WW1 Private Graham Wakefield O’Connor 60184

Private Graham Wakefield O’Connor [1]

Graham Wakefield O’Connor was born 9 December 1893 in Christchurch. His father Charles was a racecourse official working as a race starter for every racing club in the Auckland Province.

His mother was the daughter of Edward Jerningham Wakefield who was the son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, a key figure in the early colonisation of New Zealand and South Australia. They lived at 28 Omahu Road, Remuera. Graham attended Remuera (Primary) School and entered Auckland Grammar School in 1907 in Form 3B. He left school at the end of 1910 and started an engineering apprenticeship with A & T Burt Ltd., a firm of plumbing and electrical engineers, metal founders and manufacturers. [1]

On attestation on 26 May 1917 Graham had been serving in the 3rd Auckland Regiment as a territorial. On 28 June 1917 he was posted as private to A Coy 30th Reinforcements. While in camp at Trentham he went absent without leave for 24 hours on 18th September to the 19th September 1917 and forfeited 2 days’ pay and was confined to barracks for 3 days. [2] He embarked on the Corinthic under Captain H.L. de F. Garland with the 30th Reinforcements on 26 May 1917 and left Wellington, New Zealand to sail to Liverpool, arriving on the 8th December 1917 [3] and went straight to Sling training camp. He left for Etaples in France on 14 February 1918 with the 1st Battalion Auckland Infantry.

Private Graham Wakefield O’Connor [2]

On 11 March 1918 he was posted to 16th Company. In March 1918 the Germany Army launched its Spring Offensive around Armentieres, Amiens and Colincamps in the Somme area. On 15 April 1918 Graham suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm. On 16 April he was admitted No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Doullens and then moved to the 10th General Hospital at Rouen. On 20th April 1918 he was transferred to England to the N Z General Hospital at Brockenhurst and then on 22 July to N Z Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch for rehabilitation. On 23rd September 1918 Graham left Hornchurch to go on leave, returning to Codford camp for training on 8th October. However on 3rd November he was admitted to No. 3 N Z General Hospital at Codford with influenza – by 8th November his condition was described as dangerously ill with severe bronchitis. Graham Wakefield O’Connor died of influenza on 9th November, only two days before the armistice was announced on 11 November 1918. [4]

Private Graham Wakefield O’Connor [3]

Graham O’Connor is buried at Codford (St Mary) New Churchyard, Wiltshire, England and is commemorated on the:

• Auckland Grammar School War Memorial, New Zealand

• Memorial brass plaque, St Mark’s Anglican Church, 95 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand

• Remuera Primary School World War One Gates 1914-1918, 25 Dromorne Road, Remuera Auckland 1050. [5]