O'ROURKE, Patrick
(Service number 39088)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date About 1881 Place of Birth Kerry, Ireland

Enlistment Information

Date 16 October 1916 Age About 35 years
Address at Enlistment A. I. Hotel, Christchurch
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience Dublin Fusiliers - 1 year
Marital Status Single. Married 1918, England
Next of Kin Michael O'ROURKE (brother), Keilbreon, County Kerry, Ireland. Also Mr John O'ROURKE, Stafford Street, Timaru, South Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Reinforcements G Company
Date 13 February 1917
Transport Mokoia
Embarked From Wellington Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
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 22 October 1919 Reason No longer physically fit for War Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 16 February 1960 Age 78 years
Place of Death Nazareth House, Sydenham, Christchurch
Notices Press, 18 February 1960
Memorial or Cemetery Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference Soldiers Section, Block 1B, Plot 177
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Patrick O’Rourke recorded that he was born on 15 May 1890 at Kerry, Ireland. He was, however, born in about 1881-1882, as evidenced by his age at death and the 1901 and 1911 census records. He was the son of Michael and Margaret (née Shine) O’Rourke, his mother being deceased by 1916. Eighteen-year-old Patrick was at home at Kilbane, County Kerry, with his parents, two sisters and brothers Timothy and Michael, in 1901. Patrick was 27 years old, a farmer and the head of the house at Kilbane in 1911, his two sisters and two brothers with him. On enlisting with the New Zealand Forces, Patrick declared that he has been sentenced to imprisonment at Christchurch in June 1916. Patrick O’Rourke, a second offender, was fined 10 shillings or 48 hours’ imprisonment as alternative, for drunkenness, at Christchurch in early October 1916. At the Christchurch Police Court on the morning of 12 October 1916, Patrick O’Rourke, who said he had “come into town to be examined to go to the front,” was fined 20s or seven days’ imprisonment for drunkenness, the Magistrate remarking that it was his third offence, the second, indeed, within a few days, and he doubted the bona fides of his statement.

Patrick O’Rourke, a labourer, Railway Hotel, enlisted on 16 October 1916 at Christchurch. He had served one year with the Dublin Fusiliers. Single and Roman Catholic, he named his brother as next-of-kin – Michael O’Rourke, Keilbreon (Kilbane?), County Kerry, Ireland. He also named Mr John O’Rourke, Stafford Street, Timaru, South Canterbury. Rifleman P. O’Rourke embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, departing from Wellington for Plymouth, England, per the “Mokoia” on 13 February 1917. He married Catherine (Kathleen) Blakemore MacPherson on 26 June 1918 at the Registry Office, St Giles, London. After a year in London they came to New Zealand. Rifleman P. O’Rourke, Timaru, returned to New Zealand by the “Corinthic” which was due at Wellington on or about 22 September 1919. He was discharged on 22 October 1919, no longer fit for war service, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He took a position with a contractor, keeping this job until he obtained his gratuity Then he started drinking, and lost a number of jobs because of this. Two sons born to Patrick and Catherine (Kathleen) in New Zealand – Patrick in 1920 and Michael in 1921, died at birth and were buried at Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch. There were four more children as mentioned in the divorce case, but one of these died in 1924.

But all was not well. In May 1934 at Christchurch, Catherine petitioned for divorce, on the grounds of habitual drunkenness and persistent cruelty over a period of four years. “Evidence would be called, . . . . , to show that respondent had been an habitual inebriate since 1916. There had been twenty-six convictions against him since 1916 and the present time. These had all been for inebriacy and allied charges, including assault. Respondent was apparently a man of bad temper and very bad habits. . . . . O’Rourke was known to the police as a man of violent and dirty actions when drunk.” The petitioner was a good living woman. Patrick’s story was that he and his wife had lived together on good terms until his wife started going out to dances and stopping out late, expecting him to mind the children. He said that it was not true that he had lost jobs through drunkenness, but he admitted the list of offences and also the Court orders against him. “It was a man named Schultz who broke up his home.” “What I have heard from the petitioner constitutes a number of pitiful instances in a long series of cruel acts during a long period of drunkenness. I do not regard the respondent as a vindictive man and I think he would be a good husband and father but for drink,” commented the Judge, in granting a decree nisi. In 1934 Catherine Blakemore O’Rourke married William Thomas Schultz (divorced) for whom she had been a housekeeper.

Patrick O’Rourke died 16 February 1960 at Nazareth House, Christchurch, aged 78 years, and was buried in the Service Portion of Ruru Lawn Cemetery after a Requiem Mass. Catherine Ann Schultz died on 16 November 1982 at Auckland, survived by her children – Desmond, Frances and Brian O’Rourke and Eugenie Schultz.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [04 June 2023]; Ruru Lawn Cemetery burial record (Christchurch City Council) [04 June 2023]; Ruru Lawn Cemetery headstone transcription [04 June 2023]; 1901 & 1911 Ireland census returns (per [04 June 2023]; Timaru Herald, 5 September 1919, Press, 9 October 1916, 18 February 1960, Star, 12 October 1916, 11 & 12 May 1934, Lyttelton Times, 16 October 1916 (Papers Past) [02 & 04 June 2023]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, South Canterbruy Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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