Algie’s boys were educated at Medbury Preparatory School and Christ’s College, Christchurch. The eldest, Patrick obtained a Governor-General’s nomination for Sandhurst and left New Zealand in 1935. His tennis and horsemanship gained him distinction, and when he graduated in 1937 he was gazetted to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, his father’s old regiment. He was studying for a French interpretership when, in October 1938, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and invalided to England from Malta. He returned to New Zealand the following year.
Algie’s only daughter Josephine married in December 1939 Warner Derrick Westenra (b. 1911), a New Zealand farmer. A daughter, Algie and Kitty’s first grandchild, was born to the couple in September 1940.
When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, Algie’s two middle boys joined up and served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Kenneth as a flight lieutenant in the North African campaign, and Gordon as a flying officer. Josephine’s husband also joined the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force as lieutenant of the 26th Canterbury and Otago Rifle Brigade.
The war years delivered two blows to the Neill family. Josephine’s husband was seriously injured in Libya in the Western Desert Campaign. He died from his wounds on 29 November 1941, leaving Josephine a widow at the age of 25. On 25 June 1943, Algie’s eldest son Patrick lost his struggle against tuberculosis and died on his father’s farm.
Josephine found new happiness in February 1945, when she married Derek John Parsonson. Her brothers Kenneth and Gordon returned to New Zealand after the war and followed their father into sheep farming. The youngest boy Alistair also took to farming and was the only one in the family never to marry.
Algie maintained contact with the Armstrong family until his death on 4 June 1962. His ashes were scattered on the family farm. His wife Kitty died in 1968.
Our thanks to Olwen Whitehouse for information.