Sep 24, 2014

William Stanley ORMANDY [1883 - 1917]

William Ormandy was born in Macarthur in June 1883, Macarthur is 66 klms NE of Portland, in the south west area of Victoria, Australia.

His parents were George Samuel ORMANDY and Grace LINDSAY who were married at Branxholme in December 1865. George was born in Lancashire, England and Grace was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland.

I know little of William Stanley Ormandy, certainly no one in the family has passed on any information that I know of, so have taken most of the information of his life whilst in the AIF from his attestation papers and from the 4th MGC diaries available through the NAA (National Archives of Australia) and the AWM (Australian War Memorial) websites.

Description Circular colour patch for 4 Division Machine Gun Company and 24 Australian Machine Gun Company, AIF, showing a central white circle on a black background, below which are two crossed guns in yellow. Summary Worn as a distinguishing unit indication at the head of each sleeve from 1917. The two crossed guns were the patch of the Machine Gun Corps, although they was not worn by machine gun squadrons allotted to the Light Horse brigades.

On the 29th September 1916 William enlisted in the AIF with the 4th Machine Gun Company with service number 560.  He embarked Melbourne on board the HMAT ORSOVA on 6th December 1916 bound for Plymouth, England where he arrived in February 1917


After some months of training in England he proceeded to France on board the PRINCESS VICTORIA, but just four days after his arrival at Boulogne he was admitted to hospital with German Measles and did not rejoin his unit again until 22nd May 1917.

30 May 1917

The 4th MGC proceeded to the reinforcement camp at Morbecque in the north of France.

7 June 1917

The Battle of Messines Ridge

and from the AWM (Australian War Memorial) site:

Successful British assault on the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge, a strongly held strategic position on the Western Front, which had been held by the Germans since late 1914. The offensive operation was the product of long preparation, detailed planning and sound training carried out by General Plumer's Second Army. The initial assault was preceded by the detonation of 19 mines under the German font line which caused an estimated 10 000 German casualties. British, Australian and New Zealand infantry advanced behind a carefully co-ordinated artillery bombardment and took all their objectives within the first hours of the battle. German counter attacks the following day failed, and although German resistance continued until 14 June, British, Australian and New Zealand forces retained possession of the captured areas. The battle is often cited as a model for a well planned limited objective attack. Messines represented a preliminary to the major British offensive in Flanders in 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres.

8 June 1917

Now at Messines Ridge, Belgium. Image shows the Officers of the 4th Machine Gun Company eating breakfast in a reserve near Messines during the Battle of Messines which started on 7th June.  These men moved to the front line after dark.

9th June 1917

instructions given to the 4th MGC to relieve the 1st NZ Machine Gun Company in the Messines Sector.

13 June 1917

The above image shows members of No. 1 Section, 4th Australian Machine Gun Company, in a front line trench approximately one kilometre south east of Messines. The Company fought here from 9 to 14 June 1917 (Battle of Messines)

9 July 1917

William was admitted to hospital - in field - with septic abrasion to the buttock. One week later on the 16th July he rejoined his unit.

29 August 1917

still at Ploegsteert Woods, Belgium and all men given morning off to tidy themselves up and bath themselves. Afternoon cleaning of all gun gear & packing & cleaning of wagons.

1 September 1917

The morning was devoted to the care of the mens feet - a foot inspection being held by section officers and attention being paid to socks. Billets were cleared & gun gear & wagons packed ready. The next morning (2nd September) the men were embussing at 9:00am at Merville. Arrived at Lisbourg about 3.00pm and marched to Crepy where they were billeted with 16th Battalion.

13 September 1917

By the 13th they were at Fruges, Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France where this group image (above) was taken of 4th Machine Gun Company.

18 September 1917

The Company fell in at 8.45am & marched to Crepy. From there they proceeded in buses to the vicinity of Staple, near Hazelbronck. On 20th the Company moved off at 8.30am for Steenvoorde area & arrived in Billets there at about 3.00pm. Next day orders were received to embus for Canal area, near Ypres.

23 September 1917

at Westhoek Ridge, Belgium

Headquarters and the two sections left Belgian Chateau at 3.00pm for 7th Australian MGC Headquarters at Westhoek Ridge, the route being through Ypres & along the Ypres-Menin Road.

yellow line shows location of Westhoek Ridge east of Ypres

Windy outpost on Westhoek Ridge ~ Belgium

24th September 1917

Preliminary Orders for the offensive which is to take place shortly were issued this afternoon. A barrage was put over by our artillery at 8.00pm. There was a fair amount of retaliation from the enemy.

25th September 1917

Memo received from Rear Battalion Headquarters that attack will take place on “K” Day which is tomorrow, 26th Inst. Zero hour 5:50am.

The Brigadier thinks that 3.00am is too early to be on the jumping off tape but that at the same time the tails of Battalion should be clear of present support line ….

26 September 1917

The Battle of Polygon Wood.

~from the diary of the 4th Machine Gun Company ~
we can only assume that William Stanley Ormandy
was one of the "two men in front line have been killed"

The attack commenced at 5.50am 26 September, 1917 with the Australian 4th and 5th Divisions and 5 British divisions following an artillery barrage on a 10 kilometre front. The Australian 4th and 5th Divisions were responsible for a front of about 2,500 metres. All northern objectives were taken while on the southern front captured all their objectives as well as some objectives assigned to X Corps. One of the main objectives was Polygon Wood Butts, which in peacetime was the Ypres district rifle range. From the Butts the Germans commanded an excellent view of all targets with their machine guns. This was also taken.

This was designed as the second blow of the Ypres battle. Casualties on both sides were about equal. The Australian 4th Division captured all its objectives and sustained 1,717 casualties. The more heavily engaged Australian 5th Division suffered 5,471 dead and wounded. The Allied forces were now in a position to strike at the main Broodseinde ridge.

KIA - 26 September 1917

the will - in part - of William Stanley Ormandy

Polygon Wood is a small wood which is about four miles east of Ypres. The wood was sometimes known as Racecourse Wood, as there was a track within it. Before the Great War, Polygon Wood was by the Belgian Army and within it stands a large mound, known as the Butte, which was used for musketry training. On the Butte today stands a memorial to the 5th Australian Division.

During the War, Polygon Wood was totally destroyed, and the wood was replanted after the war. There are 'rides' or tracks running through the wood which can be walked, and in terms of the Great War, there is a large cemetery, plus a New Zealand Memorial to the Missing as well as the Australian Memorial within the wood itself. Just outside the wood is a small original wartime cemetery. In fact, the entrances to the two sites are directly opposite on either side of the road, at the north-eastern apex of the wood.

Commemoration details The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 31), Belgium


Roll of Honour name projection.

William Stanley Ormandy's name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory (AWM) in Canberra on:

  • Fri 24 October, 2014 at 5:39 am
  • Wed 17 December, 2014 at 5:38 am
  • Tue 10 February, 2015 at 3:02 am
  • Wed 1 April, 2015 at 11:42 pm
  • Wed 13 May, 2015 at 8:27 pm
  • Mon 22 June, 2015 at 1:59 am
  • Wed 29 July, 2015 at 6:56 pm

These dates and times are estimates. The actual time of projection could change as a result of weather and other factors, so it is advisable to check closer to the date. In the rare event of a temporary loss of electrical power, the names scheduled for display in that period will not appear until the next time listed.

With grateful thanks to the following for information and the use of images & data off their sites:

another family member, Arnold Roy Bartram 
and not related to William Ormandy, 
also embarked Melbourne on board the HMAT ORSOVA!

read about Arnold HERE


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