William O’Reilly was a soldier, stationed in India. He came back to Ireland and trained others for the Irish rebellion.
Married Kate in 1914. As a soldier, he was called up and sent abroad in 1914. He was taken prisoner and brought to Limburg were he was for two years.
His wife gave birth to a daughter in December 1914 and then died in April 1915 while William was in Limburg.
The maternal grandparents looked after the baby grand-daughter at first. William started corresponding with his sister-in-law, Annie, who was working in Preston, Lancashire. Some of the correspondence has been preserved. Annie decided to come back to Ireland and take care of her niece.
After 2 years in Limburg, William was sent to Lizern (???), Switerland as he was sickly. He was there for a year before he was sent back to the UK. He only made it as far as London where he was hospitalised. A sister from hospital wrote to the sister-in-law to say William was very ill and if Annie wanted to take the daughter, aged 2.5, to London they could arrange for a pass (part of collection). Tragically, William dies the day before his daughter arrives, so he never got to see her.
Annie and her brother Andrew never married but dedicated their lives to looking after their orphan niece.
Summary description of items
Pass for coming to London
picture of William in India
picture of Kate
Small wooden cat box, carved by William