O'Brien Christopher Ronald Pte 5182881

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Personnel Entry

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Name O'Brien Christopher Ronald
Army number 5182881
Rank Pte
Date of birth 1/8/1918.
Age 52 at the time of his death.
Unit Enlisted in the Gloucester Regiment, Territorial Army - discharged 25/2/39 on Termination of Engagement. Re-Enlisted 1/7/1939 and posted to 5th Battalion, Gloucester Regiment. Transferred to Reconnaissance Corps 14/10/41. Transferred back to Gloucester Regiment 1/4/42. Transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry 22/6/1943 and posted to the 9th Battalion. Transferred to The Durham Light Infantry 18/4/1944. Probably posted to the 11th Battalion DLI, but this is yet to be confirmed. Wounded and captured in Normandy and made a Prisoner of War - possibly 22/6/1944. Repatriated to the UK 14/8/1944. Discharged under King's Regulations 1940 Para 390 (xvi) 12/2/1945.
Platoon or other sub-unit
Task or role
Joined Brigade 18/4/1944 on transfer from the Somerset Light Infantry.
Wounded Yes, fractured left leg and gun-shot wound in right leg sustained in Normandy - actual date in the process of confirmation, but may have been 22/6/1944. Records show him as a patient in Rennes Military Hospital along with many other Allied troops and there is a suggestion from those records that he was wounded on 1st July 1944. If that is the case, this may have been during the Defence of Rauray.
Prisoner of War Yes - following his wounding he was made a prisoner and taken to hospital. His PoW status was not confirmed until 24/9/1944.
Died/Killed in action Death registered in June 1971 at Kingswood, Gloucestershire at the age of 52. Cause of death - Coronary Occlusion and Atheroma. Registered by his son, Roger, who was in attendance at the death.
Home address Research shows that he married Mary E K Gay at Kingswood in the second quarter of 1939. He was living at 17, Fairford Close, Kingswood at the time of his death.
Source table PBM

Gloucester Regiment Books show this man as 5181081 whereas his uniform stamps, the Rennes Hospital records and the DLI Regimental Books have him as 5182881.

The author was contacted in 2017 by Canadian militaria collector Duncan Stirk, who had purchased Private O'Brien's battledress blouse and has restored it to the insignia and markings it would have had at the time of his wounding. Images of the restored blouse are set out below.

Front view of 1942 pattern blouse. The cap badge is that worn by Duncan Stirk's uncle, who served with 1st Battalion DLI
Front left view of blouse, showing Regimental and Divisional patches, plus the three stripes of 70th Brigade, being the junior formation in the Division
Front right view of blouse
Rear view of blouse showing the PoW black triangle stamped on the cloth