Private John O'Prey


John O'Prey on the right. The other man is his cousin William O'Prey.


John (Jack) O'Prey was born on 9 July 1895 in Castle Street, Comber, County Down, the first of three children of flax-mill worker David O'Prey (or Aprey) and his wife Mary (formerly Bennett, née McRoberts). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Castle Street with his parents and siblings, and employed as a flax-mill worker.

O'Prey enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 18 or 19 November 1915 (No.1920 – later Corps of Hussars No.71636). (His cousin William O'Prey had joined the regiment a week earlier.) He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

O'Prey remained with the regiment throughout the war. On 5 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war O'Prey returned to Comber and worked as a flax dresser. On 26 December 1923 he married Rebecca Kirk in the First Comber Presbyterian Church. He died at his home, 51 Railway Street Comber, on 14 October 1970 and was buried in the Comber New Cemetery.


Comber Unitarian Church Roll of Honour


Andrews Mill Roll of Honour


I am grateful to Dawn Corken for providing the image of John O'Prey. Unitarian Church Roll of Honour image sourced from The War Dead of North Down and Ards Project. Andrews Mill Roll of Honour image sourced from Imperial War Museum © WMR-82364.