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Desmond Patrick O'Brien

Studio portrait of Desmond P O'Brien s/n 804812. No Known Copyright.

Studio portrait of Desmond P O'Brien s/n 804812. No Known Copyright.


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Desmond Patrick AWMM
  • Surname
    O'Brien AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 804812 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    23 July 1906 AWMM New Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    104 Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs K. O'Brien (wife), 104 Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    10 January 1939 AWMM Married AWMM
    Katherine Smyth AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM
    Died on active service after being shot by a private soldier, a member of the hospital guard. Source: Evening Post, Volume CXL, Issue 137, 7 December 1945, Page 6 AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Desmond O'Brien was the son of John and Mary O'Brien of Auckland City, New Zealand. He married Katherine O'Brien (nee Smyth) and they had two children, Maureen and John.

    Educated at Marist Brothers School, Vermont Street and Sacred Heart College, Richmond Road, Auckland (1920-26)
    Graduated from Otago University Medical School in 1930 and worked at Auckland Hospital, later training as a surgeon at St Bartholemew's Hospital in England.
    Returned to NZ as Deputy Superintendant of Kawakawa Hospital and later Medical Superintendant of the Bay of Islands Hospital.

    At the outbreak of WWII he volunteered and joined the NZ Medical Corps. 1945 he was shot and killed by a NZ sentry who was convicted of his murder. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    29 April 1945 AWMM
    Age 38 AWMM
    MaadiEgypt AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt AWMM 4. H. 16 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

Roll of Honour

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  • External links
  • References
    • Cooke, P. (2001). Defending New Zealand: ramparts on the sea 1840-1950s. Wellington, N.Z.: Defence of New Zealand Study Group. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 9 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1942 to 31st December, 1942). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 9: WW2 298 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 13 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1944 to 31st March, 1944). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 13: WW2 92 AWMM
    • The Auckland Star AWMM
      Surgeon Killed, Volume LXXVI, Issue 102, 2 May 1945, Page 6 AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family AWMM
    • Nominal Rolls - Embarkation N-Force [Norfolk Force Embarkation Rolls], Archives New Zealand, Wellington, AAYS 8638 AD1/1428 (R22440218) AWMM
    • Gillespie, O. (1952). The Pacific. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM

The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

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