O'REILLY, Edmond
(Service number 6/1219)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 20 January 1887 Place of Birth Leeston

Enlistment Information

Date 7 October 1914 Age 27
Address at Enlistment 188 Lambton Quay, Wellington
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status single
Next of Kin Michael O'Reilly (father) Albury, South Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Date 16 October 1916
Transport HMNZT 4, 11 Tahiti , Athenic
Embarked From Lyttelton, Canterbury Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Service Medals 1914-15 Star, British War, Victory
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 7 August 1915 Age 28
Place of Death Gallipoli, Turkey
Cause KIA
Notices Timaru Herald, Volume CVIII, Issue 16890, 11 August 1919, Page 6
Memorial or Cemetery Chunuk Bair (New Zealand)Memorial,Chunuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey
Memorial Reference Panel 13
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Albury War Memorial; Albury Football Club Roll of Honour; Fairlie War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Edmond (Eddie or Ted to his friends) O’Reilly, born in January 1887, was the son of Michael and Ellen O'Reilly (nee Bradley) of Rocky Gully, Albury. Michael and Ellen were married in 1884, but Ellen died at 31 years of age in 1889 only two years after Edmond’s birth. The couple had three children: Edmond, Norah (b.1888), and Mary Ellen (b.1885). Michael remarried, to Mary Ann Smith in 1892. This couple had eight more children: Francis Alosss (b.1893, John (d.1894 aged 1 day), Michael John (b.29 Oct 1895), Elizabeth Agnes (b.1897), Mary Gertrude (b.1899), William (b.1900), Margaret Fidelis (b.1902), and James Bernard (b.1904).

Eddie was initially schooled at a private Catholic School, either side of a brief period of schooling at Leeston School, where the family was living. In 1897 though he was enrolled in Standard 3 at Albury, where he was schooled until 1900. After leaving school he worked in the area for a while as a shearer. He played rugby for Albury and was part of the team that won the Country Flag Championship in 1909. However, he eventually moved to the North Island, working for a time for Mr F Gammell, Karikau, the Taumaranui, Tangarakua, Wanganui River, Otane and possibly went to Sydney for a short time.

On enlistment Eddie was working for J T Hewitt of Big Hill, Kereru in Hawkes Bay on 7 October 1914. He sailed from Wellington on the Tahiti or Athenic as a member of the 2nd South Canterbury Battalion about a week later.

Eddie often wrote home – see the attached biographical notes for some extracts of the letters. His last letter was sent in mid-June. Having spent some time in hospital he re-joined his unit at Gallipoli and was killed in the region of Chunuk Bair on 7 August 1915. He had initially been reported missing, believed killed. A court of enquiry eventually confirmed he was killed but his body was not recovered. Several letters in his file from his father asking what had happened but like other similar tragic cases no concrete answers could be given.

Eddie’s step-brother, John O'Reilly (aka Jack, born Michael John) also served (service no.28910) died during the war on 11 August 1917.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ); SCRoll submission (mail) by M Newsome, 24 April 2018)

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Liz Shea (SC branch NZSG); Doreen Knight, Mackenzie Genealogical Group; Tony Rippin, South Cantebrury Museum

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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