David Michael O’Brien was born in 1894 at Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland.
His parents were John & Mary Anne (nee Sloane d 1917).
David had 2 brothers and 10 sisters. He did not marry.
He possibly arrived in Sydney aboard the Waimana in Feb 1912.
David enlisted on 17 May 1916.
He stated occupation as labourer and address as Burton Street, Concord.
He was tall being 5ft 10in (178cm) tall; weighed 150lb (68kg); chest 33-36in (84-91cm). He had no distinguishing marks; a fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair; and was a Roman Catholic.
He named his mother as his next of kin but after her death in Mar 1917 amended that to his father.
He was assigned Service Number 6549 and attached to 21st Reinforcements for the 1st Battalion which was part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Division.
War Service: Western Front
David and the 21st Reinforcements departed Sydney on HMAT Ceramic on 7 Oct 1916 for England, arriving at Plymouth on 21 Nov. His original posting was to the Training Battalion in Wiltshire.
David’s mother died in Mar 1917 and he was granted leave to attend her funeral in Ireland.
After 4 months’ training David proceeded to France on 10 Apr 1917 and after 3 weeks of final training and familiarisation joined 1st Battalion on 2 May near Bullecourt.
On the morning of 3 May units of the 2nd Division commenced to attack in what was the Second Battle of Bullecourt.
1st Battalion joined the battle late on 3 May. They were heavily involved in defending captured trenches from counter attack. This period saw some of the heaviest fighting of the war for the Battalion. They suffered 49 killed, 240 wounded, & 29 missing.
He was buried by his comrades adjacent to the trench with a short service from one who had been a theological student. A small cross was erected but the grave location was subsequently lost. He is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.
There were no newspaper Family Notices.
David’s father John was his next of kin and sole beneficiary in his will. He received a pension of 25 shillings per fortnight.
There was also a death benefit from the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society. David’s brother Henry, who lived in Majors Bay Road Concord and likely also worked at the Gasworks, was involved in winding up David’s local estate.
In Jul 1917 his father received his personal effects from official channels. His comrades had directly sent the possessions they had.
David is also commemorated on the memorial in Queen Elizabeth Park, Concord.