Name: Maurice O'Connell
Rank on discharge: Rifleman
Serial Number: 46476
Declared Birth details: Born Nov 4 1895 Auckland
Declared age: 25 years Old
Physical description: 5ft7in tall, Dark hair, Dark complexion, Blue eyes
Weight: 149 pounds
Marital status: Single
Next of Kin: Mrs Winifred O'Connell (mother)
Religion: Roman Catholic
Address at enlistment: Otahuhu Auckland
Educational Qualifications: Includes Forth Educational Standard
Previous Military Training: 3 Years with the AS cadets, Serving with 16 Waikato Regiment (Territorial regiment)
Maurice O'Connell enlisted in the NZEFon 4/01/17 in Aukland. He was 25 years old - reasonably mature for a soldier of the time. After 3 months of training at trentham Military camp he was shipped out to England on 26/04/17 and there he spent 8 months undergoing further training in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (reserve).
On 20/03/18 he shipped out to France with the 2nd Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
On 25 /03/18 he marched to Abeele where he was assigned to the New Zealand wing of 22 Corps Reinforcement camp. and on 27/03/18 he moved on to the New Zealand Entrenching Battalion. The Entrenching Battalion was established to absorb the reinforcements who were surplus to requirements for the meantime to the New Zealand Division. As a sort of 'reservoir' for the division it recieved not only infantry reinforcements but also reinforcements from all parts of the army. The Entrenching Battalions were used in the same way reinforcement units were, including being used in offensive actions, for constructing and garrisoning lines and strengthening weakened Englsih units.
However their primary job was digging the trenches. Entrenching was one way to dig a trench. The digging party stoood on the earth's surface and dug downwards. Being exposed to the enemy fire was dangerous work so it was carried out at night whenever possible.
The New Zealand division had spent the winter in the Ypres area of Belgium where it had worked to repair trenches in anticipation of a German attach in the spring. In March 1918 the division was sent south again to the Somme to halt a German breakthough near Amiens. The New Zealanders grandually gained the advantage and during a surprise attack on the 30th, they regained strategically important ground that overlooked the Ancre Valley.
02/05/18. Rifleman O'Connell was wounded in action. He was admitted to the No 56 Casualty Clearing station with bomb wounds to the left leg, right foot and left thigh. He was placed on the dangerously ill list.however by 5/05/18 he was much improved. and was able to be moved to No 12 General Hospital in Rouen where despite his multiple bomb wounds and gunshot injuries, he was removed from the Dangerously ill list and on the 15/05/18 he was sent back to the New Zealand General Hospital in Brockenhurst in England. There his left eg and right foot were amputated.
5/10/19 He embarkedfrom Torquay for New Zealand on the 'Arawa' and was discharged as no longer fit for active service because of his wounds on 14/12/19