Denis Ollerenshaw


Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment) 12778 9th Battalion
Northumberland Fusiliers 53109 2nd Garrison
Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment 2377 3rd Coy

Photo Lea Mills postcard

Dennis Ollerenshaw in WW1

Denis Ollerenshaw was born in 1890 and volunteered at the outbreak of World War 1, along with his brothers Frederick and Roy. Dennis was one of those listed as volunteering at the public meeting held at Lea Mills on 17th August 1914. He had worked in the warehouse papering department and left on 21st August 1914, aged twenty-four. He joined Kitchener’s Army and was posted to the Notts and Derby Division of the 9th Sherwood Foresters, based at Belton Park, Grantham.
He gives quite a graphic account of the early preparation and training soldiers received at Belton Park. They were living under canvas for some months and in January 1915, he reported that there were ‘colds on every side, but they do not prevent us from training.’ He also reports on the church parades and on one in particular in November 1914, which was addressed by the Bishop of Southwell at Grantham. In February and March 1915, they were engaged in three day long exercises which involved sleeping in the open, in cart sheds and church halls in the Sleaford area, some fifteen miles from the camp. He came through these experiences well and moved to Frensham Camp on the Surrey/Hampshire border in April 1915 for more specialised training in trench warfare. In April and May, he wrote of making elaborate trenches, covered with heather and of practising ‘heavy manoeuvring with artillery, cavalry and many kilted regiments.’ Again many of the exercises were ‘under the stars’. Although the work was ‘heavy’, he was excited by the realism of the exercises ‘with artillery firing four miles distant, the signallers flashing helio messages to them.’ He also went with a storming party ‘and threw bombs for them: we created a terrible din.’
He sailed with his brothers from Liverpool on 15th June 1915 and entered the Balkans Campaign in Gallipoli on 16th July 1915. On 20th August, he recorded that he was ‘well at present’ but also ‘the regiment has suffered greatly in action. We have lost a good many officers.’ However, on 15th October 1915, he was invalided from the M.E.F. and was in the Toxteth Military Hospital, Liverpool. He rejoined his regiment in November 1915 and was posted to Normanton Barracks, Derby. He was at home in Lea Bridge for Christmas 1915 and was expecting a new posting. On 23rd December, he wrote ‘ I proceed to ------- next week. We have just heard from Roy (one of his brothers), and we are wondering where he is now they have withdrawn from ------.’ (Roy had been in Gallipoli with Dennis and Fred and was one of the last of the withdrawals from that abortive campaign).

According to the Parish Magazine, Denis Ollerenshaw sailed early in 1916 No 23277 Kings Own Royal Lancasters, M.E.F. According to the record in Lea Mills, he is listed as Pte Dennis Ollerenshaw No 53109, attached 2nd Garrison Northumberland Fusiliers, c/o M.E.F.Base, Mesopotamia.  He was certainly serving in Mesopotamia and he wrote on 23rd March from M.E.F. ‘Just a card to say I have come through the operations here all right’.

Lea Mills had sent him parcels and he wrote from 3rd Coy. King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt to say that he had received the foodstuff and underwear and to report that he had not replied earlier as he was on the move. By this time, he had learned of the death of ‘Master George’ and offered his ‘heartfelt sympathy to the Family.’ In June 1917, the Parish Magazine reported that D. Ollerenshaw had been seriously wounded in action. On 27th July 1918, he wrote to the firm from M.E.F.Amard on notepaper headed Army YMCA of India to explain why there had been delay in responding to the Company’s parcels. He reported that his correspondence had been lost for a time, as he ‘happened to be in hospital.’ ‘I got hit in the last action on 30th April, a splinter of a shell catching my eye: it as (sic) impaired the sight of the eye.’ This meant that he was being kept at base, ‘where I am sweating on a furlough to India, having had over twelve months in this awful climate’. He gained this wish as Roy records their being together at a hill station in October 1918.

Photo Lea Mills postcard

photo of Ollerenshaw brothers in Ww1

Fred Roy and Denis
They had consecutive Service Numbers in the Sherwood Foresters

Medal Card Index
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals.
He entered the Balkans 16/07/15

Newspaper Reports

High Peak News, Saturday April 3 1915

newspaper photo of theOllerenshaw brothers in WW1

These three yound men enlisted immediately after the outbreak of war last August, and every inhabitant of Lea Bridge is justly proud of them. The names from left to right are: – Lc.Segt. Frederick Ollerenshaw, Pte. Roy Ollerenshaw, and Pte,. Dennis Ollerenshaw.
The photograph is by Mr C. Bunting, Cromford

There was a family tragedy to hit the Ollerenshaw brothers. On the 10th July 1916 it was reported that their father, William, had committed suicide whilst depressed.

