• William Denis O'Brien

Army / Flying Corps
  • 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 7th Brigade
  • Corporal

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  • Enlistment - WW1

    Lismore, NSW, Australia

  • Birth

    London, England

Stories and comments
    • The Men of "A" Company, 26th Battalion
    • Posted by jaydsydaus121, Tuesday, 28 January 2020

    Taken as part of my project cycling to each and every grave and cemetery (of both sides) in Gallipoli and along the Western Front of France & Belgium. I am also photographing 36,525 headstones of fallen ANZAC Soldiers and uploading them to this site, to commemorate their service and sacrifice. This photograph was taken just prior to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Villers-Brettoneux Australian National Memorial. #945 of 36,525 www.facebook.com/36525days Their Name Liveth For Evermore http://TrackMyTour.com/sxpWB Mic Whitty @JeSuisCatweazle

    • The Men of "A" Company, 26th Battalion
    • Posted by jaydsydaus121, Saturday, 1 February 2020

    Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1961) Fri 29 Oct 1915 Page 6 SOLDIERS' LETTERS. Mr. Arthur Shimmels has received letters from two of the Scheyville recruits, both of whom were in Egypt at the time of writing. They are Private R. N. Bradshaw and Private W. D. O'Brien, and we give the following extracts from their letters : From Private W. D. O'Brien, A Coy., 26th Battalion 7th Infantry Brigade, Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt:— No city in the world abounds with objects of such world-wide fame as Cairo. My visits to the Pyramids and the Sphinx will always be fresh in my memory, for one of the greatest wishes of my life has been fulfilled. I examined and questioned and the guide must have thought me a particularly inquisitive individual. Hiring camels for the occasion, we made our way to the base of Cheops, or the Pyramid of Geezeh, the largest. There are nine altogether. After viewing the interior and climbing the exterior, we wended our way to the Sphinx. Meanwhile being on very high ground, we had magnificent views of the surrounding country. Far, far in the distance could be seen the six small Pyramids of Sakarah, the ancient ruined city of Memphis, and the yellow sands of boundless desert, while to the right as far as the eye could reach stretched the fertile lands of the beginning of the Nile delta, with the silvery Nile running its zig-zag course through it. Truly, such moments are well worth living. Descending here, we critically examined the animal -bodied and woman -faced Sphinx. I remarked that the nose seemed the worse for wear, but the guide informed us that when Napolean was over with his armies he attempted to build a pyramid nearby, but failed miserably, and being annoyed, he trained his guns on the Sphinx with the resultant broken nasal organ for the worthy Sphinx. We descended then to the Temple of the Sphinx. Huge blocks of granite composed this temple, which is all below the level of the top sand. The stones used in its construction are immense, one in particular. I measured it. It is oblong, being 20 feet by 6 feet of solid stone. Here we visited numerous tombs of roer alabaster, showing a fleshy pink colour when a light is placed at the back of it. We then visited the tombs of Rammuses II. They are hewn out of solid rock. All the mummies have been removed. The pyramids were previously covered with a cement like substance, which rendered them smooth and un-climbable; but a previous Sultan Hassan removed that layer from some of them and built himself a tomb out of the material. This is one of the sights of Cairo. The next trip I had was in and around Cairo. We left Heliopolis in the electric tram at San Stephano. We drove round the city, and visited Old Cairo, passing the fashionable quarter en route, the guide pointed but the houses of the ex-Khedive, and various other aristocratic gentry. Passing through the filthy yet interesting native quarter, we reached the Nile. Here we were conveyed to the Island of Rhodah and visited the garden of Pharaoh's daughter, also the Nilometre, which recorded the rise of the flood tide in ancient times, and has been in existence over 1000 years. We were shown the spot where Moses was found in the bullrushes (although they have long disappeared) by Pharaoh's daughter. A large stone by the water's edge marks the historical spot. Re-crossing the river, we visited the old Coptic city, with high walls, and went into a very old church. It is related that beneath this church the Mother and Foster Father of Jesus, with the Babe, took refuge from the fury of Herod. We visited the Church of St. George (Greek), and the fable goes that on this particular spot the dragon was slain by St. George. We drove to the Amyr Mosque. This place abounds with traditions. We were shown the well in the centre where the faithful wash their face, hands, etc., before prayer. Only once a year do they use this mosque, which is the same pattern and nearly as historic as the Grand Mosque at Mecca. It is used at the feast of Rhamadam (in the month of July), and pilgrims flock from all parts to pay their homage. The tomb of Abdul Pasha is also here, and nearby is an object of rather peculiar interest. There are two small pillars of a very hard kind of stone, made by the