Roy Ollerenshaw


Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys Regiment) 12777 9th Battalion
Machin Gun Corps 118273 2nd Battalion

Photo Lea Mills postcard

Rot Ollerenshaw in WW1

Roy was the youngest of the Ollerenshaw brothers who worked at the Mill and volunteered in August 1914. He worked in the warehouse with his brother, Denis, and left to join the forces on 21st August 1914. He was born in 1896 and was eighteen when war broke out. He was one of the Kitchener volunteers and joined the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys Regiment).
Like his brothers, he was posted initially at Belton Park. In the Parish Magazine, he is reported as being there on 23rd September 1914. In the next few months, during training, he gives a graphic account of the conditions there. In November he reported that ‘there are 1,100 in our camp, and 25,000 in the main camp’. ‘All three of us (Dennis, Fred, Roy) sleep in different tents, and only see each other for a short time at nights.’ He also attended Sunday evening services in the Parish Church at Grantham. In December, he wrote to say that ‘there is plenty of recreation for us at present, cross country running and football.’ It was not until February of 1915 that they were issued with rifles for target practice and it is clear that when B.S.A. rifles were issued in March 1915, these were seen as an improvement on the original issue ‘as we can manipulate the sights in the dark.’ He, too, was moved to Frensham Camp, near Farnham, in April 1915 from where he wrote ‘We are by the side of a lake which seems to add to the coldness’ but by May he relished the location more as they were having ‘bathing parades now the weather is warmer’. He sailed with his brothers from Liverpool Docks on 15th June 1915 as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force bound for the Balkans. He entered the Balkans on 16th July 1915.
We have no details of his experiences in the Balkans and the Gallipoli campaign until he reported on 30th October 1915 ‘everything is at a stand still now where we are. I was pleased to hear from Dennis and Fred being in England, as I had not heard from either since they went in Hospital.’ His brothers were equally concerned about Roy. In December 1915, Dennis was wondering where Roy and the regiment were on the withdrawal from the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign where the operation against the Turks to aid Russia had failed and was abandoned as a costly failure. But in March 1916, Roy was still with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force for on 5th March he wrote, ‘I can tell you it is not very nice in the sand – there are miles of it’.

However, on 15th August 1916, he was with the British Expeditionary Force in the Trench Mortar School, 9th Sherwood Foresters attached to 4th Army ‘with my officer Capt. Stevens. I like the place very well. It is something like Lea Bridge but no mill.’ In October, he reported, ‘I am getting good food and am fixed up in an old cart shed. I have made myself a bed with four legs, and the top is covered with wire netting and sacks.’

Roy was with the Indian Expeditionary Force in October 1918. On 30th October, he wrote ‘I expect you will know by now about Denis with me. (Dennis had been at M.E.F.Armad and had been wounded). He stayed about a fortnight. This is a Hill station. Quite a small spot. It is not every one who gets the chance so near the frontier. We have a lovely Church here and last Sunday we had the Bishop of Lahore. I’ve a slight touch of Flue ’(sic). He was still in India in May1919, where he wrote from Rowel Pindi and reported that he was on special duty on an Armoured Train and expected to be ‘staying on the burning plains for the summer.’ He was indeed still in India in July 1919. On the 14th he was with the Frontier Field Force. The Parish Magazine published his letter:
I am pleased to see Fred’s name with Jack’s as a Sidesman. Yesterday was Sunday, one out of a few I have spent in the Pass. The sun has been registering 128 in the shade. We have been pestered with flies, dust storms etc., and Cholera. I am in a Camp with walls all round, in case of being attacked. Our Camp is on a foothill by the side of the Pass, there being mountains about 1,600 to 2,800 feet all round, and at the foot dry River Beds, and excavated Caves of the Tribes-men. I’ve been since Dec. practically all over the Punjab and could relate some thrilling experiences.’

In September 1919, he told of his experiences at Landi-Kotal, Khyber Pass:
There’s a tremendous big camp here. Yesterday (September 18th) all our re-enlisted men were sent away, and I believe that we 1914 men are next on the list. We had a big stunt before coming to this place, blowing up a Fort of Chora. It was a hard days work and a big risk, but we had very few casualties. The General gave special praise to our Machine Gunners.’

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 29 August 1914

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

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.

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.

High Peak News 24 November 1917

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

Nov 5th
Somewhere in France
Dear Sir
Am sorry, I have not written before now, but have not had much time with one thing & another.  We shall be on the move in a day or two, as the fourth Army School is moving so I have plenty of work, packing my Officers things up.
I think the place where we are going will be better for us as we shall be just outside a large Town, the place where we are at present is something like Lea very quiet, we are just in sound of the guns, & it does seem nice to be away from it all for a while.
I suppose Fred is out again, I received a card from him yesterday to say that he was coming out again well I wish him the best of luck that is about all I can do.
I was very sorry indeed to hear about Mr. George Marsden-Smedley also of H. Marsh, I read about it in the Magazine, which I got from Mr. Wigram, I could hardly believe it.
Well Sir you mention in your letter about hosiery, I should only be to pleased for you to send me some, as both me & my Officer are bad of[f] at present.  I must now thank you for the kind parcel which you sent.  It was splendid, & and I enjoyed the contents very much, I gave some of my palls some of the cake & they all told me to thank you.
I think it is as you say the war is not over yet & that I may be some time away well we must hope for the best, I have been lucky up to now, but the job has to be done somehow or another, so we might as well stick it & with a good heart.
I think this is all hopeing you & all at home are quite well as I am in the best of health myself give my love to Mother and Jack
I remain
Yours very Truly
R. Ollerenshaw

Jan 9th.
39th CCStation
Dear Sir
Just a line to let you know, that I received, the splendid parcel, of which you sent me dated Dec: 14th.  I was so surprised when I received it as you see I am in Hospital & I never expected having any parcels or yet letters, but it seems I had some good palls & they forwarded it onto me, I also got a letter from my Mother & a card from Mr Wigram, so I thought I was doing well.
Well Sir I must thank you very much for the kind parcel, as the contents in it was splendid, & my mates in the Hospital all remarked what a good parcel it was.
I am in Hospital with some kind of shin complaint, but am pleased to say I am getting much better, & hope to be out very soon, for I do not care for being in Hospitals, it is the first time that I have been sick in all my soldiering but I am beginning to find it to much for me as I have not felt very well for some time now so I think a rest might do me good.
Well I think this is all, hoping this letter will find you all quite well at Lea Green, also wishing you all a happy New Year.
I remain
Yours very Sir
R Ollerenshaw




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

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