Littleborough’s History

Private John Ormandy

John was born in Smithy Bridge in 1893 and in 1901 he lived with his parents John and Ellen and his 3 sisters and two brothers at 4 Bamford’s Place, Smithy Bridge. His father was a Cotton Warehouseman. By 1911 the family had moved to 20 New Road and by then only Harold and Stella and John remained in the family home. His father remained a Warehouseman and now John was a Bobbin Carrier in a winding room and was at one time a member of Littleborough Parish Church choir. Prior to enlisting in September 1915 John lived at 7 Rawlinson Street and was employed by Fothergill and Harveys. Private Ormandy was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Egypt. On the 22nd February 1917 his Bn embarked at Alexandria on H.M.T. Megantic for France (being attacked by torpedo on the 24th, fortunately, the torpedo passing astern of the troopship and the bow of the following ship) disembarked on the 28th February at Marseilles. In September or October 1917 Private John Ormandy 1st/6th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers (enlisted Rochdale) was severely wounded whilst serving with his Bn in Belgium. First news of Private Ormandy being wounded was by a letter from the Rev. C. C. Wilson (Chaplain of Hospital in France) stating that Private Ormandy “had been admitted to hospital seriously wounded” In the same month another letter from John (written in another hand) said “although suffering pain I am so far content. I do hope I may get home to England soon. I fear my fighting days are over for a long time to come”. Private Ormandy was invalided home to a hospital near Sheffield from which the chaplain the Rev. E. P. Blakeney wrote from saying “Private John Ormandy is suffering from a severe gunshot wound in the right shoulder and elbow, and underwent rather a serious operation last Thursday (date unknown) I am glad to say he is going on very well, but not yet out of danger although distinctly better and in wonderfully good spirits. He is very anxious that you should know about him.” Over the next few months a Mr Wilfred E Parkin (or Parker) wrote further letters on Private Ormandy’s condition. “John Ormandy is improving nicely and I should say well out of danger”. “Still improving, though yet very thin and weak, still he is improving and is brighter in himself”. “Improving steadily although he will be here some time yet. He is healthier in looks and it is indeed delightful to see the tenderness of his Ward Mates when helping to put him to bed”. “Underwent another operation. They have taken a lot of fluid from his lungs, and it was this which was holding him back”. “Improving nicely, he is still in bed although allowed to sit up a little each day”. “Still improving, and had been to a garden party in the hospital grounds to which he had to be taken in a bath chair”. “He has gone through a fresh operation. He is improving again. We must hope eventually, he will be restored to health and strength”. On May 2nd September 1918, 25 year Private John Ormandy 241759 despite surgical and medical help died as a result of the wounds he had received nearly twelve months previously, his mother Mrs Ellen Ormandy at his bedside when he died. With his death, his body was brought home and on the 7th September 1918 he was accorded at military funeral, the Rev. G. Oakley Conducting  the service in St Andrew’s Church, the Union Flag hung over the High Alter, the Choir Cross went before the coffin to the graveside where a firing party fired a volley over the grave. Wreaths came from his work colleagues and from the nurses, sisters and patients at Wharncliffe Hospital. His body lies in grave number M18 in Littleborough (Dearnley) Cemetery, a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Headstone with name, rank, number date of his death and his regimental insignia marking his resting place. Private Ormandy’s name is inscribed on Littleborough Cenotaph and remembered in St Andrew’s Memorial Card and War Memorial. A memorial service was held in his memory on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, at the end of the service the Dead March was played followed by the Last Post, the National Anthem and then the Marseillaise. The St Andrew’s Magazine for October 1918 included “With much sorrow we record that John Ormandy died in hospital (from wounds received in France a year ago) on September 2nd. He had passed through much suffering and many operations and all was done that medical science could effect but in vain. His mother was with him during the last few weeks to the end. John was an old Guild Boy and Chorister and Bible Class member and was confirmed in 1910. Our deep sympathy is with those who loved him. May he rest in peace. His time in hospital was much alleviated by the ministrations of the chaplain and by the great kindness of Mr W E Parkin of Sheffield, who with his boy Oswald constantly visited him and we know how grateful John’s friends are to the Rev E P Blakeney and to Mr Parkin and his little son. We hear too of the of the great care and kindness shown to him by Divisional Sister Holgate and Sister Blower who were constantly regardful of his sufferings and needs”. The magazine includes further details of the services for John and his funeral much of which has been quoted above. In his last letter (after the death of John) Mr Parkin (or Parker) wrote “I am so sorry this should be the ending of his long and painful struggle, but it was nice to hear from the men that he passed away peacefully and that he did not seem to bear a great deal of pain. The dear laddies in the ward were full of sympathy and it has been fine to see them in their labours of love for John Ormandy. I understand that out of their small stores of wealth they bought a wreath as a token of sympathy with their old friend”. (Mr Parkin/Parker wrote over 2,000 letters on behalf of wounded servicemen in the Sheffield Hospital). The Rochdale Observer for 11th September 1918 noted that he had undergone seven operations and that he was buried with full military honours.

A Littleborough Soldiers who fell during September 1918 – a story of hope and sadness

Private John Ormandy - A Littleborough Soldiers who fell during September 1918 – a story of hope and sadness