Prophets. Here all the sick (of the stomach and intestines), of the faithful are brought. They lick the juice of a lemon and the pillar, alternately till the blood flows. They vomit violently and are better afterwards. A hollow about four inches deep has been worn on the pillar where the millions of sick tongues have licked it, and the dark stain of blood in streams down the column is plainly visible. This practice has been stopped by the Egyptian Government owing to complaints made by tourists, and now the pillars are railed round. One nice feature of this mosque is that it has many pillars all of different sculpture, and they come from different mosques. There are Egyptian, Turkish, Syrian, Hebrew, Persian, Grecian, Assyrian, Soudanese, Coptic Arabian, etc. A fairly long drive through the ruins of Old Cairo, thousands of years old, and the desert, brought us to the tombs of the Mameluke. Here is interred Ibram Pasha, the great second Khedive of Egypt, also members of the royal families. It is gorgeous in the extreme. A second long drive through the Arab quarters and we arrived at another great mosque, that of Ibn-el-Touloun. This is another marvellous place. Mahommed when offered this site built a mosque inside of what was an immense synagogue, but not wishing to deprive the Jews of their place of worship, he ordered that the mosque should be open to all nationalities and all sects. Thus you find the Jewish altar, Coptic altar, altars for the worship of Isis, Allah, Moses, Christ, and for the Persians, and Assyrians. There we saw a view of Cairo from the high tower in the eastern part of the enclosure. 'Twas marvellous, and the sun happened to be going down just then. Another rare moment of ecstacy that infrequently is our lot. I thought of the numbers who have seen the same sun sink like a ball of fire a little to the right of Cheop, and wondered what was before me in the near future. 'Allah is great. There is one God— and Mahommed is his Prophet ! Praised be Allah!'— sounded from' a minnerett near by. The high priest was exhorting the faithful to sunset prayer. We are all training hard under proper active service conditions, and all eager to meet the despicable Turk. Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1961) Fri 19 Nov 1915 Page 7 SOLDIERS' LETTERS. Extracts from a letter received by Mr. Arthur Shimmels, of Scheyville, from Private W. D. O'Brien, 26th Battalion, 7th Brigade, A.I.F., written at Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt : --- You will perceive we are still at Abbassia, training hammer and tongs on our sandy surroundings. The routine is getting monotonous, but I guess the heads know what they are doing, and so we carry on. Contradictory rumours are going round as to our future movements. First 'tis said we will leave within the next six days; again, that we are to do garrison duty at the Abbassia barracks, which had been lately vacated by the Yorkshire and Wilts Yeomanry. Others, with a very knowing and mysterious wink (Pickwick like), inform us that things will be moving shortly, and a few amongst us are convinced we are going to Kahtoum to relieve Imperial troops there. The 5th Brigade left some 12 days ago, and not a few of their numbers were back, minus limbs, within six days of their departure. We are getting used to the previously strange sights and mannerisms of this ancient place. We are up early and in early. Saturday and Sunday finds us in the delightful green grounds in the town. These grounds have only been lately opened for the soldiers' exclusive use, and they are a welcome weekend retreat after a week of diabolical desert dust down one's windpipe. There is a roller rink, with writing, reading, billiard and recreation rooms, a bandstand, a cafe, and some cool, shady places. The one great absent element is the fair female. They are extremely rare -- only the low class are seen in the streets — or to be more correct, the poor class. Sometimes their more favoured sisters are seen, but very seldom, and they are, of course, heavily veiled. On week nights a captain, chaplain of one of the units here gives us a talk — not the slosh of some of his kin, but a real "dinkum" go, and not infrequently the talk turns on topics agricultural. Last Wednesday, for instance, he was eloquent on Yanco irrigation, in which particular place he was resident for some time. The subject doubtless was raised by the great amount of that sort of cultivation here, where the annual rainfall is less than one inch. The last rain we saw was in the Indian Ocean some 13 weeks ago. Friday, Saturday and Sunday recently was the feast of Ramadan, and all the good Mahommedans let themselves go, after having lasted some days. They mark the occasion by consuming bad beer in amazing quantities, with many resultant fights and rows. We were looking forward to witnessing some strange scenes that week end, but the "heads"' got in some fine work, and we were all confined to camp, and missed the fun. The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) Thu 5 Sep 1918 Page 4 Roll of Honour. Casualty List No. 427. 220 Queenslanders Included Casualty List No. 427 was issued this morning. It contains the names of 220 Queenslanders, as follows. Unless otherwise stated, the rank is that of a private :- KILLED IN ACTION. Cpl. W. D. O'Brien, England, 8/8/18, p.r.w.

