Thomas Ormerod


Rifleman 242809
1st/6th Bn, The King's (Liverpool Regiment)

Thomas was killed in action on 30 November 1917, and has no known grave.

His name is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval (Panel 4). The Cambrai Memorial commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa, who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and whose graves are not known

At the time of Thomas' death 1st/6th (Rifle) Battalion, The King's (Liverpool Regiment), formed part of 165th Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

On 30 November 1917 the Germans  launched a counter attack at Cambrai, and successfully pushed back the British Third Army.

The Germans launched their assault at 0730 hours, and the attack was devastatingly fast and effective. By 0900 hours, the Germans had penetrated almost 3 miles towards Havrincourt Wood, and the Third Army faced disaster, with the real prospect of several divisions being cut off in the trap.

The first attack fell on the 55th (West Lancashire) and 12th Divisions, on the south-eastern side of the salient reaching towards Cambrai. The Germans climbed the slope to retake Lateau Wood, pushed up the complex of shallow ravines south of Banteux, moved through Villers Guislain, and past Gouzeaucourt.

The Battalion War Diary of the 1st/6th King's records:

"30/11/17 12 am Enemy very quiet. Shelling normal.

7 am Enemy opened a very heavy barrage on our front line and Support, which was followed by infantry attack. The BIRDCAGE and OSSUS WOOD sector fell into the enemies' hands, there being very few men left alive in the front line, from reports received, to offer much resistance after the barrage lifted. The Supports in HEYTHROD and CRUCIFORM POSTS offered stubborn resistrance, however, and succeeded in repelling the enemy, who then occupied LITTLE PRIEL FARM, but was eventually driven out of this position. The enemy coming down the CATELET VALLEY in large numbers succeeded in taking HOLTS BANK which was the Support POSTS on our extreme left flank. The RESERVE Coy in the meantime had reported at Bn H.Q. and the reserves supporting points were strenghtened - 1 platoon being sent to HOLTS BANK, but were unable to reach same as it was very strongly held. Our left flank was very much in the air and various flank defences were made, the 9 K.L.R. reinforcing us in the evening, We were then able to hold on. The shelling throughout the day was very heavy, and we were quickly enfiladed by M.G. fire. Approximate casualties, 9 officers

Capt G.D. Tyson, Lt R.R. Stewart, 2/Lt W.K. Davy, 2/Lt W.R. Smith, 2/Lt C.V. Watts, 2/Lt H.J. Cheppard, 2/Lt S.H. Webster, 2/Lt E.S. Rogers and 2/Lt V.R. Bowers all missing.

Other ranks 1 killed, 25 wounded, 223 missing (Total 249)."

The History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-1919 Volume III records:

"The night of the 29th/30th was exceptionally quiet, and although the troops had been warned that the enemy might attack, "stand to" on the 30th passed without any signs of the enemy. But at 7.5 a.m. the enemy's guns suddenly broke the stillness of the morning and soon a very heavy gas barrage was in progress near the left battalion of the 165th Brigade (1/6th King's), all roads and tracks in the neighbourhood being subjected to a very violent bombardment. Simultaneously with the barrage the enemy, in great numbers, attacked Fleeceall Post, Eagle Quarry and The Birdcage (roughly the centre of the divisional front) and the front-line trenches of the 166th Brigade ...

The 1/6th King's suffered very heavily from the enemy's barrage. They state that The Bidcage and the Ossus Wood Sector fell inteo the enemy's hands, "there being very few men left alive in the front line, from reports received, to offer much resistance after the barrage lifted." The supports, however, in Heythrop and Cruciform Posts were not so badly affected as to be incapable of resistance, for they put up a very stubborn fight and flung back the enemy, though they could not prevent him occupying Little Priel Farm; from that place he was eventually driven out. Great numbers of the enemy, pushing down the Catelet Valley, seized Holts' Bank and support posts on the extreme left flank of the 1/6th King's.

The reserve company had re-formed in the meantime at Battalion Headquarters, which were situated on the Lempire Road in rear of Heythrop Post. One platoon of this company was then sent to Holts' Bank, but they could not re-occupy it as the enemy was in too great a strength; the other platoon was sent up to strengthen various supporting posts. The left flank of the Battalion was very much in the air and various flank defences had to be improvised. During the evening the 1/9th King's reinforced the 1/6th and the latter were able to "hold on"."

The Soldiers Died in the Great War Database records that Thomas was born and resided in Oldham, where he also enlisted in the Army.

Thomas' name commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval
The area of The Birdcage (from British Trench Maps 20-57CSE&57BSW+62CNE&SE&62BNW&SW-2B-091117-Nauroy4)