High Peak News, 10 July 1915

Sad news circulated in Holloway and Lea on Wednesday afternoon. This was to the effect that Mr Ollerenshaw had been found hanging by the neck, quite dead.
Mr Ollerenshaw was proud of the fact that he had several sons at the Front, and another going there to fight for King and Country. Mr Ollerenshaw was discovered in the washhouse by a son, Mr Jack Ollerenshaw.
Our correspondent states that Mr William Ollerenshaw had been ailing for some time before the War. He has three sons now with the Army fighting for King and Country. The deceased was a hosiery worker at the Lea Mills and resided at Lea Bridge. He was about sixty years of age, and it is believed was troubled about his sons at the Front, and the war generally. He leaves a widow and the sons referred to.

High Peak News 18th September 1915

There are three brothers Ollerenshaw, of Lea Bridge, serving King and Country with the Army at the present moment, and we congratulate their mother, Mrs Ollerenshaw, on this faithful record.
The brothers are Private Rory, Lance-Sgt F and Private Denis Ollerenshaw.
Letters to hand from two of the brothers will be of the keenest interest just now.
Under dates August 15th, Lance-Sgt F.Ollerenshaw of the Sherwoods, at the Dardanelles, writes to his brother: –
"Dear Jack, – Thank God we are all three safe. We have been through "How." You will see by the casualties in the papers that we had a smashing. We held position in spite of everything. My God. The memory of the last seven days is imprinted on my brain with extra ordinary vividness. My word, what gallant acts were performed. What bravery show. How lads face death, holding the line in spite of repeated onslaughts!!
We are
at the time of writing.
We had two posts in, but no letters from you. Chirrup, we look forward to the time when we shall return. During the past week I have a good many times thought it was all up. Jimmy Toplis and F.Holland were wounded (both from Cromford) andCheckley (Matlock) was killed.
We had only – officers left out of –.
Love to all. – Fred."
Private Denis Ollerenshaw, of the Sherwood's also other Dardanelles, Road under date August 20th as follows, from the Trenches: –
"Dear Marjorie and Ralph, – Just a short note to say I'm well and Roy also. We are together now, but Fred has been admitted to hospital, as he is very run down, but otherwise all right. They had a very rough week of it, and have only about –; the others are wounded or killed.
A great many of our chaps are lost. And we are only –. I was left behind guarding prisoners, so consider myself very lucky, when I see how the others look and hear of the casualties. J.Toplis, F.Holland, Harry Britland are wounded and have been sent away.
are wounded, and some killed, and Lance-Cpl Barbour of Rowsley is killed . I joined them a week later, and we had a severe time, but not like the other. Fred and Roy were in it, and must consider themselves lucky, for I don't think we shall have a time like that again. They have done very creditably. You must excuse is the state of this letter, as I am writing it on my knee in a dug-out ten yards behind the firing line, and it is most difficult to write or to get paper, and I am unwashed and ready to go out trenching soon. We are troubled with snipers, shells and Taube bombs, and keep losing an odd man now and again. But we are not troubled. I've no idea where Fred is, but he is well enough to write, so perhaps you will hear from him. The Derbyshire Yeomanry have come here, but we have not seen them yet. We have heard from none only mother, and parcels even come for the dead, but we await the few mails in vain. We exist on ten hard biscuits, bully beef, and jam, and are cut off from the world. We are between the Turks and the sea. Love to all. – Denis."
Good luck to all three.

High Peak News 2 October 1915

Home again! is good news for the friends of a soldier as well as for the soldier himself. There are three brothers Ollerenshaw at the Dardanelles, viz., Private Roy, Lce-Sergt F. and Private Denis
Last month we chronicled the fact that Lnce-Sergt F.Ollerenshaw had written his brother, Mr Jack Ollerenshaw, a letter which gave a graphic account of the fighting he had been in. At the same time his brother, Private Denis, wrote home that the Lce- Sergt had been admitted to hospital.
Both have now reached home, and are progressing satisfactorily we are glad to say. They are stationed in England for hospital treatment.
Good look to them.

High Peak News 22 July 1916

Ollerenshaw brothers in WW1

The above photographs are of the brothers Ollerenshaw. Sergt. F. Ollerenshaw, on the left is with the Sherwoods, and has been wounded in the knee in the Big Push, the bullet passing through the kneecap. He is now in Colchester Hospital and is going on nicely, we are glad to say. He has been at the front some five months after being on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The centre soldier is Pte. Roy Ollerenshaw, who also went all through the Gallipoli campaign, and the other one is Pte. Denis Ollerenshaw, who is in Mesopotamia. He also went through the Gallipoli attacks.

