O’Connor, James

James O’Connor, Private 291025, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 26th March 1917 in Palestine, aged 42

 

EARLY LIFE

James O’Connor was born on 6 December 1875 and baptised at St Alban’s Church on 16 January 1876, the son of Catherine (nee Forkin) and Bernard O’Connor, a fishmonger of 16 Nixon’s Yard, Macclesfield. The family name was mistakenly entered in the baptism register as Connor.

More information will be added here when research is complete.

 

WW1 SERVICE

James was reported missing in the Macclesfield Times dated 27 April 1917:

PRIVATE JAMES O’CONNOR – Cheshire Regt (T) has been missing since the engagement at Gaza on March 26th. A single man, 42 years of age, he lived before the war with his sister, Mrs Bradshaw, Paradise St, Macclesfield, and was in business in the town as a fishmonger. He was educated at St Alban’s School and attended the Catholic Church. Private O’Connor joined the Territorials in February, 1915 and was transferred to the second line at Bedford, from where he went out with a draft to Egypt some time ago. He did not go to the Dardanelles.

His brother, Private John O’Connor, who was also in the fish trade, was wounded in the thigh in France last July. Since then he has been in various hospitals in England and is now stationed with the Cheshires at Birkenhead. He expects to go out on foreign service again soon.

After a considerable amount of time, James was assumed to have died during the Gaza battle, and this news was printed in the Macclesfield Times on 23 August 1918:

Mr Jack O’Connor, 16 King Edward St, Macclesfield, has been notified that [his brother] Pte James O’Connor, who has been officially reported missing since the Gaza battle on March 26th, 1917, is presumed to have died on that date or since, no further news having been received… A single man, 43 years of age, Pte O’Connor lived before the war with a sister in Paradise Street, and was in business as a fishmonger. He was educated at St Alban’s School and attended the Catholic Church. Pte O’Connor joined the local Territorials in February 1915 and was transferred to the second line at Bedford, from which place he went out on a draft to Egypt…

 

COMMEMORATION

Private James O’Connor has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 19 of the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private James O’Connor,  and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Private James O’Connor is commemorated on the Park Green, Town HallSt Michael’s Church and St Alban’s Church war memorials.

 

NOTES

Brother of John O’Connor, who also served with the Cheshire Regt and survived the war.

 

SOURCES

Family History Society of Cheshire, Macclesfield Group: Catholics in Macclesfield CD – Baptism transcriptions
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Lives of the First World War website
Macclesfield Times: 27 April 1917, 23 August 1918, 30 September 1921


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