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Thomas Alexander Neilson was born in Glasgow on the 28th August 1881, one of three children of Jemima Neilson (née Hutchison) and James Neilson, a tobacconist. Neilson attended The Glasgow School of Art from 1907 to 1912 as a part time student of drawing and painting whilst working as a shipping clerk. In 1911, aged 30, a Thomas Neilson is recorded as living in Sandyford with his brother, sister and aunt. During the First World War, Neilson served as a Lieutenant in The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 9th battalion. This battalion formed in Hamilton in August 1914 and landed in Boulogne on the 12th of May 1915. On the 23rd of March 1918, during the first battles of the Somme in 1918, he was held as a prisoner of war but was returned on the 29th of November the same year, after the war had ended. Not much is known of Neilson after the war. Neilson is commemorated on The Glasgow School of Art's First World War Roll of Honour.
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Sources: Scotland's People: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/; Ancestry: http://www.ancestry.co.uk; The National Archives: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/; Lives of the First World War: https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3218224; The Long, Long Trail: http://www.1914-1918.net/scotrif.htm; http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/battles/battles-of-the-western-front-in-france-and-flanders/