James Thomas Ormerod


Private 11028
2nd Bn, Border Regiment

James died on 18 December 1914 and has no known grave. His name is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial (Panel 6), Belgium.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website describes how "the Ploegsteert Memorial commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. The original intention had been to erect the memorial in Lille. Those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare which characterised this part of the line, or in small scale set engagements, usually carried out in support of the major attacks taking place elsewhere"

At the time of James' death 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment, was attached to 20th Brigade, 7th Division.

At  6.15 pm on 18 December 1914 "A" and "C" Companies of the Battalion attacked the German lines. The left of the advance was on the road running southeast of La Cordonnière [sic] Farm, and the right on the Sailly-Fromelles road.

There were heavy casualties from German fire and from their own barrage. The enemy trenches were reached but the British forced to retire. Survivors were collected by Captain Warren, who, with two platoons of "B" Company resumed the attack. This was checked by un-cut wire and they were again forced to withdraw.

Captain Askew was killed in enemy's line, and his cap returned by the Germans with note informing the battalion that they had buried the body and put up a cross to the memory of - "a very brave British officer."

Captain Lamb was fatally wounded, and other casualties included Lieutenant Kennedy and Second-Lieutenant N. Castle wounded. 110 other ranks were recorded as killed, wounded or missing, and "A" and "C" Companies retired to Sailly.

Lance-Corporal Brewer and Private Clare awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal for bringing Captain Lamb in under heavy fire during this action.

In British Battalions in France and Belgium 1914, Ray Westlake recounts the activities of 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment. These details, to the end of December 1914, can be found by clicking on the link below.

2nd Battalion, Border Regiment in France and Belgium 1914

The Soldiers Died in the Great War Database records that James was born in Shaw, Oldham, and enlisted in the Army in Oldham. He was killed in action on 18 December 1914.

James' name commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial

A map of the area in which James was killed (from British Trench Map 20-36SW-3-OSO1915)

The view from the La Cordonnerie area, towards the Sailly-Fromelles Road. The area in which James' battalion was attacking on the date of his death.

La Cordonnerie Farm, taken from the Australian Memorial Park at Fromelles (on the Sailly-Fromelles road)