Next of kin plaque: Sapper Thomas O'Brien, 7th Field Company Engineers, AIF

Accession Number REL/15698
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1922-1923
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'THOMAS O'BRIEN'.

History / Summary

Born in Gulgong, New South Wales, Thomas O'Brien had trained as a railway engineer, and was employed as an engine driver on the New South Wales State Railway when he enlisted in the AIF on 6 September 1915. After training he was posted a sapper, service number 2694, to the 7th Field Company Engineers. He left Sydney with his unit at the end of November, aboard HMAT A23 Suffolk. After further training in Egypt the unit arrived in France for service on the Western Front in the middle of March 1916.

O'Brien was killed at Tara Hill, north-east of Albert, on 7 August. He was 22. He was buried on the hill in a cemetery that was initially called the Tara Hill Cemetery. In 1921 he was re-interred in the nearby Bapaume Military Post Cemetery, which was developed around the old Tara Hill site.

This commemorative plaque was sent to O'Brien's father, John M O'Brien, in April 1924.