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Neil Turner, born in 1896, was the son of Alexander Turner of Islay and his wife Ann MacLeod, originally from Baile on the island of Berneray.
Neil was brought up on Berneray, under the guardianship of his uncle Allan MacLeod of Lamerick. He became a pupil at Berneray School in 1901, a contemporary and good friend of John Archie MacAskill, some of whose correspondence with Neil was later been published in the book An Ribheid Chiuil.
By the age of 15, Neil was already teaching in school, and in 1913 he was appointed a temporary teacher at Berneray School, later teaching in Grimsay, and later becoming headteacher of Drinishader School, Harris. He married Isabella MacKenzie, with whom he was to have six children. Neil was passed his uncle Allan's house at Lamerick, later passed onto Neil Campbell. Neil also owned 12a Backhill, which passed to his eldest son.