Sergeant Henry Orr



Henry Orr was born on 25 October 1871 at Brookeboro, Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh the second-last of at least five children of carpenter John Orr and his wife Anne (née Short). In the 1880s or 1890s he enlisted in the army, seeing service in the Boer war with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons (No.3622). On 21 March 1906 he married Kate Proctor in the Dublin Registrar's Office. The couple had already had two children, and over the next thirteen years would have at least eight more. Soon after this Orr was discharged from the Dragoons, probably at the expiration of his term of service.

At the time of the 1911 Census Henry was living at Seatown, Dundalk, County Louth, with his wife, their three children, his mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, and working as a domestic coachman. Soon after they moved to 60 Oregon Street, Belfast, Henry working as a van man.

Orr enlisted in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron on 14 October 1914 (No. UD/25). Also joining the squadron that month were two of his brothers and three nephews. He was given the rank of acting sergeant, no doubt because of his previous military service. On 4 March 1915 the Fermanagh Times reported that:

The bretheren of Colebrooke (Hanover) L.O.L 215 held a soiree at Colebrooke of Friday night, which attracted a large attendance. Lady Brooke, who always evinced a kindly interest in the cause of Orangeism in the district patronised the function occupying a seat on the platform, while the lodge banner, bearing a portrait of the late Sir Douglas Brooke, whose name is revered by Loyalists here and throughout the County, formed the background to the platform, which was otherwise decorated with flags and bunting. A company of the Inniskilling Dragoons, in charge of Sergeant Henry Orr, drove all the way to the meeting, where they were the recipients of many welcomes."

Orr was discharged on 13 December 1915, 'his services being no longer required' (paragraph 392(xxv), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension and was later awarded funds totalling £60 to purchase stock, a cart, a pony and harness for an egg and butter business. He lived with his family at 60 Oregon Street until the 1940s, when he moved to 118 Palmer Street, Belfast. He died on 3 June 1953 and was buried in the Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina Extension.



Two of Orr's brothers, John Orr and Thomas Joseph Orr, together with three nephews, William Orr, Henry Orr and John Robert Orr, also served in the war in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron.


The first image, identified only as 'Sergeant Orr', appeared in the Belfast Evening Telegraph on 28 January 1915. It may in fact be Henry's brother John. The full image can be seen here.

The second image, showing Orr with sons Frank, John and Tommy, sourced from Public Member Trees – contributor 'tonyevic'


This page last updated 22 January 2023.