Orr, Robert James (No. 18580)

Orr, Robert James


No. 18580, ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Killed in action in France on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 21)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission (as James Orr)

Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)

Comber and District War Memorial (as Robert J Orr)

Second Comber Presbyterian Church (as Robert Orr)


Robert James Orr was born on 13 May 1895 in Crescent, Comber and he was the eldest son of Washington and Margaret Jane (Maggie) Orr (nee Rea) who were married on 8 March 1895 in Dundonald Presbyterian Church.

The Orr family lived in Crescent, Comber; at 13 Hill Head, Comber and in High Street, Comber.

Washington Orr worked as a gardener and then as a labourer in a whiskey distillery and he and Maggie had at least nine children:

Robert James (born 13 May 1895 in Crescent, Comber)

Margaret Jane (born 27 April 1897 in High Street, Comber)

Mary (Minnie, born 19 February 1900 in High Street, Comber)

Washington (born 23 January 1901 in High Street, Comber; died)

Washington (born 15 November 1902 in High Street, Comber)

Samuel Alexander (born 31 December 1905 in High Street, Comber)

Mona Eileen (born 26 February 1909 in High Street, Comber)

John (born 24 July 1912 in High Street, Comber)

Agnes McMillan (born 20 November 1913 in High Street, Comber)

Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Robert James Orr worked in a mill and he lived at 40 Mill Street with his aunt, Mary Graham, and his cousins Robert, Minnie and John Graham.

Robert James Orr enlisted in Comber, he served with the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division and he was 21 when he was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

Initially he was reported missing in action and then, on 17 August 1917, his sister Margaret received a letter from the British Red Cross and Order of St. John offices in Dublin indicating that he must be presumed to have died.

Rifleman Robert James Orr (No. 18580) has no known grave and he is commemorated on Comber and District War Memorial as Robert J. Orr and in Second Comber Presbyterian Church as Robert Orr.  In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Website he is commemorated as James Orr.