Putting on a show

Putting on a show

A DEWSBURY councillor is arranging for the artefacts of the great and the good of Dewsbury to be placed in the town hall permanently.

Coun Eric Firth wants a series of replica medals of Dewsbury VC Sgt John William Ormsby to be displayed alongside memorabilia of Channel swimmer Eileen Fenton.

Sgt Ormsby’s grandson and namesake, John William Ormsby, of Hanging Heaton, a neighbour of Coun Firth, has given permission for the medals to be put on display.

He said he was delighted that although they were not the originals, they did tell their own story.

Next weekend Mr Ormsby will be displaying them in the Irish National Club, Westtown, where his grandfather was a life-long member.

They will be on show on Saturday November 10th, when the club will also be part of the commemorations organised by the New Friends of Dewsbury Cemetery.

“My granddad loved the club and took his VC there often and allowed members to handle it,” said Mr Ormsby.

 “He always said his Victoria Cross belonged to the town of Dewsbury and to those who had lost loved ones in the war.  He used to say – ‘I wear this medal for those who never returned – they were the real heroes’.”

The original medals were donated by the Ormsby family to the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Museum in York, for safekeeping.

Coun Firth said the memories of people like Sgt Ormsby and Eileen Fenton should always be honoured.

A second Dewsbury VC, Private Horace Waller, a plumber from Batley Carr, was killed in battle in 1917, and awarded the VC posthumously for conspicuous bravery.

Coun Firth said: “If we could trace his relatives we might be able to get replicas of his medals also, and they too can be displayed alongside Sgt Ormsby’s in the town hall.”

The whereabouts of Private Waller’s VC is unknown. After his parents died, it was sold privately at Sotheby’s.

The idea of having Sgt Ormsby’s medals replicated came from Mr Ormsby’s son-in-law, Richard Firth, who felt they would be a fitting tribute to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War One.

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