Orr, David (No. D/SSX 26643)

Orr, David

Able Seaman

No. D/SSX 26643, HMS Farouk, Royal Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Saturday 13 June 1942 (aged 22)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, England (Panel 66 Column 1)

Bangor and District War Memorial

Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s)

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor

BIOGRAPHY

David Orr was the eldest son of John and Margaret Elizabeth Orr (nee Casement) who were married on 18 September 1916 in Downpatrick Presbyterian Church.  John Orr, a labourer from Groomsport was a son of Richard Orr, a fisherman.  Margaret Elizabeth Casement from Inch was a daughter of John Casement, a shepherd.

The Orr family lived at 42 Castle Street and at 3 Central Street, Bangor.

John and Margaret Elizabeth Orr (nee Casement) had five children:

Mary Eleanor (Ellie, born 24 July 1917 at 42 Castle Street, Bangor)

Louise (Louie)

David (born 22 March 1920)

Samuel (Sam)

Hugh

John Orr worked for Neill’s of Bangor Coal Merchants and it was Neill’s of Bangor who built the houses in Central Street (originally called Vimy Ridge) in the 1920s and 1930s for their workers.

David Orr was born on 22 March 1920 and he was baptised on 11 April 1920 in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s).  His sister Ellie married David Dowling and they lived at 38 Ashley Gardens, Bangor.  David Orr was educated at Bangor Central Public Elementary School and after leaving school was employed for a time in the grocery shop owned by Mr A. Millsopp, Main Street, Bangor.  David was a member of the 2nd Bangor Company of the Boys’ Brigade and his main hobby was boxing.

On Market Day, 28 September 1932, David Orr’s brother Hugh (aged 6) died as the result of an accident.  Hugh Orr along with other boys had collected horse-chestnuts and they were playing conkers at the corner of Ruby Street in Bangor when Hugh was knocked down by a farmer’s car.  Hugh lived for six hours after the accident before he died.

David Orr was 18 when he joined the Royal Navy in 1938.  He served aboard HMS Defiance and later aboard the destroyer HMS Jackal which was torpedoed in May 1942.  David was not on board at that time.  He then volunteered for special duty on HMS Farouk.   Requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1940, this two-masted schooner was converted in Alexandria to a Q-ship armed with two hidden guns.  She was on route from Beirut in Lebanon to Iskenderum in Turkey when she was sunk off Ramkin Island, Lebanon by the German submarine U-83.  This submarine never came close enough for fire to be returned and eight of the 18 crew members aboard HMS Farouk were killed.

The following verses were included in David Orr’s Death and Roll of Honour notices:

He has anchored his soul in that haven of rest

He will sail the wild seas no more

For the tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep

But in Jesus he is safe evermore

 

A face so loved, so sadly missed,

His smile that was so bright;

He was so thoughtful, good and kind,

Time cannot blot him from my mind.

 

For honour, liberty and truth

He sacrificed his glorious youth;

He died, if it is ddeath to give

This life, that all his friends might live.

 

Life’s storms all over, a haven of rest,

Anchored in Jesus, now safe with the blest;

Sheltered forever, his voyage is past

May we all anchor safely there at the last.

 

The sweetest flowers are those in Memory’s Garden

 

Beautiful memories, dearer than gold

 

Who cherished life and lost, yet won

A tribute in the Roll of Honour column from his chum, Lexie Hayes, included the verse:

Time rolls on but memory lasts

Lexie Hayes lived in King Street, Bangor before he moved to Australia.

Able Seaman David Orr (No. D/SSX 26643) was 22 when he died, and he is commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial in Devon; on Bangor and District War Memorial; in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St. Comgall’s) and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery.

David’s father John died on 12 July 1965 and his mother Margaret Elizabeth died on 13 December 1980.