Serial No. 25
John O'Connor - Information
When the war began, John O’Connor was living in Campbelltown and working as a labourer. John was born in Richmond near Melbourne, and moved about before residing in the area. On the 17th of August 1914, he enlisted in the AIF at Randwick, aged 23. After training, he was shipped out from Sydney as a Driver with the 4th Battalion onboard the HMAT Euripides.
John stepped off the ship in Egypt to commence his war service. However, his military career was inundated with illness and military infractions. John did not proceed to Gallipoli with his unit, but was admitted to hospital in August, and later taken to England with rheumatism. Here, John was charged for being in possession of a soldier’s pay book which he illegally altered. Consequently, on the 22nd of October 1915, he was sentenced to three months imprisonment at hard labour. Funnily, two days after he was sentenced, he was charged with violating Section 41 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations in London, and fined £50. On the 14th of January 1916, John went to prison. When he was released, he proceeded to the Western Front in France. Two weeks later, he was taken to hospital in Etaples with synovitis in his left knee. He was then evacuated to England and admitted to hospital. Here, he was charged with conduct to the prejudice of military discipline and good order. In August 1916, he went absent without leave numerous times. For these infractions, he received 28 days detention on the 4th of September. In March 1917, he failed to return to France, running off. He was apprehended in April and resultantly sentenced to 112 days imprisonment at hard labour. Upon release, he was supposed to head for the trenches and again refused, going AWL. During 1917, while he was gone, he married a local British girl. Apprehended, he was subsequently charged for being absent from the 22nd of November 1917 until the 26th of February 1918, and ordered to appear before a Court Martial. Amazingly, these proceedings were delayed, for in March 1918, (when he was supposed to be in court), he went AWL again. When he was unearthed, he was found guilty and sentenced to one year imprisonment, taken to Lewes Detention Barracks. On the 15th of September 1918, he was released from prison and admitted to hospital, and by early October, was a patient at the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital. However, throughout October, he continually broke out of hospital and went AWL. After the war ended, he remained unaccounted for and was never located. For the records, he was officially discharged on the 26th of January 1919.