    • The Men of "A" Company, 26th Battalion - Letter to Alfie's parents
    • Posted by jaydsydaus121, Tuesday, 4 February 2020

    Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 - 1954) Wed 28 Feb 1917 Page 3 HOW GUNNER ALF. MACINTOSH DIED. Private W. D. O'Brien, 26th. Battalion, A.I.F., has written from France to Mrs. K. Macintosh, Moorak, concerning the regrettable death of her son, Gunner Alf. Macintosh, who was reported missing some months ago, but who, according to the letter of his comrade, was killed in action. Gunner Macintosh, who, was 24 years of age, enlisted in Brisbane about two years ago, and saw service in Gallipoli, as well as in France. Priv. O'Brien's letter is as follows: - "Dear Mrs. MacIntosh, - In the name of the Machine Gun Section, I write these few brief lines to advise you of the receipt of two parcels addressed to our late pal your son Alf. You have doubtless by now been officially notified of the death in action of Alf, who has bravely fallen on the field of battle in the great cause of justice and freedom, in which cause we are all only too eager and willing to offer our lives as well. It would be unnecessary to enter into details of Alf's death; suffice to say he suffered little or no pain, which is indeed a great blessing, for some more unfortunate suffer very great pain. In conclusion, we beg you to accept our sincere condolence in this your great loss, for we were only too proud to claim your son Alf as a comrade and a companion-in-arms." Note: Private Alfred Keith McIntosh (No.106) embarked from Brisbane on 24th May 1915 on the Ascanius. He was killed in action on 29 July 1916 during the 1st battle of Pozieres. He was an original of "B" Company, 26th Battalion, 7th Brigade.

    • ROLL OF HONOUR William Denis O'Brien Service number 139 AWM NAA Gary Parsons 26th Bn. researcher.
    • Posted by blackboycreek, Friday, 21 January 2022

    ROLL OF HONOUR William Denis O'Brien Service number 139 Rank Corporal Unit 26th Australian Infantry Battalion Service Australian Imperial Force Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918 Conflict Eligibility Date First World War, 1914-1921 Date of Death 08 August 1918 Place of Death France Cause of Death Killed in action Age at Death 25 Place of Association Inverell, New South Wales, Australia Cemetery or Memorial Details Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France Source AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

    • AWM NAA Gary Parsons 26th Bn. researcher.
    • Posted by blackboycreek, Friday, 21 January 2022

    (Red Cross – K.I.A. 08/08/18) (N.A.A. – 24/01/17 W.I.A. S.W. to left temple. 08/08/18 K.I.A. Buried Card Copse Cemetery 1 miles N.W. Marcelcave and 3 ½ miles E.S.E. Corbie. Exhumed and reburied Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy)