Anthony Aloysius O'Connor - WWI

11:01:00 PM

100 years ago today my grandfather, Anthony Aloysius O’Connor, shipped out to France to fight in WWI. He departed on the SS Canada from New York as a member of the 306th Army Corps of Engineers.

Anthony O’Connor was inducted into the United States Army in on 29 May 1918. Two months later, on 30 July 1918, he boarded the troop ship Canadaheaded for Europe.

His family was living south of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in 1918 when Andy O’Connor shipped out - He listed his mother, Ellen S O’Connor, as the person to notify in case of emergency - address Mariana, Pennsylvania. 

The 1918 Manifest for the SS Canada is found here

Anthony O’Connor was living with his family at 132 West 109th Street in New York City on 5 June 1917 when he along with 24 million other young men were required to register for the draft in response to our entry into WWI.

This is the best early photo I have of Anthony O'Connor - taken in 1925 on his wedding day

Andy was 21 years old when he registered - I don’t know if he had completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Cooper Union yet, but he reported to the draft board that he was working as an electrician for the firm of Flynn & O’Rourke at 17 Battery Place.

Anthony O’Connor was inducted into the United States Army on 29 May 1918. From his discharge and service records, I knew that Andy O’Connor served in the 306th US Army Corps of Engineers.

There was a book written about the 306th regiment which details the training and activity of the soldiers serving in the 306th throughout WWI. It is available in its entirely, as a digital book, from the Library of Congress “Roster and History 306 Engineers

Andy O’Connor. Private First Class - Company “F” 306th Engineers - trained at Camp Sevier, South Carolina for six weeks. The regiment left Camp Sevier for shipment overseas on 15 July 1918 and was shipped out of New York City to Europe on 30 July 1918.

What follows are excerpts of the volume “Roster and History 306 Engineers”. There is much more detail in the book, including fascinating accounts of the regiment’s interaction with the French, the march to the front, and details about the six months in France after the Armistice on 11 November 1918 (at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918)

A high resolution panoramic photograph was taken of Company “F” 306th Engineers at Camp Jackson, SC after their return from France. The photograph is available at the North Carolina Digital Collection and can be examined in high detail there.

Company F, 306th Engineers Regiment, 81st Division, Camp Jackson, South Carolina

About a year ago several descendants of Anthony O’Connor examined the photograph, trying to find Andy O’Connor, and our best guess is shown below.

Andy O’Connor was discharged from Fort Dix New Jersey on 23 June 1919

Anthony Aloysius O’Connor was also registered by selective service for WWII. When the United States entered the Second World War a new Selective Service Act required all men between the ages of 18 - 64 to register - The Fourth Registration, for men born after April 28, 1877 and before February 16, 1897, became known as “The Old Man’s Draft”.

Update - 4 August 2018 - I posted this entry on our O'Connor Facebook page and Patrick Muldoon, grandson of Anthony O'Connor, had asked his grandfather about his time in WWI - Pat added the following comment on Facebook

"Patrick Muldoon - "I once asked him (as a little kid) if he ever shot any Germans. He laughed and said the only time he saw any Germans they were running a communication wire and they looked over and saw Germans doing the same thing going the other way. Since they were all engineers they just kept doing what they were doing and basically ignored each other."

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