|Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment)||12776||9th, 10th & 2nd Battalions|
|Tank Corps||75278||1st Battalion|
Photo Lea Mills postcard
Fred Ollerenshaw was born in 1894 and volunteered at the outbreak of World War 1, along with Dennis and Roy. They are each named on the list of volunteers that appears in the Directors’ Minutes of the meeting at Lea Mills on 17th August 1914 and this is confirmed in the report of a public meeting in the Parish Magazine. He was a clerk at Lea Mills and was aged twenty-one years and 340 days when he enlisted. He joined Kitchener’s army and left on 18th August to join ‘B’ Company 9th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters. The records show him as Lance Corporal Fred Ollerenshaw, No. 12776 and by September 5th he was at Belton Park, Grantham for training. In October of 1914, he was promoted to Corporal. In November, he reported on his vaccination and inoculation and on the conditions at Belton Park, ‘The Camp is in a fearful state owing to the weather.’ On the 15th January 1915, he was promoted to Lance Sergeant and he reported on the improved conditions at the Camp, saying that ‘the weather (is) much better and the wind blowing strong, making us much fitter’. By April 1915, he had transferred to Frensham Camp, Farnham in Surrey and thought that he might be posted to Constantinople ‘for this place is like a desert’ and by May he was anxiously awaiting overseas posting. He sailed from Liverpool Docks, along with Dennis and Roy, as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) ‘B’ Company 9th Sherwood Foresters 33 Brigade 11th Division. In the Parish Magazine, there is his report of the journey out:
‘At last we are on our way to do our bit. Up to now the voyage has been both exciting and interesting, but the temperature I should think is anything up to 100°. You could drink pop all day. Every day however one gets more used to the climate. It reduces one in weight. I am about as far through as a tram ticket.’
He entered the Balkans Campaign in Gallipoli in July 1915.
The Dardanelles campaign was well under way by that time and the allies had taken tremendous casualties. It appears that Fred was part of the British landing at Sulva Point on 6th August because by September 1915 he was back in England in the Lord Derby Hospital, Warrington in No 6 Down West and, by 22nd September, he reported that he was improving. He has been invalided back from the Dardanelles, suffering from dysentery. He wrote at some length from the hospital between 2nd and 15th September to the Vicar of Christ Church about his experiences.
‘We had a rough time on the peninsula. Our regiment did splendidly and earned the highest praise from the General. We held on for 7 days, with our strength greatly diminished. Many a time I heard men, whose apparent thoughts were not towards God, say, “I prayed as I never prayed before”. People at Home in England cannot imagine the feelings when the order “Stand to” comes down the line. The enemy commences blazing away as if the whole issue depended on the ammunition they expended, and there you stand with rifle in hand; Ready.’
He sailed again in February 1916 in 10th Sherwood Foresters 17th Division as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and on 9th March 1916 ‘Up to present France is better than Gallipoli, especially with regard to food supply’. On 13th April 1916 he was promoted to Sergeant and Lance Sergeant J. Halksworth, a former colleague in the village, reported that the battalions in which they were serving were quite close to each other. Fred reported on 22nd April that he had dropped ‘across Harold Marsh’. On 30th June 1916 Fred reflected,
‘Just a year ago to-night Dennis, Roy and I weighed anchor in Liverpool Docks in our journey to the Dardanelles. To-night, I am again looking forward to something exciting’. He also reported that he had not only met Sgt. Halksworth but also Pte. Gaunt and that he had sent Harold Marsh to see him. The muster was for the Battle of the Somme, although he does not say this.
Fred went into action on 2nd July and was wounded and invalided on 7th July. On 13th July 1916 he wrote from the Military Hospital,
‘We went into action on 2nd July, capturing 900 Prussian Guards, 3 Whiz Bangs, and several Machine Guns, besides Trench Stores. Through this we went successfully and had the pleasure of being the first through ----. This action lasted 4 days. The second action commenced on July 7th. We were first in line. They gave us a gruelling. I saw Harold Marsh; he was in excellent spirits. I said “We are over the top in five minutes. He said “Trés bon”, I said “Wee”. We had only 100 yards to go when up went the signal lights, and the air became thick with every conceivable shell and projectile. We held on, absolutely without cover, for half an hour. In the excitement, I did not know I was hit until I started to go back. No bones broken’.
He was in hospital in Colchester with gun shot wounds to the left thigh and was there from 11th July to 19th August 1916.
Later in August 1916 he returned to service in the 12A Reserve Training Battalion and, on 16th September he wrote, ‘This week a request has come for volunteers for B. West Africa. I sent in my name. If I get there I think it will be a unique record for Lea. Three of us in Gallipoli, one in Egypt and France, one in Mesopotamia, and I France and B.W.Africa. I have been built up on Africa ever since the Atlas Mountains. I have no fear. It is a splendid feeling to have. One can look any person in the eye without having a prick of conscience. I hope you will remember me in your prayers. It is a great comfort to me. On the great Somme Battle, having made my request to you to remember me in your prayers. I do not think I ever felt any sensation of fear. In Africa the great thing is disease. In the Litany, I believe there is a special prayer regarding the protection from disease’.
In October 1916, he sailed again with ‘C’ Company 9th Platoon of 2nd Sherwood Foresters, once more heading for France with the B.E.F. In November, he wrote once more. ‘Tom Radford and Charlie Newton, from Lea are in my Platoon. Sam Crooks and Tom Slack I often see. I applied for R.F.C. (Royal Flying Corps) as aerial gunner but nothing came of it. I then had a shot for the Tanks, result not yet through’.
He was successful in this last application.
