Unsolved Murders

Horace McNeil

Age: 47

Sex: male

Date: 19 May 1921

Place: 142 Bloemfontein Road, Shepherds Bush

Source: find.galegroup.com

Horace McNeil was shot in the stomach at his house in Shepherds Bush by four men that knocked on his door looking for his son-in-law who was a serving policeman in Ireland.

They shot him on 14 May 1921.

It was thought that the men who shot him were members of Sinn Fein.

Two men knocked at the door wearing big goggles with smeared glasses. When the door was opened they pulled out revolvers from their pockets and asked for Horace McNeil's son-in-law. Then two other men came in from the garden and Horace McNeil was shot in the abdomen in front of his wife, falling into her arms. Before he was shot Horace McNeil told the men that his son-in-law was not there and one of the men asked him 'Are you sure it is correct?' and Horace McNeil said 'Yes, it is all right.'. Two of the men then whipped out revolvers and one of them shot him.

The cause of death was stated as being shock.

There had been a number of outrages across London at the same time on the Saturday around midnight.

Horace McNeil had lived in shepherd's Bush.

Other areas targeted were Lewisham, Catford, Tooting, West Kensington and Blackheath. Most of the places targeted were connected with the Royal Irish Constabulary.

The first outrage took place at Stowe Road in Shepherd's Bush at about 10pm when 5 men knocked on the door and asked for an ex-member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. When they were told that he was not had home they produced a card that they said was a warrant for his arrest and forced their way in. They were then stopped by a man in the house in the front passage and then pointed a revolver at him and smashed bottles of paraffin on the floor and tried to set it alight and then left. However, the fire was soon put out. It was thought that this same group then went on to 142 Bloemfontein Road where they shot Horace McNeil.

At the same time in Tooting 3 men went to a property at Coverton Road and forced their way in and threw petrol about in various rooms and set it alight but again the fire was soon put out.

At the same time in West Kensington 7 men called at a home on Fairholme Road and forced their way in and searched all the rooms looking for a Captain. They also poured petrol over the furniture and set it alight before leaving. The fire was put out but not before significant damage was caused.

Two people were shot at an address in Catford on Wellmeadow Road, however, it was thought that the wrong address had been targeted because the occupants were not connected with Irish affairs in anyway. Just after 10pm 3 men knocked at the door wearing masks and rushed in. There was a scuffle and a husband and wife where both shot although not seriously. They then fled on bicycles. They left behind a bottle containing petrol, a revolver with two discharged rounds and a cap.

There was another incident in St. Albans where an ex-member of the Royal Irish Constabulary and his wife were both shot. At the time they were having dinner. 3 men called at 9.45pm and forced their way in and ordered the man to open a box. When he went down to open the box he was shot in the back of the head. After he fell he was hit over the head with the butt of a gun and then his wife was shot and hit over the head with a revolver. When the landlady came down to investigate she was gagged and tied up and then the 3 men fled in different directions and were soon lost in the crowds of the adjoining streets.

Horace McNeil was an engineer’s fireman and the father-in-law of an RIC transport driver.

At his inquest it was noted that it was difficult to get any information from anyone as people were afraid to give evidence and afraid that assassins would enter their houses and shoot them.

Before he died Horace McNeil said 'I tried to push the men out of the door, and one said 'I'll shoot'. The other man said 'No', and one man said 'Shoot low'. I saw four men altogether. I thought it was a drunken affair, nothing like this'.

It was thought that his address had been found out from a letter intercepted by the IRA in Ireland.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see "Unsolved Murders." Times [London, England] 28 Dec. 1922: 3. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.

see Hull Daily Mail - Saturday 21 May 1921

see Western Morning News - Monday 23 May 1921

see Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 16 May 1921

see Thetford & Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal. - Saturday 21 May 1921

see Leeds Mercury - Monday 23 May 1921