STRATTON DORSET
   
             
STRATTON WAR MEMORIAL
             
           
    DRIVER STEPHEN O'BRIEN. R.H.A.    
             
     
 

Stephen Joseph O’Brien was born in Ireland in 1872.

The 1901 census for Dorchester Calvary Barracks shows:

 
     
 
NAME RELATIONSHIP STATUS AGE OCCUPATION PLACE OF BIRTH
Stephen O'Brien Soldier Single 29 Driver RHA Ireland
 
     
 
In 1903 he married Louisa Alice Drew in Dorchester. They had four children; Stephen George O’Brien born on 14th July 1904; Irene Farrell O’Brien born on 18th June 1905; Ronald Edward O’Brien born on 16th August 1910; and Frederick Patrick Drew O’Brien born on 21st November 1913.

The 1911 Census for Muckleford shows:-
 
 
 
 
NAME RELATIONSHIP STATUS AGE OCCUPATION PLACE OF BIRTH
Stephen Joseph O'Brien Head Married 38 Labourer on Farm Co. Limerick
Louisa A O'Brien Wife Married 29 x Evershot, Dorset
Stephen G O'Brien Son Single 6 x Woolwich, Kent
Farrell O'Brien Daughter x 2 x Sandhills, Dorset
Ronald E O'Brien Son x 7m x Muckleford, Dorset
 
     
 
Driver 88804 Stephen Joseph O’Brien served in the 1st Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

The three roles of home-based units of the Royal Artillery were i) as depot or training units; ii) to provide mobile artillery forces for use in the event of enemy attack; and iii)to provide static artillery forces to defend key ports and coastal installations.

On 5th November 1917 at 1st Northern General Hospital, Newcastle-on-Tyne Stephen O’Brien was examined and found to be medically unfit. He had been admitted to the hospital in September 1917 with a temperature of 100.5 Fahrenheit and shortness of breath on exertion which came on after a chill. His Service Record shows that he was debilitated and had a cough. He was tested for tuberculosis but none was found. Pneumococci were present. It was decided that the origin of his medical condition was from having contracted malaria in India in 1895 and bronchitis in France in 1915. The effects of the malaria attack had also re-occurred in France. No malarial parasite was found at the time of this examination. His general state had been brought about by exposure and wet whilst on active service. His condition was considered to be permanent.

On 12th December 1917 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, Stephen O’Brien was discharged from the R.F.A.
He was 45 years and 4 months old. On that occasion he was described in his Service Record as 5’ 5” tall with a sallow complexion, light brown eyes and grey/black hair. He had tattoos on both forearms. His trade was as a labourer. He served for 3 years 114 days. His military character was ‘V. Good’ and he was described as ‘Steady. Sober. Hard Working’. His intended place of residence was given as Stratton, Dorset.

Stephen O’Brien died on the 2nd December 1918 and was buried in grave ‘New 930’ at Fordington Cemetery, Dorchester. His death was registered at Dorchester.
 
             
 
Driver S. J. O’Brien’s headstone - Fordington Cemetery, Dorchester
 
             
  Stephen O’Brien’s widow was present at the dedication of Stratton War Memorial on 30th November 1919  
             
             
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