Saturday, 2 July 2016

23270 Pte William Ollerenshaw, 10th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers

I'm a little late in marking this centenary, but on 27/28 June 1916 William Ollerenshaw of the 10th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers was killed, aged 18,  in the build-up to the Battle of the Somme.  He was my Great Uncle.

The 10th Battalion was raised in Bury, Lancs, in September 1914 as part of Kichtchener's New Army.  It disembarked at Boulonge on 15 July 1915 as part of the 52nd (Infantry) Brigade of the 17th (Northern) Division.

I know practically nothing of the circumstances of Wiilie's death.  The Battalion War Diary (WO 95/2012/1 at The National Archives) only gives a few pages to June 1916.   Her are the events around Willie's death, which took part during the build-up to the great offensive on 1 July 1916.
Take over 20th Brigade Front from 2nd Gordons of 8th Division
Gas and smoke attacks and a practically continuous bombardment of the enemy by our artillery.  At times for an hour intensive.  Enemy replying by M.G. fire at night and a vigorous shelling of our trenches.  Casualties during this period - Killed - Wounded - Missing.*  That they were not greater due to the excellent trenches and 'dug-outs' and also the large extents of front held.
The Battn relieved by 2nd Gordons, 2nd Boarders of 9th Division
*Frustratingly, these details were never filled in.

Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt

William Ollerenshaw is buried at the Citadel New Military Cemetery at Fricourt.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission describes the cemetery
The cemetery is in the Northern part of a valley, running from Fricourt to the Somme, which was known in 1916 as "Happy Valley." It was begun by French troops and from August 1915, when the first Commonwealth burials were made, it was known as the Citadel Military Cemetery (Point 71). It was used until November 1916 and once in August 1918. The great majority of the burials were carried out from field ambulances before the Battles of the Somme. In the Autumn of 1916 the Citadel became a large camp for units withdrawn from the line.
He is also commemorated, along with 627 others, on the Stalybridge War Memorial which was unveiled in November 1921.  The memorial takes the form of a low curving wall, flanking Trinity Street - making an approach to the bridge over the Tame.  It's relatively difficult to take a photo of it, but the one below from this site catches it quite well.

The following members of 10th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers died on 27 June 1916

17116 Pte James BLINSTON 
15653 Pte Michael CARROLL 
14663 Pte Walter GIBSON 
27055 Pte Ernest HIPKIN 
5305 Pte Jonathan HOLT 
21142 Pte James MAGUIRE
23270 Pte William OLLERENSHAW
4092 Pte Norman PETER
6192 Pte John STANTON 
21494 Pte James STIRZAKER
5448 Pte Patrick WALSH 
5386 Cpl A WALTON 


  1. Interesting read! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Hi, My great uncle, Pte Tom Holmes,was in WW1 and I believe his service number 23270. Tom was in the 10th Battalion The York & Lancaster Reg. Please get in touch with me if possible. Andy 07896 678 654


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