Very early, Great War Casualty (Nov.1st.1914), to Private William O’Keeffe, 2nd Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment. (1801026)


A fascinating piece of Great War history from the point of view of Private William O’Keeffe of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment. A Cork man, he died tragically on the Western Front, listed as “assumed dead” on 1st. November 1914.
This sale is for Pte. O’Keeffe’s 1914-1918 Silver War Medal. The medal is officially impressed “5046 PTE. W. O’KEEFFE. R. IR. REGT.” It comes with its original medal ribbon and five primary source (soft copies) of research.

In stock


For sale, a nice mint condition British War Medal to William O’keeffe from Cork.

He served with the Royal Irish Regiment and landed in France during the early stages of the Great War. He must have been one of the few survivors from the regiment. Having landed at Boulogne on the 14th August 1914, he saw action at the Battle of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne, Le Pilly etc.

We can not say for certain what happended to Private O’Keeffe. It is possible that he may have been taken prisoner, it’s also possible that he died by suicide because only the medal roll shows him “assumed dead” on the 1st Nov 1914. I can find no other mention of him in the CWGC. Is it possible that he was a deserter considering the fact that the surviving documentary research to date, does not include him on the Commonwealth War Graves data base. Is it possible that this is an oversight, and his death was accidentally omitted from the register. Only further research may establish the precise circumstances surrounding his death in 1914.

This medal makes for a great research project for an early casualty who survived the famous battles at the outset of the war.
This medal is sold with a soft copy of the following primary source documents which will be emailed to the purchaser.

(1) UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 for William O’Keeffe. This document lists O’Keeffe as “assumed dead 1.11.14”.
(2) UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 for William O’Keeffe
(3) British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920. This MIC shows that O’Keeffe entered the Western Front Theatre of war on 31st. August 1914. He served with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. He was also entitled to the 1914 (Mons Star) and Bar and the Great War Victory Medal.
(4) Army Register of soldiers effects. This document indicates that Private William O’Keeffe came from Cork.
(5) 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment War Diary extracts around the time of William’s death Oct/Nov. 1914.