5 August 2011

John Ormsby died at his home 28 Low Road, Dewsbury on the 29th July 1952 and by the time of his death had become a much respected citzen of Dewsbury. He attended many ex-servicemen's functions and parades and his medals were usually on display on these occasions.

After Requiem Mass at St Paulinus Church on the day of his funeral, the coffin was taken by army truck to Dewsbury cemetery, where he was given a full military funeral and around six hundred people lined the route. A firing party from the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Barracks at Strensall, near York, fired three volleys over the grave and the Last Post and Reveille were played.

John Ormsby was born on the 11th January 1881, in Dewsbury, although several sources stated his birth year as 1889 and this was the date enscribed on his headstone in Dewsbury Cemetery. Recently the 'Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery' decided to rectify this error and John Ormsby's headstone now shows the correct year of his birth as 1881.

Ormsby's grave:
before and after

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 8 June 1917 ], Fayet, France, 14 April 1917, Sergeant John William Ormsby, 2nd Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty ( Fayet, France ) during operations which culminated in the capture of an important position. Acting as Company Serjeant-Major he showed throughout the attack absolute indifference to the heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and set a fine example.

After clearing the village he pushed on and drove out many snipers from localities further forward. When the only surviving officer was wounded he took command of the company and led them forward under heavy fire for 400 yards to a new position. He organised his new position with great skill and held his line with determination until relieved of his command.

His conduct throughout was admirable and inspired confidence in every man under his command

John Ormsby was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 30th June 1917

[ London Gazette, 11 November 1916 ], For the award of the Military Medal, Acting Sergeant John William Ormsby, Yorkshire Light Infantry

No citation

Medal entitlement of Sergeant John Ormsby - 2nd Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

  • Victoria Cross
  • Military Medal ( MM )
  • 1914 Star + clasp "5th Aug - 22nd Nov 1914"
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 ) + MiD Oakleaf
  • Defence Medal ( 1939-45 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )


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Iain Stewart, 5 August 2011