This was almost the first thing I searched on. We sort of knew that he had been Mayor of Hampstead, but not that it had been throughout the First War. In fact, from 1913 until his death in 1919 (six terms in total). He is easily identified in the garden party photo sitting next to the Cardinal. The decoration he’s wearing is a bit odd, and I suspect it’s possibly a papal decoration. He was granted a knighthood, but died before being done; but Lady OB was given the title anyway.
We also had pictures of him being the Mayor in the photo collection
The next thing I found was this obituary.
The Tablet, Page 28, 3rd May 1919
ALDERMAN ERNEST A. O’BRYEN.
We regret to record the death of Alderman Ernest A. O’Bryen, Mayor of Hampstead, which took place on Saturday night, at the age of fifty-three years, following on an operation from which he at first seemed to be progressing favourably. Educated at Stonyhurst and Cooper’s Hill, he spent some ten years in the Indian Forest Service in Upper Burmah, shortly after its annexation. He retired from the service in 1897 and married in the following year, Gertrude, daughter of the late Alfred Pursell. In 1913 he was elected Mayor of Hampstead, first Catholic to hold that position, and held it till his death. In 1916 he was President of the Stonyhurst Association and the same year was elected a Vice-President of the London Circle of the Catenian Association. During the war he took a leading part in making arrangements for the feeding and accommodation of Belgian refugees, and he also organised and equipped hospitals for the British Red Cross and St. John Ambulance. In 1915, Alderman O’Bryen was instrumental in raising the 183rd Howitzer Brigade and the 138th and 139th Heavy Batteries of Royal Garrison Artillery.
The funeral took place on Wednesday. The Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Dominic’s Priory, Haverstock Hill, by Father Bodkin, S. J. Among those present were Mrs. O’Bryen and her five children, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Winstanley, Captain and Mrs. Parker, Mr. Alfred Pursell, Mrs. Edwardes, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Bellord, Mr. Frank Pursell, Mr. Alfred O’Bryen, Mrs. Rex O’Bryen, Mrs. Basil O’Bryen.
This helped a lot. Working on an obvious hunch that everyone named is a close relation, and a bit of digging, we have the soon-to-be Lady OB with her four sisters and two brothers, two brother-in-laws, and it appears the wife of a brother-in-law. All eminently Googleable.
And not a difficult step to get to Dr John Roche O’Bryen, his father………..