Daniel O'Connell

O’Connell was age forty-seven when he enlisted, although the birth date on his attestation papers would have made him only age twenty-four.

Daniel O’Connell was a mystery to his family after war. In 1923, he and Theresa Reddy, his wife, were living with Mary (Mamie), their daughter, and her family in Saint-Eustache, Montreal. “Daniel just said ‘I’m going out to get the paper.’ Put his hat on and left. They never saw him again,” said Patricia Meko, O’Connell’s great-granddaughter. A few years later, Joseph, Mamie’s husband, saw O’Connell at a dance. “He said, ‘don’t tell Mamie that you saw me’ and walked out the door.” That was the last time anyone in the family saw him. “Nobody understands it,” said Meko. “I think Theresa was embarrassed that Daniel left but it seems that they didn't get along that well,” she said. “Mamie was upset, but I think she found him a bit difficult to live with too.”

Reddy continued to live with Mamie and her son-in-law, Joseph and worked as a tailor. Reddy eventually moved to Brookyln, New York and died in 1935.

O’Connell was forty-seven-years-old when he enlisted on July 20, 1915, from Montreal, although the September 16, 1891, birth date on his attestation papers would have made him only twenty-four-years-old. “We think that maybe the Newfoundland accent might have caused the misunderstanding or perhaps he did lie. We'll never know for sure,” said Meko. The Newfoundland-born man was hit by mustard gas in France and his family believes that it forever changed him. “When he came back from the war, (family members) said his personality changed,” said Meko. “He’s a mystery man.”

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