William ORMESHER
Rank: Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 2nd Battalion ROYAL FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 7 December 1915
Age: 28
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

William was the second of the Ormesher's to die in 1915. Herbert Ormesher, understood to be his cousin, had been killed in October near the Belgian town of Ypres.

Born on 14 October 1887, he was the younger son of Henry and Mary of 1 Duke Street and, later, 6 Woodbine Crescent, Stockport. The family firm of T Ormesher and Sons was probably Stockport's largest firm of furniture removers. However, the family firm would not be William's chosen career. Educated at Brentnall Street School and Stockport Gramamr School, he attended Manchester University (and is commemorated on the University's War Memorial). He received his BA in 1907 and an MA the year after. After finishing his studies, he obtained employment as a teacher first in Blandsford, Dorset and then Leytonstone,. Before he enlisted into the army on 10 September 1914, he was working at Bridgnorth Grammar School.

His service file still exists at the National Archives and it shows that he was around average height for those days - standing at 5' 9" and needed glasses to read. He was otherwise fit and healthy. He was quickly selected to become an officer and received his commission into the 16th Battalion, King's (Liverpool) Regiment, but was attached for duty to the Royal Fusiliers.

The Battalion went into action at Gallipoli on 25th April but it is not known if William was with them or arrived as a replacement for casualties at a later date. Conditions for the troops were horrendous. As well as the obvious dangers from the enemy, disease and unsanitary conditions had to be contended with and many men fell ill. In the middle of August, William had to be evacuated to hospital in Cyprus suffering with debility and dysentery. Around the same time, he received news that he had been promoted to Lieutenant in recognition for work in supervising the repair of a trench whilst under heavy fire. After release from hospital , he spent some time at the depot (probably on the nearby Greek island of Lemnos). In his last letter home, he told the family that he had met Lord Kitchener who had been on a tour of inspection.

November saw William back with the Battalion and in the trenches. On the 26th, there was a downpour. Floods of rainwater poured down the hillsides, sweeping away barricades and drowning several men. It affected both the British and Turkish trenches and brought about an effective truce for the day. Orders quickly came that the Battalion had to hold the line at all costs in spite of the obvious difficulties. The water started to subside about 10pm and the men started to repair the defensive breastworks.

The next morning, the trenches were still deep in mud and only offering four or five foot of protection. The Regimental History records "The truce had ended as strangely as it had begun and anyone showing above the trenches was liable to meet the familiar fate. Captain Shaw was shot dead, Lt Ormesher was mortally wounded and with such object lessons the bitter discomforts of the trenches were made to seem preferable." 

William had been wounded in the abdomen and was taken to a field hospital near the beachhead and then to the port of Mudros on the island of lemons. There he is understood to have received further treatment. Abdomen wounds were extremely serious in those days and chances of survival were low. However, his condition was stabilised and he was boarded onto the Hospital Ship "Dunluce Castle" on his way to the fuller medical facilities at Malta. However, he died during the journey and was buried at sea.

William had left only a few personal effects - a cigarette case, cheque book and some letters. These were parcelled up to be sent back to his family, but they never reached Britain. They were on board the SS Persia - a civilian passenger ship which was torpedoed on 30 Decmeber 1915 with the loss of 343 lives.

   
           
   
     
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