In memoriam

Private Henry Orr

 

 

Henry Orr was born at Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, on 23 October 1893, son of carpenter John Orr and his wife Rebecca (formerly Cranston).

By 1911 Orr was living in Brookeborough with his family and working as a farm servant.

On 26 October 1914 he enlisted at Enniskillen in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron (No.UD/62). He embarked for France on 6 October 1915 with his squadron, which was serving as divisional cavalry to the 36th (Ulster) Division.

In June 1916 the squadron joined with C and F Squadrons of the North Irish Horse to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, which served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August the following year.

In September 1917 the 2nd Regiment was dismounted and most of its officers and men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – which was renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Orr, like the majority of the men, was transferred to the battalion on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41091.

In November and December 1917 the 9th Battalion played a role in the Battle of Cambrai, first going into action in the attack on the village of Moeuvres on 22-23 November. The battalion war diary for those days reads as follows:

[22 November] The Battn moved up at 6.30 a.m. to a position N. of Bapaume & Cambrai Road arriving at 8.30 a.m. Here the Battn waited for an order to attack Inchi when Moeuvres was taken by the 12th Royal Irish Rifles. At 11.45 a.m. the 12th R. Ir. Rifles captured village of Moeuvres. It was unable to clear trenches East of village. At 5.30 p.m. Battn moved up to support 12th R. Ir. Rifles in the village of Moeuvres. At 5.45 p.m. 12th R. Ir. Rifles reported driven out of village. At 8.30 p.m. Battn less 'D' Coy counter attacked village of Moeuvres but was driven back to trenches immediately south of the village, where it took up a defensive position for the night.

[23 November] Battn attacked Moeuvres at 10.30 a.m. At 11 a.m. Battn reported in village. At 11.45 a.m. enemy counter attacked from trenches West of village. 12.15 p.m. counter attack driven off. At 4.30 .p.m village evacuated by Battn on account of supports not coming up. 5 p.m. 'C' & 'D' Coys took up position on Sunken Road South of village and 'A' & 'B' Coys went back to trenches North of Bapaume & Cambrai Road.

Casualties for 22nd & 23rd: Officers killed 1. Officers wounded 6. ORs 82 casualties.

Orr was one of the 82 casualties, though whether he was killed on the 22nd or 23rd is uncertain.

As he has no known grave, Private Orr is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France, Panel 10.

 

Two of Henry Orr's brothers, his older brother John Robert and younger brother William, also served in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron and 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. John Robert was captured during the German Spring Offensive in March 1918. William was discharged in July 1918 after being wounded.

 

 

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