, and entered the army in 1850. He retired on half-pay as major in 1867, became colonel in 1872, and major-general in 1882. Sir John M'Neill has had a long and varied experience in active service. He served as A.D.C. to Sir Edward Lugard in the Indian Mutiny in 1858, being present at the siege and capture of Lucknow, and at the operations of the Azimghur field force, and was mentioned in despatches and received a medal with a clasp. In 1861 he went to New Zealand, and was A.D.C. to Sir Duncan Cameron during the Maori war till 1865. He took part in the actions at the Gate Pah, Rangiriri, Rangiaohia, and Nukumaru, receiving a medal and the Victoria Cross for his gallantry. In 1866-7 he was in command of the Tipperary Flying Column during the Fenian disturbance. From 1869 to 1872 he was military secretary to Lord Lisgar, Governor-General of Canada, and in 1870 was attached to the staff of the Red River Expedition. He was colonel on the staff, and second in command of the Ashantee Expedition in 1873-4; was present at the destruction of Essaman, where he was very severely wounded, and at Amquana, Akimfoo and Ampenee. Sir John MᶜNeill served through the Egyptian campaign of 1882, receiving a medal, a bronze star, and the second class Medjidie, as well as a K.C.B. He was brigadier-general in the Suakim Expedition in 1885, and commanded the force at Tofrik. In 1874 he was A.D.C. to H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief, and has been equerry to Her Majesty since 1874. In 1880 he accompanied Prince Leopold to Canada, and in 1882 the Duke of Connaught to Egypt. He is a J.P. and a D.L. for Argyleshire. Sir John was created C.M.G. in 1870, C.B. in 1878, K.C.M.G. in 1880, and K.C.B. in 1882.