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Orr, Hubert Gerald

Date of death:
September 25th, 1944
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Cemetery Overloon
Plot: III. Row: E. Grave: 14.
Service number:
P/50070
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit:
3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, British Army
Awarded on:
October 19th, 1944
Citation:
"This offr comds the 3rd Monmouthshire Battalion SWB.
During the attacks by this bde on 18 and 19 Jul, this bn was the leading bn of the bde.
All objectives were captured and held at the cost of reasonably few casualties, although the opposition was strong at DEMOUVILLE on 18 Jul and at BRAS on 19 Jul.
This success was only possible through the colonels very able planning and leadership. His quick grasp of the tactical situation and the guidance given to his junior leaders at the right moment with complete disregard to his own personal safety. As an example, on reaching BRAS he drove his Scout Car onto the objective and directed the leading Coys where to assault.
It was through his devotion to duty, leadership and inspiration that the success of the bde on 18 and on 19 Jul was largely due."

drafted 25 Jul
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

War Diary mentions

27 July 1944 WO 177/791 - 193 Field Ambulance
Lieut. Denton proceeded to 6 RSF to relieve Capt. Orr. 'B' Coy CCP established.

25 September 1944 WO 171/853 - 2 Fife and Forfar Regiment
‘C’ Sqn continued the advance and found the enemy tks had withdrawn, but regained contact again in BAKEL. One Panther, after being engaged by medium arty shell fire, was “brewed up”, and another one, after being fired at by ‘C’ Sqn, in its efforts to escape, was ditched and captured intact. The Regt remained in BAKEL with the KSLI whilst the 15/19 H and the Herefords mopped up HELMOND, after which it continued the advance to GEMERT and then EAST to 651337 where it harboured the night.During : 29 Armd Bde “O” Group at St ANTHONIS, two German half tracks coming round the corner firing N,Go shot up the party, wounding the Brigadier and the B.H., and killing Colonels Silvertop and Orr.

25 September 1944 WO 171/1349 - 3 Monmouthshire Regiment
DEURNE taken over by LINCOLNS of 3 (Br) Div and Bn advances to ST. ANTHONIS. Lt. Col. H.G. Orr seriously wounded, and died later at C.C.P. Maj W.P. Sweetman (2IC) assumed command of Bn. 4 O.Rs wounded.

25 September 1944 WO 171/691 - 159 Infantry Brigade
At first light the Bde Gps moved off, 23 H and 8 RB moving in a NORTHERLY direction; 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO towards HELMOND; 4 KSLI and 3 RTR towards BAKEL. During the day enemy resistance weakened and it was thought that the 180 Div was withdrawing. The adv continued during the day, some PW being taken, DEURNE and HELMOND being taken over by 3 Br Inf Div. By last light the Div were in the ST ANTHONIS area 7138 with 15/19 H, 4 KSLI, 3 RTR and 3 MON at DE RIPS 6630, 23 H and 8 RB area 6433. 1 HEREFORD and 2 FF YEO and Bde HQ with one coy 1 HEREFORD and one sqn FF YEO NORTH of GEMERT 5831. At approx 1800 hrs the Bde suffered some very unfortunate casualties when four half-tracks belonging to Battle Group Heinke of 10 SS Pz Div, trying to escape from ST ANTHONIS, shot up a 'O' Gp consisting of Brigadier Harvey DSO, MC, his BM, Maj Thompson – both suffering severe wounds, Lt-Col H.C. Orr of 3 MON and Lt-Col Silvertop – both being killed. During the night no reports came in and the Bde remained firm.

25 September 1944 WO 171/846 - 15-19 The King Royal Hussars
About 0830hrs 'A' Sqn in combination with Coy 1st KOSB moved fwd down the road where they had fought the previous day and found that the enemy had withdrawn from the whole area and were now mainly East of the canal running through square 7012. A certain number of enemy were reported to be still West of the bridge in this square and a combined operation with the inf and supported by arty was arranged to adv as far as the bridge 708121 to confirm whether this was blown or not. While final arrangements for this operation were still being made, Lt Butler, commanding a patrol of recce reported that he had reached the bridge and that it was in fact blown. This was yet another instance of the determination, courage and initiative which Lt Butler had been showing consistently throughout the operations of the past weeks. While 'A' Sqn were clearing up this area to the South East 'C' Sqn were ordered to come under comd 1st Herefords and move through DEURNE to HELMOND to assist in clearing up this town. Little opposition was met there and the objective was achieved without incident. About midday remainder of Regt was ordered to come under comd 159 Inf Bde Gp and move Northwards through DEURNE towards GEMERT 5730. Advancing in order of march 'B', RHQ, 'A', Regt passed through 2 FF Yeo who were then the leading tps of the Bde just North of BAKEL 6124 and adv to GEMERT which was reported still held by enemy. In fact we reached the town about 1400hrs and found it clear of enemy and immediatly received orders to move on in a North Easterly direction to ST. ANTHONIS 7138. At the same time 29 Armd Bde was adv on the more direct road from DEURNE to this place. 'A' Sqn passed through 'B' Sqn and the Regt adv from GEMERT in order 'A', RHQ, 'B', 'C', who had now completed their task at HELMOND, reverted under comd of Regt, followed on some way behind. No opposition was met up to rd junc 6935 where about 4 enemy half track vehs mounting big calibre MG's were met. 29 Armd Bde were just in front of us on their route and reached ST. ANTHONIS half an hour before us.These half track vehs were chased into the village by the leading tp of 'A' Sqn and on reaching it most unfortunately shot up the Brigadier (Brigadier Harvey - Comd 29 Armd Bde), his Bde Major and 2 of his C.O.'s. Lt-Col Silvertop DSO.MC, Comd 3rd RTR and Lt-Col Orr DSO, Comd 3rd Mons who were in conference in the village. The two latter were killed and the Brigadier and his Bde Major wounded. All 4 enemy vehs were knocked out by 29 Armd Bde before they got away from the village. The Regt harboured that night in posns to hold the Western half of the village of ST.ANTHONIS in co-operation with 4 KSLI. Units of 29 Armd Bde held the Eatern half of the village.

2 October 1944 WO 171/1349 - 3 Monmouthshire Regiment
Bde Comd addresses all offrs, and NCO's commenting on the death of the late CO (Lt Col H.G. Orr, DSO). The new CO Lt Col R.C. Stockley addresses the whole Bn and formally introduces himself.

Sources