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Express & Star, 8 Sep 1915

Express & Star, 8 Sep 1915

William O’Connell was born in 1874 in West Ashford (Kent), the son of sergeant-instructor Daniel O’Connell of Wednesbury, formerly of the West Kent Regiment.

William himself first served in the West Kent Regiment and during the Boer War he was in one of the Royal Garrison Regiments. His grandfather and brother were also in the West Kent Regiment and, according to an Express & Star article, “the family has an unbroken connection with that regiment for over a century.”

He married and had three sons, and the family moved to 6 Freeman Street, Heath Town. William served in the National Reserve under Colonel McBean, and “was specially selected as one of the instructors in the New Army.” As a member of the 7th Battalion in the South Staffordshire Regiment, he was killed on the 9 August 1915, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.