Private Michael James O’Brien enlisted in the A.I.F. at Claremont on the 18th of May 1916 at 45 years of age. He was born at Sorell. He had blue eyes and black hair lined with silver and he was short with a light build. He was living in Smithton and working as a labourer when he enlisted. On the 8th of August 1916 Michael embarked on the HMAT A70 Ballarat from Hobart. By December 1916 Michael was serving in the trenches of France and spent most of 1917 in the bloody trenches of Flanders. In July, his battalion took part in the Battle of Messines and in October the Battles of Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele. On the 15th of February 1918 he took leave in the UK. He became sick whilst on leave and on the 26th of February he was admitted to hospital. On the 20th of April he rejoined the battalion where much of the fighting was in the Somme Valley. Michael returned to Australia aboard the H.T. Rio Padro on the 27th of May 1919. Michael was finally discharged on the 22nd of September 1919 classified as Medically Unfit.
Researched by Georgia-Alice Bunge and unveiled with Ms Madeleine Ogilve, MP, Opposition Whip