O’Brien, Philip Anderson

O’Brien, Philip Anderson

Second Lieutenant

1st Battalion attached 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment

Died of wounds on 9 March 1915 (aged 23)


Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France (Grave II.B.10)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour website it is recorded that Second Lieutenant Philip Anderson O’Brien was a son of J. O’Brien of 33 Springfield Road, Bangor, Co Down.

Second Lieutenant Philip Anderson O’Brien’s death on 9 March 1915 (aged 23) was recorded in the April 1915 Parish Magazine for Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) and sympathy was extended to his family.

It was reported in the Bond of Sacrifice (Vol 2) that Second Lieutenant Philip Anderson O’Brien was a son of Company Quartermaster Sergeant J. O’Brien, Leinster Regiment.

Philip Anderson O’Brien was born Philip Anderson on 15 August 1891 in India and he was a son of Alexander and Mary Anderson (nee Smith, aged 16, daughter of James Smith) who were married on 13 September 1886 in Fyzabad, Bengal, India.

Alexander Anderson (son of Robert Anderson) was a Colour Sergeant in the 1st Battalion, Leinster Regiment and he and Mary Anderson had 2 children:

Margaret (born 16 March 1888)

Philip (born 15 August 1891, baptised 25 August 1891 in St George’s Church, Agra)

Philip Anderson was less than two months old when his father Alexander died on 9 October 1891 (aged 32).  The cause of death was an abscess in the liver associated with dysentery.

On 28 January 1893 Philip’s widowed mother, Mary Anderson, married James O’Brien in India.  James O’Brien (aged 25, born Killaloe, Co Clare) was serving in India as a Corporal in the Leinster Regiment, Royal Canadians and he and Mary had one son:

James William (born 4 November 1893 in Deesa)

Philip Anderson retained his paternal surname as his middle name and took O’Brien as his surname – thus Philip Anderson O’Brien.

In 1901 Mary O’Brien (aged 31) and her three children were staying in Academy Street, Navan, Co Meath with Philip Smith, a soldier, his wife Elizabeth and their two children Alexander (aged 4 years 10 months) and Agnes (aged 1 year 10 months).  In 1911 James and Mary O’Brien were working together as steward and stewardess in Llandrindod Wells Golf Club, Wales.   After that Mary O’Brien and her family moved to 33 Springfield Road, Bangor, Co Down and during the First World War her husband, Company Quartermaster Sergeant James O’Brien, served with the Leinster Regiment.

Philip Anderson O’Brien joined the Leinster Regiment in July 1906 and became a Lance Corporal in September 1909.  He went to India with the 1st Battalion in September 1911.  He held an acting Schoolmaster’s Certificate and was appointed Schoolmaster-Sergeant in December 1913.  In October 1914 the Battalion returned to England for war service and in December 1914 he received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion.  He went to France and was attached to the 2nd Battalion.  On 31 January 1915 Second Lieutenant Philip Anderson O’Brien was wounded whilst superintending his platoon, erecting breastworks near Armentieres.

His Captain wrote, ‘I was with him for about two hours afterwards and he is a brave fellow; his one thought was for his men whom he was working with in front of our trenches.  The Doctor thinks he will be alright.  He has not much pain as the bullet is in the fleshy part of his back and he is quite cheerful and not worrying.  It is of course serious but not dangerous.  Your son has been with us for about a month and we were all pleased to have him with us – he was so cheerful and full of pluck, and popular with his men.  He is indeed a boy to be proud of and we look forward to his speedy recovery and return to the Regiment’.

Second Lieutenant Philip Anderson O’Brien did not recover and he was 23 when he died in hospital at Boulogne on 9 March 1915.  His mother Mary was his sole legatee.