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John Henry Orgill was the son of James and Clara Orgill of Markfield, Leicester; and was the husband of Mrs Eliza Alice Orgill of Market Overton, Rutland and they had three children.

Photo of John Henry Orgill, Eliza and two of their children taken in 1909

Pre-war John was the innkeeper of the Three Horseshoes public house in Market Overton, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery on 11th December 1915. After spending some time in the 76th Training Reserve Battalion, in January 1917 he was transferred to the Loyal North Lancashire and sailed to France to join the 1st Battalion.

Photo of John Henry Orgill

After an attack at Givenchy on 18th April 1918 he was reported to be missing and news was eventually received to say he had been taken as a prisoner of war and was being held in Germany.

The 1st Battalion War Diary for the date of his capture reads;

Extract from the Battalion War Diary – 18th April 1918

“At 4.15am, the enemy commenced to bombard the whole of the Divisional front. The barrage became intense and at 8.10 the enemy attacked from the north, filtering into our trenches under cover of the high ground at Givenchy. He succeeded in reaching and occupying the main line of resistance before counter measures could be taken. Vigorous counter attacks by “C” and “D” Companies eventually succeeded in ejecting the enemy from our main line and by 11am he was only holding a few isolated posts in our outpost line”

On the following day there was a certain amount of sniping from the Germans who were now holding the shell craters which had formed the outpost line. The 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment later successfully attacked the remaining enemy and the Germans retreated back to their own line.

A period of quiet then followed with the men concentrating on repairing and improving the defences until finally being relieved from the front line on the 23rd-24th April.

Although the Battalion War Diary does not give a daily account of casualties it does record the loss of 46 men killed, 105 wounded and 189 missing for this particular period in the front line .

Still captive Private John Orgill died of pneumonia in the Reserve Hospital II Hammonia at Aix la Chapelle (Aachen) on 29th October 1918. He was buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery and is also remembered on the Market Overton War Memorial in the U.K.

Thank you to Phil Child and a relative of Private Orgill, Kay, for providing the photographs for this article.

Rank: Private
Service No: 36050
Date of Death: 29/10/1918
Age: 38
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Paul McCormick
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