O'CONNELL , William Andrew
(Service number 91273)
|First Rank||Last Rank|
|Date||29 December 1887||Place of Birth||Nevis, New Zealand|
|Address at Enlistment||Benmore, Southland|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs S. J. O'CONNELL (wife), 20 William Street, Timaru|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||21 November 1952||Age||66 years|
|Place of Death||Dunedin|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Anderson's Bay Cemetery, Dunedin|
|Memorial Reference||Block 191, Plot 67|
|New Zealand Memorials|
William Andrew O’Connell was born on 25 December 1887 at Nevis, New Zealand, the son of Jeremiah William (Jerry) and Mary (Mater, née Graham) O’Connell. William’s grandfather, William O’Cpnnell, had settled in the remote Nevis before 1870, attracted by the mining prospects. In 1873 he built the Upper Nevis Hotel and store. His mother, too, was of an early settler family in the Nevis. William Andrew O’Connell was probably the about fourteen year old grandson who accompanied his mother and his paternal grandfather, William O’Connell, from Nevis to Dunedin in August 1900. His grandfather, who had gone for medical treatment, met a sad death when he fell from the hotel window while in a dazed state. Jerry O’Connell took over the hotel on the death of his father. After some years in the hotel, Jerry and Mary leased the Glen Nevis sheep run, and worked at both farming and mining. While they incurred losses in farming they were very successful in mining. They sold out in 1907 and Jerry and Mary and their family acquired a property at Kauana in Southland. William Andrew O’Connell married Sarah Jean Turkington in 1913 at Chalmers Church, Timaru. William and Sarah had only one child – William Graham O’Connell, who predeceased his father. He had served in World War Two and drowned accidentally at St Kilda Beach in December 1947, aged 32 years. William was farming on his own account at Benmore, Southland, when he enlisted. He named his wife as next-of-kin – Mrs S. J. O’Connell, 20 William Street, Timaru. In 1919 William and Sarah were living at 20 William Street, Timaru, William taking work at Gray’s Hills Station that same year.
Sarah Jane O’Connell died on 29 September 1821 at Dunedin. William’s sister, Ellen Frances who had married John Elliot Carswell, died in June 1918 at Invercargill. Her husband died in November 1918 at Dunedin of influenza. William Andrew O’Connell, an elderly pensioner, was found homeless and “sleeping out” in Dunedin in early April 1950. He may have been taken into the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor where “he would be looked after in the evening of his life.” He died on 21 November 1952 at Dunedin, aged 66 years.His father had died in 1931 at Oamaru; his mother lived to 93 years, dying in 1957 at Christchurch and a married daughter being buried with her. William had at least one brother and three sisters. .
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
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