In 2014 the centenary of the outbreak of World War One, Cumnock History Group began researching the names on the Cumnock War Memorial plus other men and women with Cumnock connections mentioned on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission or in the Cumnock Chronicle of the time. The research is not limited to those who died but also to men and women who served, using family history information.

The group would like to appeal to individuals with knowledge of family members for photographs of the soldier, either in uniform or not, and photos of medals or other memorabilia eg letters sent home from the Front. If you would be prepared to share these on this site, please email the web manager cumnockhistory [at] The group is willing to share any copies of documents found with the soldier's descendants.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Robert Orr, MM

Robert Orr was the son of James Orr and his second wife Agnes Meikle, born 2 May 1882 in Cumnock. He died on 22nd March 1918 age 35.

Here's the family in the 1901 census

Townhead St
James Orr     58 coal miner b Dalmellington
Agnes Orr     48
James Orr     24 coal miner
David Orr     20 tailor
Robert Orr     16 pithead worker
Mary Orr     14 domestic servant
rest born Cumnock

In 1914 Robert found himself in trouble with the law.

Scotsman Wed 3 Dec 1914
At Ayr Sheriff Court yesterday – Sheriff Substitute Robertson on the bench – Robert Orr, a private in the 6th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, pleaded guilty to having made statements in the Dumfries Arms Hotel, Cumnock, which were calculated to prejudice recruiting for His Majesty’s Army. It was stated that he said they should not join the Army as they were a great deal better where they were.

The accused, who was the worse for drink at the time when he made the statement, was dismissed with an admonition. The charge was under the Defence of the Realm Act.

From the Chronicle Nov 1915 - a hearty send off for L/C John Black of Skares and Pte Robert Orr of Townhead St.  On the same train were Pte Andrew McSorland and Lieut. D M Hill. John Black also was to die.

From the Cumnock Chronicle 1918
Mrs Lorimer (Mary Orr)  of Lugar received notification that her brother Coy Sergeant Robert Orr M.M. and Bar is reported missing from Mar 21nd. (Mary Orr was married to John Lorimer in 1909)

He was a Sergeant in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. Service Number 12288. Died 22 Mar 1918 in France. He was awarded the Military Medal with bar.

In his soldier's will dated 1915 he leaves everything to his nephew James Orr Lorimer, the son of the above Mary Orr.

It seems from this Chronicle article, he died while a prisoner of the Germans.

He is remembered on the Arras Memorial and on Cumnock War Memorial.

He is a relation of CHG chairman Bobby Grierson.

Cumnock Connections tree 

A postcard sent by Robert to his friend Robert Samson can be seen here and 2 letters telling of the loss of Robert Gilmour here. Big Hugh Lorimer and Duncan Ferguson are also mentioned as being there.
He signs himself "your old Pal Ticky."

Footnote, from Bill Braniff.
Captain Wyllie tells of being badly wounded and being rescued and carried for miles by Pte Lane and Cpl Robert Orr . Both were later killed but he recommended the award of MM (military Medal) to Cpl Orr from Cumnock.
from “The Battle of Loos” by Philip Warner. (ISBN 1 84022 229 8). The writer of chapter 13 is Captain Wyllie

Here he is on Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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