Lance Corporal William O'Prey



William O'Prey was born at Castle Street, Comber, County Down, on 24 February 1894, third of three children of labourer John O'Prey and his wife Mary (nee Patterson). He grew up at Comber and by 1911 was working as a flax dresser.

O'Prey enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 10 or 11 November 1915 (No.1840). (Another man, John O'Prey, joined the regiment a week later – either his older brother or possibly a cousin from Comber).

After training at Antrim, in 1916 or 1917 O'Prey was sent to France where he was posted to either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and its men, together with some from the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the 9th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (which was renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion). Like most of the men, O'Prey was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41347.

O'Prey survived the war. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and as a fire warden.


William O'Prey on the right. The other man, labelled 'Jack', may be John O'Prey.


I am grateful to Dawn Corken, William O'Prey's grand-daughter, for providing these photographs.