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Tracing Your Roots To Gallipoli

Remembering some of the Bolton men who lost their lives in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915

John Joseph O'Brien

John Joseph O'BrienFarnworth Weekly Guardian 15 June 1915


Mrs. O'Brien, of 86, Crompton-st, Farnworth, learns that her husband, Pte. John Joseph O'Brien, of the Dublin Fusiliers, has died from wounds received in action in the Dardanelles. Writing to Mrs. O'Brien from the Military Hospital, The Citadel, Cairo, Sister M. Howell says "You will have heard, before receiving my letter, the sad news of your husband's death, but I thought you would like to hear a little more about him. I am enclosing a letter I found written to you and I am sure you will be pleased to receive it. Your husband was badly wounded with a piece of shrapnel and his leg was so badly crushed up that it had to be amputated below the knee. I cannot give you the date of his injury but he was brought here on June 9th. His leg was in a very bad condition and he himself very weak. The next day he was much worse and gangrene, generally known as mortification, set in. The doctors and sisters and all did their best but it was beyond our power and he died on June 11th** at 10-5 p.m. It will comfort you to know that the priest saw him before he died. May God comfort you and your children in your sad loss. Your husband has given his life for his home and country like so many more of our brave men. This war is so terrible." Private O'Brien had evidently intended to explain how he met with his wound, but his letter to his wife was unfinished. He says "I am in a poor condition for I am slightly wounded in the leg, but you must keep your heart up. I shall not be long before I am at home with you and the children. I had not long been in the trenches when I got done(?) and we lost heavily. I was one of the lucky ones. I got hit with shrapnel -" He had four other brothers serving their country: Pte. Owen O'Brien, Shropshire Light Infantry, who is at the front, Pte. Lewis* O'Brien, Lancashire Fusiliers, in training at Conway, Pte. Wm. O'Brien of the Inniskilling Fusiliers in France, and Pte James O'Brien of the South Lancashire Regiment, in training at Fulton, near Liverpool. Pte O'Brien has also two sons-in-law in the Army - Pte Wm. Mather, of the L.N.L., at Aldershot, Pte. J. Grimbley of the Lancashire Fusiliers, training in Yorkshire and a brother Pte. Joseph O'Brien of the Duke of Wellington's Own Regiment, in training at Halifax. There are also about 11 other relations serving.

John was the son of Louis (or Lewis*) O'Brien b.1858, a plumber, and Mary O'Brien née Cahill b.1861.

He first appeared on the 1891 Census living at 21 Park Place, Hulme, Manchester with his parents and siblings Florence b.1883, Owen b.1884, Louis* b.1885 and Mary B b.1890. John was working as a doffer in a cotton mill.

By 1901 he was living at 68 Crompton Street, Farnworth with his parents and siblings Agnes b.1883, Florence, Owen, Louis*, Mary B, William b.1891, Gertrude, b.1896, James b.1897, Annie b.1899 and Norah b.1901.

John married Alice Dudley at St James's Church, New Bury, Farnworth on 13 February 1909.

In 1911 the couple were living at 35 Stone Hill, Buckley Lane, Farnworth with their daughters Alice b.1909 and Maggie May b.1901. John was working as a collier / hewer.

A son, Albert, was born in 1913.

John's name is on Farnworth War Memorial.

*Louis and Lewis are both used.

** CWGC gives 10 June as date of death.


Name O'Brien, John Joseph
Rank Private
Number 16100
Unit 1st Bn
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
Born Hulme, Manchester
Enlisted Farnworth, Lancashire
Died Military Hospital,
Cairo, Egypt
10 June 1915
Age 26
Grave or Memorial Cairo War Memorial Cemetery,
Royal Dublin Fusiliers