Nelson Ormerod


Private 34755
8th Bn, East Lancashire Regiment

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Debt of Honour Register notes that "N. Ormerod" was the son of Mrs J.E. Hall, of 21 Rockcliffe Road, Bacup.

The Card Index to the First World War Army Medal Rolls records that Nelson Ormerod served with the East Lancashire Regiment as Private 34755, having previously served with the Lancashire Fusiliers as Private 16291.

He died on 17 April 1917, and is buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun (Grave Ref. III. B. 22).

Duisans and Etrun are villages in the Department of the Pas-de-Calais, about 9 kilometres west of Arras.

In April 1917, 8th (Service) Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, formed part of 112th Brigade, 37th Division, and was involved in the Arras Offensive.

During a blizzard on 11 April 1917, 37th Division had captured the village of Monchy-le-Preux, built on high ground, which provided the Germans with a commanding view of the Allied lines. The village was protected by wide bands of barbed wire, such as those which covered the Hindenburg Line, making an attack a very costly affair. A memorial to the 37th Division now stands in Monchy-le-Preux.

Nelson was wounded in Action on the 12 April 1917 and died at the 41st Clearing Station."

The Rochdale Observer of 28 April 1917 reported that:

"Information was received on Monday of the death of Private Nelson Ormerod, the only son of Mrs E.A. Ormerod, of Troughgate, Whitworth. Private Ormerod, who was 21 years age, joined the Bantams in December 1914. He was sent to France and wounded there. On recovering he was transferred to the East Lancashire. Again he was sent to France, and unfortunately he was seriously wounded on the 12th of April, having one leg shot off, and injuries to the head. These wounds proved fatal on April 17th. Before enlisting Private Ormerod was employed as a spinner at the Ross Mill, Bacup. Previously he was at the Freehold Mill, Shadworth."

The Battalion War Diary for the 8th East Lancs for the period 9 - 12 April 1917 records:

"Summary of Operations between 9th and 21 April 1917


Battalion marched from WARLUS to Assembly Area near PORT D’AMIENS ARRAS where fighting equipment was completed.

9.15 am March continued to Old British Front Line NORTH of CAMBRAI Road in Square N.29

1.50 pm Advanced to BLACK LINE

3.0 pm Continued forward to Assembly Area WEST of BLUE LINE in Square H.21.b

5.15 pm Battalion left Assembly Area WEST of BLUE LINE to reorganize in road joining FEUCHAY VILLLAGE and FEUCHY CHAPEL in Squares H.33.d and N.3.b.

Advance was started in Artillery Formation. A. Coy RIGHT FRONT. B. Coy LEFT FRONT. C. Coy RIGHT SUPPORT. D. Coy LEFT SUPPORT … the leading companies reached a line H.33.a.5.0 to H.33.c.5.0 when M.G. fire was opened on the Battalion by the Enemy from the BROWN LINE. Companies then opened out into Extended Order and continued advance by rushes from shell holes until the road in H.33.a was reached where A & B Companies formed up in a line with "C" in Support in Shell Holes about 200 yeards in rear "D" Coy was in TILLOY LANE.

Lt Col. Hon. I.M. Campbell went forward and consulted with the Commanding Officer of 9th Bn Essex Regt. And it was decided to attack the BROWN LINE. The Essex were to lead and A & B Coys 8th E. Lan. R. were in support. The attack did not materialise.

At 8.0 pm again it was decided to carry out a Bombing attack and on the BROWN LINE. Captain F. EDMONDSON commanding "A" Coy arranged his company into two Bombing Groups with Lewis Gunners and Riflemen following in rear. The plan of Attack was as follows. No. 1 Bombing Group was to advance up TILLOY LANE and Bomb to the RIGHT and LEFT in the FRONT LINE in the BROWN LINE.

No. 2 Bombing Group advance along C.T. in N.3.b.8.5 - N.4.a.45.75. Bomb to the LEFT get into touch with No. 1 Group. Essex Regt. were to support a Third Party to work up the same C.T. and bomb to the RIGHT. This part did not turn up. Commanding Officer was informed half an hour after the Attack was to start that their men were too tired.

