Killed in action [July 20, 1943] in the South Pacific, Lieutenant William Kent Neill, 24, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Neill, 301 G Street, is one of the Bakersfield heroes who joined the Marine Raider fighting unit at his own urgent request. His death was announced to his parents here in a telegram from Marine Headquarters at Arlington, Va., and said “interment was at the scene of action.”
Brilliant as a student, Lieutenant Neill was graduated from Bakersfield schools, Bakersfield High School and Junior College, later obtaining his bachelor of arts degree in 1939 from the University of California, and his bachelor of laws degree from school of law at the university in 1942. Although he was born in Arizona, Lieutenant Neill was reared in Bakersfield except for his years at the university.
During student days here, Lieutenant Neill was a talented musician and was cellist with student music groups as well as appearing as soloist.
He enlisted in the Marines in March, 1942, and was graduated from the candidate’s class for admission at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Va. He received instruction as a platoon leader, preparatory to leading Marine combat units in the field and it is believed that it was in this line of duty he was killed. Before going overseas, he was attached to the headquarters staff as an intelligence officer at the San Diego Marine Base. He was moved out with a staff to a Pacific base in October, 1942.
The young war hero is survived by his parents, and by a sister, Miss Cecelia Ruth Neill, of Berkeley. The family has long been prominent in business and social life of Bakersfield. Mr. Neill is a public accountant here.