By December 1916, he reported that he was sitting with Arnold Hall, who was his Orderly, and that they did not receive Christmas parcels, probably because they moved just before Christmas. On February 20th, Gunner A Hall reported that ‘Fred is keeping his reputation as a footballer’. We do not hear of him again until 13th January 1918 when he wrote, ‘I had a pleasant surprise a fortnight ago. I attended service in the YMCA local hut, and who should take the service but Rev F Windley (the former vicar).’Fred also confirmed that he was playing football. ‘I played football on the sands (yesterday) and as my position is “goal” I had rather a cold time’. By 25th January, he had lost his voice, which, as a Sergeant, he found annoying.
He wrote again on 30th March. ‘I expect every one in Blighty has the wind up somewhat, but I think they need not fear much. The calm confidence and determination of the boys creates the greatest admiration and dispels at once any sneaking fears as to future clashes. I was fortunate in meeting Sam Gregory and George Allwood. I obtained information that Frank Peach was in the district. I have not yet been successful in discovering him, though the task should not be difficult. Up to now each burly man has turned out to be an artilleryman’.
Photo Lea Mills postcard
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 01/07/15
Army Service Record
Born 1894; enlisted 18/08/14 aged 21 years 340 days a clerk. He was 5ft 10½ in tall and weighed 124lb. He had bad teech but they were suitable for mastication. Had dysentry in September 1915.
11/07/16 to 19/08/16 he was in Colchester Hospital with gun shot wound to left thigh
In 19/03/22 appealed against the assesment of his gun shot wound
High Peak News 29 August 1914
MEN FOR THE NEW ARMY
THE VALUE OF DRILL
To the Editor of the High Peak News
Sir, – You were good enough to publish a short letter from me a fortnight ago about drilling young men willing to join Lord Kitchener's Army. In case it should interest any of your readers, I send a letter from one who has joined.
The need for men is now greater than ever, and every argument used to induce young men to join and give then opportunities to learn the rudiments of their work at once. – I am,
Your obedient servant,
Willersley, August 26th 1914
Dear Sir, – Many thanks for your kind letter. I am pleased to say things are improving splendidly. We are now dining in the barrack mess-room, and we get much better food. We have been moved from our original tent, but we are still together, and have got amongst good company in our new abode (still a tent).
You ask – "Is the drill we had at Cromford useful to us?" I need hardly answer this myself, but will quote the words of the Corporal on our first parade. He said – "Ain't some of you fellars been on parade before, you seem smart." I told him we'd not been on parade before here, but had been instructed by Mr Richard Arkwright, before we came down. He said "I thowt so." This will show you how beneficial the drill at Cromford has been to us. You may tell all the squad that, when they have been down here two days and get used to the run of the place, things are absolutely ripping; your spirits rise a great deal higher on this rough and ready living than by eating tarts and tandadlins.
We are looking forward to being drafted anywhere, and I feel sure that when the time comes, we shall endeavour to do our very best to uphold the tradition of every good soldier.
We all send our respects to Mrs Arkwright, Mr Richard and yourself, not forgetting Mr Read and Mr O'Dowda – Yours respectfully,
PS – we have just returned from having hot baths. We are also looking forward to proving ourselves at the butts.
High Peak News, Saturday April 3 1915
LEA BRIDGE PATRIOTS
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
LEA AND HOLLOWAY
A SAD TRAGEDY
WELL-KNOWN RESIDENT FOUND HANGED
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
BRAVE BROTHERS OLLERENSHAW
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!!
ENJOYING A BRIEF REST
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.
A LOT OF MATLOCK CHAPS
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
LEA AND HOLLOWAY
BROTHERS HOME AGAIN!
LCE-SERGT F. AND PRIVATE DENIS OLLERENSHAW
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
LEA AND HOLLOWAY
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.
High Peak News 26 May 1917
LEA AND HOLLOWAY
LOCAL SOLDIERS WOUNDED
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.
High Peak News 24 November 1917
LEA AND HOLLOWAY
BROTHERS IN ARMS
Home this weekened is Sergt F. Ollerenshaw, of the Tanks. He has seen a great deal of service right from the commencement of the war. There are three brothers Ollerenshaw in the Army, the others being Dennis and Roy. All three were in the Gallipoli campaign; then Sergt F. Ollerenshaw went to France, Dennis to Mesopotamia, and Roy has now gone there too. It was a happy meeting the other day after two years absence of the brothers F. and Roy in Birmingham. The best of luck to all three
Letters to JB Marsden-Smedley
August 28, 1917
Dear Mr Marsden Smedley
I wish to thank you very much for the parcel I have just received, along with the best wishes of yourself and Mr Arthur. Great pleasure was added by the fact that I was in an out-of-the-way position, where such luxuries are unobtainable,
I notice you addressed the parcel to the Heavy Branch. This no longer exists-The new address is No. 1 Tank Salvage Coy, Tank Corps B E F
I am this week doing a/QM Sgt. while the 9th is in England home. Quite a nice change.
Well Sir I must close
F Ollerenshaw Sgt.
To Messrs John Smedley Ltd
I have great pleasure in acknowledging the safe receipt of your splendid “Tuck Box", for what please accept my very best thanks.
At the moment I am fortunately placed, but tomorrow I may be anywhere so I must thank my lucky stars that the parcel came today.
Wishing the firm continual success & prosperity
F. Ollerenshaw Sgt.
1st Tank Field Coy, Tank Corps
1901: Lea Bridge
|Margery A||Ollerenshaw||daughter||17||Winder factory||Crich|
|John||Ollerenshaw||son||15||Wool sorter factory||Holloway|
|Henry||Ollerenshaw||son||13||Wool washer factory||Holloway|
|Margery Ann||Ollerenshaw||daughter||27||Universal Winder||Crich|
|Fountaine John||Ollerenshaw||son||25||Under carder||Holloway|