Neil enlisted on 29 Jan 1941 and was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “S.S. ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Private in Headquarters Section of “B” Platoon. He was a member of the defence of Dili Airstrip during the first contact with the Japanese.
He was Mentioned in Despatches, for Gallant and Distinguished Service, London Gazette, 25 May 1943 and in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, No 119-3 Jun 1943. These are the two Gazettes for the Timor Campaign.
After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on 16 Dec 1942. After medical treatment, Neil embarked for New Guinea aboard "KATOOMBA" on 22 Nov 1943 and re-joined the 2/2nd on 28 Nov 1943. He transferred to 12th Australian Small Ships Company, Royal Australian Engineers, on 25 Jul 1944 and was promoted Acting Corporal on 11 Nov 1944, Sergeant on 5 Dec 1944 and Warrant Officer Class 2 on 23 Jan 1945.
He returned to Australia aboard "DUNTROON" on 19 Feb 1945 and was discharged on 20 Mar 1946.