Roath Virtual War Memorial: O


Able Seaman, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Cromarty (Service Number: D/SSX 24305)

Melvin Edward O’Brien was born in Cardiff on 14 Mar 1920 to Stanley Thomas O’Brien, an engineer, originally from London and Florence May O’Brien nee Bonfield from Cardiff. When his parents married his father Stanley was serving as a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Cardiff Intermediate School on Newport Road which had been converted into a hospital for injured soldiers. In 1922 the family were living at 113 Cyfarthfa Street so probably the address Melvin was born. His mother Florence had already lost a brother in WWI and was to lose her father in the WWII blitz in nearby Crofts Street.  Melvin joined the navy aged 16 before the start of WWII.  He served on HMS Drake and then the minesweeper HMS Cromarty. He died on 23 October 1943 aged 22 when HMS Cromarty hit a mine and sank the waters between Sardinia and Corsica in the Mediterranean. The last contact the family had of Melvin was when his elder brother, Douglas, met him quite by accident in Tripoli a little while before his ship went down. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 79, Column 3).  Commonwealth War graves Commission record.

Melvin Edward O'Brien


Driver, Royal Army Service Corps (Service Number T/231570)

Michael O’Neil was born on 28 Nov 1909 to Edward O’Neil, a wharf labourer, from Cardiff and Catherine ‘Kate’ O’Neil née Connolly originally from Skibbereen, Co Cork, Ireland. In 1911 the O’Neil family were living in 25 Planet Street, Adamsdown and in 1939 at 30 Glenroy Street, Roath.  Michael attended St Illtyd’s school between 1923 and 1928. In 1939 he is working as an insurance agent and marries Dorothy Eleanor Balmer, a company secretary, in Cardiff and they live at 10 Four Elms Road, Roath . He joins the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver but is dies in what is now Israel on 8 Nov 1941 aged 31. He is buried at the Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel (plot S20).  He is remembered on the St Illtyd’s School War Memorial plaque now restored and in St Alban’s church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.