ORS COMMUNAL CEMETERY
General Directions: The village of Ors is between Le Cateau and Landrecies. The Communal Cemetery lies to the north-west of the village. It should not be confused with Ors British Cemetery which is 1 kilometre north-east of the church.
The register is available in the Mairie on Monday ; Wednesday ;
Thursday and Friday from 8.30 to 16.00 and Saturday from 11.00 to 12.00
There are now over 60, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, a small number are unidentified.
The plot covers an area of 189 square metres.
Second Lieutenant James Kirk, VC, 10th Attached 2nd Bn. Manchester Regiment, killed in action 04/11/1918 aged 22, row A. 22. Son of James and Rachel Kirk, of 530 Edge Lane, Droylesden, Manchester. Born at Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 31108, dated 3rd Jan., 1919, records the following:- " For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty North of Ors on 4th Nov., 1918, whilst attempting to bridge the Oise Canal. To cover the bridging of the canal he took a Lewis gun, and, under intense machine-gun fire, paddled across the canal on a raft, and at a range of ten yards expended all his ammunition. Further ammunition was paddled across to him and he continuously maintained a covering fire for the bridging party from a most exposed position till killed at his gun. The supreme contempt of danger and magnificent self-sacrifice displayed by this gallant officer prevented many casualties and enabled two platoons to cross the bridge before it was destroyed."
Lieutenant Colonel James Neville Marshall, VC, MC and bar, Irish Guards attached 16th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers, killed in action 04/11/1918 aged 31, his grave is in line with row A. 22. Officier Order of Leopold, Chevalier Order of Leopold, Croix de Guerre (Belgium). Husband of Edith Marshall, of Lascelles Lodge, Matching Green, Harlow, Essex.
Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 31178, dated 13th Feb., 1919, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery, determination and leadership in the attack on the Sambre-Oise Canal, near Catillon, on the 4th November, 1918, when a partly constructed bridge came under concentrated fire and was broken before the advanced troops of his battalion could cross. Lt. Col. Marshall at once went forward and organised parties to repair the bridge. The first party were soon killed or wounded, but by personal example he inspired his command, and volunteers were instantly forthcoming. Under intense fire and with complete disregard of his own safety, he stood on the bank encouraging his men and assisting in the work, and when the bridge was repaired attempted to rush across at the head of his battalion and was killed while so doing. The passage of the canal was of vital importance, and the gallantry displayed by all ranks was largely due to the inspiring example set by Lt. Col. Marshall."
Casualty Details: UK 63, Total Burials: 63
The two "VC" graves
James Marshall & James Kirk
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born 18 March 1893 in Oswestry, Shropshire. After school he became a teaching assistant and in 1913 went to France for two years to work as a language tutor. He began writing poetry as a teenager.
In 1915 he returned to England to enlist in the army and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment. After spending the remainder of the year training in England, he left for the western front early in January 1917. After experiencing heavy fighting, he was diagnosed with shellshock. He was evacuated to England and arrived at Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh in June. There he met the poet Siegfried Sassoon, who already had a reputation as a poet and shared Owen's views. Sassoon agreed to look over Owen's poems, gave him encouragement and introduced him to literary figures such as Robert Graves.
Reading Sassoon's poems and discussing his work with Sassoon revolutionised Owen's style and his conception of poetry. He returned to France in August 1918 and in October was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. On 4 November 1918 he was killed while attempting to lead his men across the Sambre canal at Ors. The news of his death reached his parents on 11 November, Armistice Day.
Edited by Sassoon and published in 1920, Owen's single volume of poems contain some of the most poignant English poetry of World War One, including 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'.
Text - www.bbc.co.uk
16th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers
04/11/1918, aged 19.
Son of Thomas and Alice Melling of Hesketh Lane, Tarleton, Lancashire
Row A. 6.
Picture courtesy of Mary Melling, great niece.