Captain George Harold O’Kell

George Harold O’Kell was born in Ashton-under-Lyne on April 8, 1878.

Capt. George Harold O'Kell

He studied at the London College of Music and subsequently trained as a solicitor.  On June 27, 1906 he married Ann Tonge and Phyllis Margaret O’Kell was born on March 13, 1909 his wife dying in child birth.  By 1911 he was living in Ashton with his infant daughter, mother-in-law and a domestic servant.

On June 17, 1910 he was commissioned into the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment as a Second Lieutenant. Later that year, on September 28 he was promoted to Lieutenant and on October 18, 1913 promoted to Captain. Earlier that year, on January 28, he married Agnes Walton.

He sailed with the battalion to Egypt and served with them through their training and preparations for action. In November 1914 his son, Harold Walton O’Kell, was born in England but he sadly died seven weeks later. Captain O’Kell landed with the Battalion in Gallipoli on May 9, 1915 as 2nd in Command of “C” Company.

On June 7, 1915 he led the charge against one of two Turkish trenches with Lt. Albert Edward (Ned) Stringer. Lt. Stringer was killed. Attacking the other trench Captain Frank Hamer was also killed and so Captain O’Kell assumed command of “C” Company. Two weeks later he was invalided to hospital suffering from shell shock.  After two weeks in hospital in Egypt he was invalided to the UK where he arrived in August. He returned to light duties supporting the recruiting efforts in Ashton in early October and joined the 3/9th Battalion in Southport in early December just prior to their move to camp at Codford, Salisbury Plain.

He relinquished his commission on account of ill-health on January 15, 1919 retaining the rank of Captain.

Captain George Harold O’Kell died in Sheffield on June 2, 1947. He was 69 years old.