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Hubert Gerald Orr

Servicenumber : 50070
Rank : Lieutenant Colonel
Regiment : Durham Light Infantry
Unit : Commanding 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment
Date of Death : 25-09-1944
Age : 34
Grave : Plot III. Row E. Grave 14.
Hubert Gerald Orr was a son of Lieutenant-Colonel Gerald M. Orr and of Evelyn Orr (nee Leir). He was married to Helen Mary Orr, of Camberley, Surrey.
The authors of the books 'Autumn Gale' and 'Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107' (Jack Didden and Maarten Swarts) wrote about the death of Orr. In the book 'Autumn Gale' on pages 271 and 272: "Five SdKfz 251/21 Hanomag half-tracks from the 107. Panzerbrigade, which were equiped with MG 151 Drilling triple barrelled machineguns, were sent straight to Oploo, a few kilometers northwest of Overloon, to guard the crossroads there. The rest of the Kampfgruppe followed a more covered route. This move took place just hours before the British tanks headed off in roughly the same direction. 
After some skirmishes near Bakel and Gemert the Shermans and Cromwells rumbled on towards St.-Anthonis without meeting any serious resistance. But this relatively peaceful advance would end in horror for the British tankers. By 18.30 hours the majority of the 29th Armoured Brigade reached St.-Anthonis while the 129th Brigade was fast approaching. Suddenly the leading British troops came upon the five German half-tracks along the road from Gemert. A brief exchange of fire followed, but soon the Hanomags drove off in the direction of St.-Anthonis. Before they reached the village three were knocked out. The two survivors increased their speed. Ahead they suddenly noticed, to their horror, British troops, blocking their escape route.In sheer desperation they turned right on to a parallel road, the Lepelstraat, south of the church. The Germans now decided to try and shoot their way out. Even though the Lepelstraat was jam-packed with British vehicles their crews were as surprised as the Germans were and with blazing guns the two half-tracks raced ahead. On the corner where they were to turn left Brigadier Roscoe Harvey (29th Armoured Brigade) had just called an O Group. Four British officers were hit by the heavy machineguns. Harvey and his Brigade Major were wounded and Colonel David Silvertop (3rd RTR) and Colonel H.G. Orr (3rd Monmouthshire Regiment) were killed outright. The two German vehicles did not make it very far. One crashed into a house and the other was knocked out while trying to escape via a country lane."
In the book about Kampfgruppe Walther on pages 250-254. On page 253 and 254 they wrote: "It was 16.30 hours. In St.-Anthonis Brigadier Harvey, accompanied by his Brigade Major, J. Thomson, had just got together for a brief conference with the two battalion commanders because there was some confusion about the exact position of the leading troops. The meeting with Lieutenant-Colonel David Silvertop (the 'Liberator of Antwerp'), 3rd RTR, and Lieutenant-Colonel H.G. Orr, 3rd Mons, took place at a T-junction where the Lepelstraat turned south towards Oploo. As the conference went underway the German half-tracks were fast approaching that very junction. The officers were no stangers to the sounds of battle and initially ignored the firing. Harvey was the first to notice that they sounded like German machine-guns. But it was already too late. A Panzergrenadier fired the triple 1,5 cm machine-guns with deadly effect as the half-track came racing toward the fork in the road. Bullets flew at the officers, Silvertop was killed on the spot and Orr was so seriously wounded that he died at the Casualty Clearing Post. Reputedly his last words were, 'It was foolish of me to be standing there at the crossroads. I should have known better.' Thompson and Harvey were both wounded. Thompson was shot through one of his lungs, but Harvey was only wounded lightly......The incident was a heavy blow to the two battalions and both officers, beloved, highly decorated and skilled professionals, were sorely missed."
Orr was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), announced in the London Gazette on 19th October 1944. 
 Picture: 15-08-2016
"Shattered my glass
Ere half the sand
Were run...
I hold the heights I won"
 
Picture: 31-08-2016
 
Picture: 10-12-2017
  
Sources: Website CWGC, website www.thegazette.co.uk, Autumn Gale', 'Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107'

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