Charles OConnor

CHAS (CHARLES) O'CONNOR (1897 - 1917)

Charles Edmund O'Connor, or as he is listed on our memorial, Chas O'Connor, was born on Tuesday 20th April 1897 not in Macclesfield but in Bury.

Charles' father, Edmund, a lifelong Bury resident, married Maxonian Margaret Ann Walsh. They went on to have four sons and three daughters between 1894 and 1905. For some unknown reason, at the time of the 1901 census, the four year old Charles was living in Macclesfield with his aunts, milliners Mary and Elizabeth Walsh, at 38, Mill Street.

Ten years later, Charles was back in Bury, living with his parents and siblings at 110, Ainsworth Road. The young Charles was already an apprentice draughtsman with a firm that carried out bleaching and dying.

It would appear that Charles changed career for when he left Liverpool for Montreal, via Quebec, on 15th June 1915, the eighteen year old described his occupation as a journalist. Travelling alone as Second Class passenger, as Charles did, was not the cheapest option for making the journey across the Atlantic on the liner SS Northland. A year later, when Charles joined the Canadian Army, he was living at the YMCA, Drummond Street, Montreal and working as a farmer.

Charles volunteered in Montreal for the 55th Irish Canadian Rangers, a unit made up of five thousand men of Irish birth or parentage, before joining the 24th Battalion Canadian Infantry. His attestation papers tell us that the nineteen year old was five foot six inches tall, with fair complexion and brown eyes. Less than a year after joining the Battalion, Charles was killed in action, on 16 August 1917, during the Battle of Hill 70, outside Lens, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of Northern France.

Charles is buried in Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension. On his headstone, are the words chosen by his mother:

"Jesus Mercy, Mary Help"


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StAlban's WWII war dead