(Service number 51427)
|Aliases||Also spelt O'BRIEN. Probably an adaptation of O'BRIEN|
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||10 August 1894||Place of Birth||Wyndham|
|Address at Enlistment||Wyndham|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Margaret Jane O'BRINE (mother), Wyndham, Southland; C/o Messrs Hamilton & Fitch, Waimate, Canterbury|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Reinforcements, G Company (part)|
|Date||12 June 1917|
|Embarked From||Destination||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Entrenching Battalion|
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||6 April 1920||Age||25 years|
|Place of Death||Waimate Hospital|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Wyndham Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials||Wyndham War Memorial (O'BRINE George)|
George O’Brine was born on 10 August 1894 at Wyndham, the eldest son of George and Margaret Jane (née Dodd) O’Brine (O’Brien). George senior was an old Wyndham settler, who, it was said, had transposed the last two letters of his surname “for convenience sake”. Arriving in New Zealand in about 1877, he went first to Lawrence, then to the Studholme Estate at Waimate, before moving to Southland. He died on 5 June 1917 at Wyndham, and was buried in the Wyndham Cemetery, survived by his widow and two sons and a daughter. Three sons had died in infancy. Young George was educated at Wyndham School.
A week later, on 12 June 1917, George junior embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade per the “Maunganui” for Plymouth, England. He had been home on final leave just shortly before his father’s death.
“RIFLEMAN G. O’BRINE. Mrs M. O’Brine has received advice that her eldest son, George, has been reported missing. He is 23 years of age and was bom at Wyndham, receiving his education at the Wyndham School. Before enlisting he worked on his mother’s farm. He was a prominent member of the Territorials and was one of the crack shots of Wyndham. Also a keen and successful angler, he was one of the most popular men who whipped the local streams. A great reader of good solid literature, he collected a library that was envied by all who had the pleasure of inspecting it.” [Southland Times. 30 May 1918]. By mid June 1918, G. O’Brine, 51427, Entrenching Battalion, was officially reported a Prisoner of War in Germany, probably from 16 April. He was imprisoned at Lamsdorf POW camp from May 1918 until the end of 1918, when he was sent to the King George Hospital at Liverpool. There was better news in February 1919 – George O’Brine was reported as repatriated. And even better in June 1919 – he was coming home. He arrived at Port Chalmers on 21 June 1919 by the “Maunganui”.
But he returned home in “a shattered state of health”, being assessed at 100% disability. Having endured eight months as a prisoner of war, with a lack of food and other hardships, he had contracted tuberculosis. He died of the tuberculosis at the Waimate Hospital on 6 April 1920, aged 25 years. Mrs O’Brine, her daughter (Margaret Jane) and her son (Robert William) had moved to South Canterbury in 1919, in the hope that the climate would benefit her son. Sadly, however, that was not to happen. George was buried at Wyndham with his father, their names being inscribed as O’Brien. The name of Private George O’Brine is inscribed on the Wyndham War Memorial, below the words of Kipling – “All that they had they gave – they gave in sure and simple faith . . . .” The memorial was unveiled on Anzac Day 1924.
Mrs O’Brine farmed at “Craigburn”, Willowbridge, where she held a very successful clearing sale in May 1922. The family moved to Gleniti and afterwards into Timaru itself. Mrs O’Brine died in 1953 and was buried at Timaru. Her daughter Margaret, who married Herbert George Shaw at Chalmers Church, Timaru, in 1930, and her son Robert, who married in 1933, are both buried at Timaru. Margaret lived to 97 years, while Robert retired young and was only 41 when he died.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [17 February 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [17 February 2021]; Wyndham Cemetery headstone transcription [18 February 2021]; Timaru Cemetery headstone images (Timaru District Council) [18 February 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [23 February 2021]; Mataura Ensign, 9 June 1917, 30 & 31 May 1918, 10 April 1920, Southland Times, 30 May 1918, 10 April 1920, New Zealand Times, 31 May 1918, 14 June 1919, Evening Post, 20 June 1918, 15 February 1919, Temuka Leader, 10 April 1920, Timaru Herald, 26 May 1922 (Papers Past) [18, 19 & 23 February 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [23 February 2021]; Wyndham War Memorial photo (NZ History - https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/wyndham-war-memorial) [04 March 2021]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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