Derbyshire Courier, 26 May 1917
Mrs W Ollerenshaw, of Lea Bridge received news from the War Office on Friday last that her son Private Dennis Ollerenshaw, Royal Lancs, had been severely wounded in Mesopotamia on 5 May, and was now lying in the 23rd Stationary Hospital, Baghdad. The exact nature of his wounds has not yet been ascertained. Private Ollerenshaw has seen much service in Mesopotamia, and was one of the first to enter the city of Baghdad after a fall. In his letters home he relates how great the joy of the people was when the British troops first entered the city and in all places that have been captured they have been heartily greeted by the population. Along with two other brothers, Sgt Fred Ollerenshaw and Private Roy Ollerenshaw, he enlisted soon after the commencement of the war and all three successfully went through the Dardanelles campaign. Afterwards he was drafted to Mesopotamia. The two other brothers have been on service in France, but Private Roy Ollerenshaw is lying ill in a Nottinghamshire hospital.

High Peak News 26 May 1917

Denis Ollerenshaw newspaper photo in Ww1

Mrs Ollerenshaw, of Lea Bridge, received a letter from the War Office, on Friday last, saying Private Denis Ollerenshaw, of the Royal Lancashire's, had been severely wounded on 5th May, and is now in the 23rd Stationary Hospital, Baghdad. He has been in Mesopotamia just over a year. The mother received a letter from him a week ago, in which he said he'd been through all the fighting, and what a welcome they had in every place they had got to. Another brother, Private Roy, is in a Nottingham Hospital, suffering from burns received in France. Sgt F.Ollerenshaw is in France. This makes the third time out. All three fought at Gallipoli.

Letters to JB Marsden-Smedley

23277 Pte: Denis Ollerenshaw, 3 Company, 6th The KORL
March 13th/17
To Messrs. John Smedley Ltd.
Just a brief note, to thank you for two parcels I have received from you; one of food-stuff & the other, underwear.  I received them whilst on the move, which prevented my acknowledging them, ere this.  I am grateful for the consideration you have shown towards my people, & myself, during these troublesome times; & I deeply regret hearing the sad news, regarding, Master George Marsden Smedley; & I tender my heartfelt sympathy to the Family, for the loss of so promising a son.
I trust that our progress out here, may aford some satisfaction, & wish the firm success.  Once again thanking you for food received, as so little reaches us out here.  Believe me to be
your humble servant
Denis Ollerenshaw

[Notepaper headed: Army YMCA of India with YMCA logo]
British Advance Dep, M.E.F.  Amard
June 27th
Dear Sir,
Just a few lines, to thank you for a very nice letter you sent me in October of last year, & which I have only recently received; its delay is due to the fact, that I happened to be in hospital about that time, & so I lost my correspondence for a time.  You ask in the letter, what you are to send, when sending a parcel; well!  Sir, I hope you got my letter acknowledging the parcels you did send; I received two containing foodstuff, & the contents were both suitable, & acceptable; I only wish to say that the cake ought to be tinned as all cake sent out to me as gone wrong.
I am pleased to say I am very well at time of writing.  You will have read of our achievements out here; & I am proud to say I went through it all, & endured the big marches; I got hit in the last action on April 30th a splinter of shell catching my eye; it as impaired the sight of the eye, for the time being, & I am kept at the base, where I am sweating on a furlough to India, having had over twelve months in this awful climate.
I Trust all is well, both at Lea Green, & at the Mill.
Yours truly
Denis Ollerenshaw
P.S. It is not necessary to send out any undergarments; I received a parcel of vests in February.



1901: Lea Bridge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Ollerenshaw Head 43 FWK wool Crich
Mary Ollerenshaw Wife 46   Crich
Sidney Ollerenshaw son 19 Stone dresser Crich
Margery A Ollerenshaw daughter 17 Winder factory Crich
John Ollerenshaw son 15 Wool sorter factory Holloway
Henry Ollerenshaw son 13 Wool washer factory Holloway
Dennis Ollerenshaw son 11   Holloway
Frederick Ollerenshaw son 8   Holloway
Roy Ollerenshaw son 5   Holloway

RG13 piece 3267 folio 49 page 18

1911: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Ollerenshaw Head 53 FWK Crich
Mary Ollerenshaw Wife 56   Crich
Margery Ann Ollerenshaw daughter 27 Universal Winder Crich
Fountaine John Ollerenshaw son 25 Under carder Holloway
Henry Ollerenshaw son 23 Domestic gardener Holloway
Dennis Ollerenshaw son 21 Postman auxilary Holloway
Frederick Ollerenshaw son 18 Clerk Holloway
Roy Ollerenshaw son 15 Card minder Holloway

RG14PN21012 RG78PN1253 RD436 SD6 ED10 SN104

Denis Ollerenshaw's brothers Frederick Ollerenshaw and Roy Ollerenshaw also served in the Forces. All three brothers enlisted at the same time