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72580 Trooper Daniel Joseph O’Connell - Wellington Mounted Rifles

Daniel Joseph O’Connell was born in Wellington on 15th March 1892[i] the eldest of seven children born to
Agnes Isabella (nee Stewart) and Cornelius O’Connell.  The family was raised in Lower Hutt.

In October 1917 a special gazette was made to call up the 9000 men remaining in the First Division. The First Division
were unmarried men aged between 21 and 50. One of those selected for medical examination was
O’Connell D J, Driver, Pahautanui.[ii]

Daniel’s enlistment papers note that he was employed as farm labourer, living in Pahatanui and working on
Mr J Barclay’s farm. Mrs A I O’Connell is listed as Daniel’s next of kin[iii].

72580 Private Daniel Joseph O’Connell entered Trentham Camp on 6th February 1918 with B Company
38th Reinforcements. Private O’Connell had noted on enlistment that he was serving with the 6th Manawatu Mounted Rifles which resulted in him transferring as Trooper O’Connell, New Zealand Mounted Rifles on 13th February 1918.

Trooper O’Connell trained at Featherston Camp prior to sailing on 13th June 1918 with the 37th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifle Brigade.

The 37th Reinforcements arrived in Egypt on 4th August 1918 and Trooper O’Connell was dispatched to the
NZ Mounted Rifles training unit. On the 13th September 1918 Trooper O’Connell was posted to the Wellington
Mounted Rifles finally reaching his final unit the 6th Manawatu Squadron, Wellington Mounted Rifles on
15th October 1918. Two week later on 31st October 1918 the Allies and the Ottoman Empire signed an Armistice to
end the war in the Middle East.  The Mounted Rifles were then involved in peace keeping duties in Egypt, suppressing a populist nationalist uprising.

There was a shortage of transport to bring the NZEF back to New Zealand and Trooper O’Connell as one of the
‘new reinforcements’ was one of the last to leave Egypt[iv]. Trooper O’Connell finally left, with the final draft,  
23rd July 1919 on the transport SS Ellenga.  Trooper O’Connell returned to New Zealand on 11th September 1919 and
was finally discharged from the NZEF on 11th October 1919 ‘on termination of period of engagement.

Daniel returned to Pauatahanui and in June 1922 married Gladys Galloway. The couple ran the general store at
Paremata during the 1920’s with Daniel also being the Postmaster.[v] Daniel also ran a taxi service from Paremata to Pauatahanui for dances.  In 1925 the couple’s son Basil was born and Daniel started a carrying company. The family
moved to Judgeford in 1927 continuing to run an expanded carrying company through the war years.

Daniel Joseph O’Connell died in P+auatahanui on the 6th December 1945[vi].

Daniel Joseph O’Connell is commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour in St Alban’s Church, Pautahanui.

Notes
4/1831 Sapper Charles O’Connell, a younger brother,  served with the NZ Engineers.
John Barclay, his employee also served in the NZEF
Pahatanui is the historic spelling of Pauatahanui.

References
Pauatahanui a local history – Helen Reilly
NZ BDM
Paperspast online
NZ Mounted Rifles: Wikipedia

Photos
Pauatahanui Hall and bridge c1911: Pataka Museum 

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] First Division now exhausted, 2nd October 1917, Evening Post
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 72580 Trooper Daniel Joseph O’Connell
[iv] History of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914 - 1919
[v] Carriers P133-135, Pauatahanui a local history
[vi] Deaths, 6th December 1945, Evening Post 

Pauatahanui Hall and Bridge