James Ormerod


Private 2432
1st/5th Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

James was the husband of Fanny and father of John Robert Ormerod, and was resident in Guisborough and working as an ironstone miner at the time of the 1911 Census. He was born in Bacup, and was the son of John and Mary Ormerod.

James first joined the Army in March 1899, when he joined the Army Service Corps in Preston. At the time of his enlistment, he gave his occupation as collier and stated that he was serving in the Militia (3rd Bn, East Lancashire Regt). He was just over 5 ft 4 in. tall and weighed 126 lbs when he joined the Army in 1899.

James served in South Africa during the Boer War (between October 1899 and February 1902), and during this time he was convicted and imprisoned for using insubordinate language to a superior officer whilst on active service. He was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with 6 clasps, and the King's South Africa Medal with 2 clasps.

James married Fanny McLean in the Parish Church in Guisborough on 3 February 1906, and they had a son, John Robert Ormerod, born on 9 August 1906.

He was discharged from the Army in March 1911, before re-enlisting at the beginning of the First World War.

James was killed in action on 28 May 1915 and is buried in Grave D. 2. in White City Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France. Bois-Grenier is a village about four kilometres south of Armentières.

At the time of his death 1st/5th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry formed part of 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division. The Division had only arrived in France between 12-19 April 1915.

In British Battalions on the Western Front January-June 1915, Ray Westlake describes how 1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were part of 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division, which became 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division on 12 May 1915.

They moved to Southampton and landed at Le Havre on 13 April 1915. They then moved to Berguette, Merville then billets near Doulieu.

They began instruction, and then toured in No. 6 Section, Fleurbaix sector. During this time they rested at La Gorgue.

Around the time of James' death, the Battalion was in trenches at Bois-Grenier, and had had a difficult time facing considerable German shelling and trench mortar fire, whilst trying to push their trenches forward, and attempting to occupy a ruined house in front of their lines, which had been used by German snipers.

On 28 May 1915 the Battalion War Diary notes: "A much quieter day + a good deal of work was done on new trench. One man killed + one wounded. Relieved by 4th K.O.Y.L.I. about 9 p.m."

On 29 May 1915 the Diary records: "In billets, resting + cleaning up after a strenuous 8 days in the trenches."

On the Commonwealth War Graves Debt of Honour Register, James is simply noted as 'J. Ormerod'.

The Soldiers Died in the Great War Database records that James was born in Bacup, but enlisted in the Army in Doncaster.

There is an inscription on Guisborough War Memorial, in the historic North Riding of Yorkshire, to James Ormerod of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

James' grave in White City Cemetery, Bois-Grenier

James' name commemorated on the war memorial at Guisborough, Yorkshire