WORDSWORTH Osmond Bartle

Known information

Osmond/Osmund Bartle Wordsworth, a nephew of the poet William Wordsworth and a survivor of the sinking of the Lusitania, was born in Glaston on 17 May 1887, the son of the rector Christopher Wordsworth and his wife Mary. He was one of nine children and by the time he was three years old the family had moved to Dorset. Osmond was educated at Winchester College before going on to Trinity College, Cambridge. He stayed in academia, lecturing at Selwyn College, Cambridge before emigrating to Canada to teach there. In 1914 he published a novel entitled The Happy Exchange. On 1 May 1915 Osmond boarded the SS Lusitania at New York with his sister, Ruth, to return to England with the intention of enlisting in the army. Six days later the Lusitania was hit by a German torpedo while off the coast of Cork in Ireland. According to the Salisbury Cathedral Roll of Honour during the last minutes of the vessel sinking, Osmond gave his lifebelt to another passenger but still managed to survive. He was one of the last to leave the ship and was rescued. Almost 1,200 passengers and crew lost their lives while around 761 survived. Osmond and his sister did not know each other’s fate until they were reunited in Ireland. Ruth Wordsworth had survived by clinging to a piece of wreckage and was rescued by another ship, the Julia. Osmond recovered from his ordeal and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 9th Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 11 June 1915, and reported for training four days later. He was transferred to 21st Company Machine Gun Corps in April 1916, and left for France in August. Osmond died on 2 April 1917 at Henin-sur-Cojeul near Arras. Reports claim he saw one of his machine gun crews having trouble getting into position so he went up to help. He was killed doon afterwards, reportedly by being shot through the heart. Osmond was buried at Henin but his grave was lost in subsequent fighting. In 2015 remains were found and DNA tests revealed them to be Osmond Wordsworth. He was reburied in 2022 at H.A.C. Cemetery, grave II.AA.9. Meanwhile, he is still remembered on Bay 10 of the Arras Memorial. 

With thanks to Paul Reeve from Oakham for discovering Osmond's links to Rutland.

And thanks to Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Ingram Murray of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum for telling us Osmond's remains have been found. 

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  • Arras Memorial 1
  • Wordsworth, Osmond Bartle
  • H.A.C. Cemetery
  • Wordsworth, Osmond Bartle 2
  • Arras Memorial
  • Arras Memorial 2
  • Arras Memorial 3
  • H.A.C Cemetery drone

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Rutland and The Battle of the Somme

More than 90 Rutland soldiers died in the Battle of the Somme which lasted from 1 July 1916 until the middle of November. Today they lie in cemeteries across the old battlefield in northern France or are remembered among the 72,000 names on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. By using our interactive map, you can find out what happened to them.

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