Private John O'Connor


The background of this North Irish Horseman is not known at present, other than that he was born in St Nicholas, Galway, around 1876.

O'Connor registered for military service on 10 December 1915. He was aged 39 at the time, and was living at 6 Ramsbottom Lane, Ramsbottom, Lancashire, with his wife and daughter by an earlier marriage. Records variously suggest that he was a platelayer, a labourer, and employed in a chemical works.

O'Connor was called up on 7 May 1917 and posted to the 5th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry at Tidworth (No.36030). On 3 June he was transferred to the North Irish Horse (No.2503), reporting for duty at the regimental reserve depot at Antrim.

On 30 August he was transferred to the Royal Irish Rifles (No.20208), sailing for Egypt on 29 November, where he was posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion, joining the regiment in the field on 24 January 1918.

During 1918 O'Connor served in Egypt and Palestine, but spent some months ill and in hospital. On 25 September 1918 he was transferred to the Leinster Regiment (No.28191) and posted to the 1st Battalion (with effect from 15 May, the date the 6th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles had been disbanded). Four days later, however, he was admitted to hospital suffering from malaria.

Having been assessed as a skilled platelayer, on 15 November 1918 O'Connor was transferred to the Royal Engineers and posted to the Railway Operating Division (No. WR/291747) with the rank of sapper. On 5 July 1919 he embarked for the UK, where on 27 August he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.