Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1916, Private Stephen O’Connell, 6th (Service) Battalion, the South Wales Borderers, was killed in action on the Somme.
Private O’Connell had enlisted several weeks after the outbreak of the Great War – his battalion was raised at Brecon in September of 1914, and went to France a year later, landing at Le Havre on the 25th of September in 1915. He first saw action in May of 1916 at Vimy Ridge, and arrived on the Somme just after the main attack, being involved in the fighting near Thiepval.
On the day of his death Private O’Connell was one of nineteen men from his battalion to be killed during the fighting at Albert. His sister had a postcard made from a photograph of him, on the back of which was written "Sweet be thy rest o brother dear. Tis sweet to breathe they name. In life I loved you very dear. In death I do the same”. He lies buried in the Millencourt Cemetery Extension at Albert in France.
Stephen, from Chepstow in Monmouthshire, was 21 years old.