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James Vincent (Jim) McNeill (1900–1976)

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James McNeill, n.d.

James McNeill, n.d.

ANU Archives, 1885/733712958

James Vincent (Jim) McNeill (1900-1976) iron worker, volunteer anti-Fascist fighter in Spanish Civil War

Birth: 8 January 1900 in Women’s Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, son of James Vincent McNeill, a dealer, born in Antrim, Ireland, and Sydney-born Mary Esther Hughes. Marriage: about 1942 at Dumfries, Scotland, to Mabel Kendall. They had one daughter, born in Scotland. Death: 10 July 1976 in Repatriation Hospital at Concord, Sydney. 

  • His family lived at Redfern, Sydney, in his childhood.
  • Educated at the Christian Brothers’ College, Balmain, Sydney. Worked in a Balmain factory and became a trade unionist.
  • Having served four years in the Cadets, he was a labourer when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 11 November 1918. Discharged on 3 March 1919.
  • Joined Industrial Workers of the World, Adelaide, in 1928. Later became a member of the Corrimal branch of the Communist Party of Australia. Worked as an ironworker at Port Kembla, New South Wales, and joined the Ironworkers union.
  • Left Sydney to enlist in the International brigade by smuggling himself aboard a ship to join other Australians fighting in Spain in 1936. His letters home from the front were regularly published in various newspapers. He was twice wounded.
  • Returned to Australia on 7 February 1939. On 5 November that year, at Wollongong, NSW, he enlisted in the 2nd AIF, to continue fighting against fascism in WWII.
  • After the war he went rabbit shooting, gold prospecting and timber cutting; was a member of the Australian Workers’ Union and continued as a Communist. Sold the Tribune each week on the streets of Guildford for many years until about 1974.
  • In 1963 travelled to Soviet Union for medical treatment.
  • Retired from work about 1966. Cause of death broncho pneumonia, leaking aortic aneurysm, acute renal failure and chronic lymphatic leukaemia.

(Sydney), 21 July 1976, p 11; Jim Moss Sound of trumpets: history of the labour movement in South Australia (Cowandilla, 1985) pp 326-327; Amirah Inglis, Australians in the Spanish Civil War (Sydney 1987).

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'McNeill, James Vincent (Jim) (1900–1976)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

James McNeill, n.d.

James McNeill, n.d.

ANU Archives, 1885/733712958

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • McNeil, James Vincent

8 January, 1900
South Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


10 July, 1976 (aged 76)
Concord, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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