Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: William Joseph “Bill” Neil (1921-2021)

Community activist.

Born in Winnipeg on 17 July 1921, he attended St. Joseph's Roman Catholic School and St. John's High School. During the Second World War, he served in the Canadian Armed Forces, achieving the rank of Sergeant as a wireless operator with the 8th Reconnaissance Division. Following training in England, he landed in Normandy in June 1944. He lost his left arm in August 1944 and returned to Canada where he convalesced at the Deer Lodge Hospital. He later returned to school and was employed by the Prosthetic Services Department at the hospital, later serving as Regional Superintendent until retirement.

He was an active member of the Manitoba Branch of the War Amputations of Canada, serving as its President. He was also Manitoba National Director, Vice-President, and President of the War Amps National Council. He was instrumental in restoring 4800 gravesites in the Field of Honour at Brookside Cemetery and assisted in the formation of the Child Amputee Program in 1975.

On 21 June 1947, he married Josephine “Jo” Schan (1924-2013) and they had two daughters and two sons. In recognition of his community service, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).

He died at Winnipeg on 3 October 2021.


Obituary [Josephine Theresa Neil], Winnipeg Free Press, 27 November 2013.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 9 October 2021.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 9 October 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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