Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In memory of Hugh O'Brien

My Great Uncle Hugh O'Brien of 9th Battalion Australian Imperial Force was killed in action 23 July 1916.  He is remembered with honour on the Villers Bretonneux Memorial in France.

His WW1 file is available on the National Archives of Australia website.

Hugh arrived in Brisbane, Australia from Ireland in January 1912 with his sister Bridget.  He then nominated his father Hugh, brother Richard and sisters Ellen & Maria who arrived in Brisbane, Australia in December 1913.  At the time Hugh was working for the Woodford & Kilcoy Railway.

Hugh enlisted 7 October 1915.  He embarked from Brisbane on the HMAT Kyarra on 3 January 1916.  Passing through Colombo, Alexandria & Marseilles he joined the 9th Battalion in France in May 1916.  He was killed within 2 months.  From the 3rd Brigade Diary available on the Australian War Memorial website we learn a total of 15 officers and 348 other ranks from the 9th Battalion were killed, wounded or missing between 19 July and 26 July 1916 in fighting near Pozieres.

Following Hugh's death his father Hugh & his sister Maria (my grandmother) received a pension.  I understand he had been supporting them prior to his death. 

Hugh's Victory Medal was received by his brother John O'Brien in 1923.  With the death of my great grandfather Hugh O'Brien in 1922 the medal needed to be claimed by Hugh's eldest brother John who was residing in the USA even though there were 3 sisters and a brother in Australia at that time.

Sadly we do not have any photos of Hugh O'Brien.

Lest we Forget


  1. Hi Allison,
    I see from his file he was just 23 years old. So sad, all those lives not lived.
    Thanks for posting.

  2. Alison are you aware that "the queen slander" newspaper had passport sized photos of most of the WW1 Diggers fm Qld? John Oxley Lib at Qld Lib at south bank has an index to most/al of them. Theynare linked to their regiment and the reinforcements number they were part of (can find that on the enlistment papers). Worth a try as you may find his picture...fingers crossed!

  3. Alison, Sorry about the typo- Should have been "the Queenslander" a weekly newspaper.