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Full Name: Thomas Mervyn O'Neil
Rank Last Held: Gunner
Forename(s): Thomas Mervyn
Surname: O'Neil
Also Known As: O'Neill
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Serial No.: 204264
Date of Birth: 16 February 1930
Place of Birth: Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation before Enlistment: Builder's Labourer
Enlistment Address: Auckland, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: Kayforce
Military Awards: New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM)
Last Unit Served: Royal New Zealand Artillery, 16 Field Regiment
Place of Death: Korea
Date of Death: 13 September 1952
Age at Death: 22
Year of Death: 1952
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Cemetery Name: Busan Commonwealth Cemetery, Korea
Memorial Name: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo.
Biographical Notes:
  • Served with Kayforce 1952
  • "The regiment's worst experience of shelling occured on 13th September 1952, when at least fifty enemy guns worked over the 28 Brigade area for two hours. Some of the 700 incoming shells fell on E Troop, wounding two gunners, R.H. Mortimer and William Lavery. Gunner T.M. O'Neill was killed by another shell as he went to get a stretcher, and Mortimer succumbed to his wounds next day." (McGibbon 1996, vol. 2, p. 241)
  • "Gunner T. O'Neil [sic], of New Lynn, Auckland, who was reported killed in action on Saturday, lost his life while fetching a stretcher for a badly wounded comrade. The man he was trying to help, Gunner R.H. Mortimer, of Bluff, died of wounds yesterday. A third man, Gunner W. Lavery, of Napier, was wounded in the leg during the same enemy shelling. All three were serving in Korea with the 16th New Zealand Field Regiment. A memorial service for Gunner O'Neil [sic] was held in his troop area by the senior chaplain with K-Force, the Rev. R.H. McKenzie, says an Army Information Service report. Gunner O'Neil [sic] had been flash spotting with Commonwealth infantry for some three weeks, and was brought back to his troop only a few days ago for a well-earned rest." (NZ Herald, 17 September 1952, p. 8)
  • Gunner O'Neil's sister, Mrs Colleen Forgesson of Auckland, received the New Zealand Operational Service Medal on his behalf from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence at a presentation at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday 27 November 2003
Description of Image:
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo (taken in April 1999).
  • Hall of Memories WW2, Auckland War Memorial Museum, looking East (taken in April 1999)
Further References:
  • Ian McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War, Volume II: Combat Operations, Oxford University Press, Auckland, 1996, pp. 241, 371, 409.
  • New Zealand in the Korean War. NZHistory online. URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/korean-war
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