Two Lewis Guns were to assist. One posted at N.4.a.35.95. and the other at N.4.a.35.55. Their task was to keep up a continual fire on the enemy parapet to prevent the enemy standing up and throwing Bombs.

The attack was not successful. Battalion fell back and dug themselves in on approximately the original positions taken up, in touch with 10th Royal Fusiliers on LEFT and 6th Bedfords on RIGHT.

At 4.0 am orders were received to fall back on our original organisation position and prepare to pass through the 12th Division after they attacked and captured the BROWN LINE at 8.15 am.

The attack was postponed until 12 noon, at 1.30 pm orders were received to advance for the attack on the GREEN LINE as in original instructions but with RIGHT on CAMBRAI ROAD.

Battalion advanced in Artillery Formation with scouts preceding the First Wave, A & D Coy, B & C in SUPPORT. There was some delay in getting touch with 10th Royal Fusiliers on LEFT, who were delayed soon after passing crest in H.35.a & c and N.5.a & c. The enemy opened with artillery and M.G. fire from MONCHY LE PREUX, spur WEST of MONCHY - LABERGERE Road and from our RIGHT in direction of GUEMAPPE. Battalion advanced in Extended Order. Enemy could be seen digging in on a Line about 200 yards WEST of MONCHY - LABERGERE road.

5.30 pm the Battalion reached a line LES FOSSE FERMES to N.6.c.40 to N.6.c.4.7. and held up M.G. fire. The Battalion was in touch with 6th Bedfords on our RIGHT. Heavy fall of snow enables us to push out strong patrols and advanced our line to about N.12.a.60.16 to N.6.a.9.0.

About 6.0 pm a message was to O.C. 10th L. N. Lan. R. asking that his LEFT Company be moved to a position of readiness in rear of the Two LEFT Coys. This was done. The request was made in view of the fact that touch has been lost on out LEFT with R. Fus. R.

At 7.30 pm information was received that the Artillery were about to shell MONCHY and place a barrage on the MONCHY - LABERGERE Road. At 7.0 pm fire to last 30 minutes than Barrage to advance 50 yards every 2 minutes.

The Battalion was ordered to advance under the Barrage. Battalion advanced to attack at 8.0 pm but was only able to advance 200 yards owing to heavy M.G. fire. We dug in for the night, touch was regained with 10th Royal Fusiliers. After the advance we connected up with Lewis Gun posts and covered the gap between with one section 112nd M.G. Coy.

At 4.30 am 11th inst orders were received to advance and capture the GREEN LINE and HIGH GROUND in O.8. Central to Point N.13.b.95.70.

8th E. Lan. R. would be in support to 10th L. N. Lancs.

Company Commanders did not received orders until 5.5 am when they had advanced with 10 L. N. Lan. R. to LINE MONCHY - LABERGERE Road with advanced parties in SUNKEN ROAD in O.8.a & c and a few men holding a hastily dug trench about 200 yards EAST of MONCHY - LABERGERE Road.

Attack was held up by M.G. fire from GUEMAPPE and HIGH GROUND SOUTH and EAST of GUEMAPPE.

Battalion was relieved at about midnight 11 & 12th inst up to which time the situation had not altered except that Cavalry were on our LEFT between ourselves and the 11th Infy Bat in MONCHY.

Battalion arrived in ARRAS about 2.0 pm on 12th inst and moved in Buses at 10 pm to Billets in WANQUENTIN."

Nelson Ormerod is remembered in the Blackburn Roll of Honour of men and women who gave their lives in the Great War. He is also commemorated on the war memorial Beulah Methodist Church, New Lane, Britannia.

The Soldiers Died in the Great War Database records that Nelson died of wounds. The Database also notes that he was born in Stacksteads, and enlisted in the Army in Bacup.

Nelson's grave in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun

The 37th Division Memorial which stands at Monchy-le-Preux
9 April 1917 - Area of the 8th Bn, East Lancs, Advance (from British Trench Map 20-51BSW-4A-040317 and surroundings)
10 April 1917 - Area of the 8th Bn, East Lancs, Advance (from British Trench Map 20-51BSW-4A-040317 and surroundings)
11 April 1917 - Area of the 8th Bn, East Lancs, Advance (from British Trench Map 20-51BSW-4A-040317 and surroundings)