Leonard Louis Orr
Known to all as Dick

Serial Number: NZ Army No. 13/223 (RFC Service No. Unknown)
RFC Trade: Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 1914 into the Army, later to RFC
Date of Demob:
Rank Achieved: Pilot Officer (in RFC), Captain (in Army)
Flying Hours:
Operational Sorties:

Date of Birth: 8th of August 1894, at Christchurch, New Zealand
Personal Details: Dick Orr was the son of Christchurch retailer Arthur Orr. He spent his early years as a Cadet at Longbeach. On the outbreak of World War One, Dick volunteered immediately serving first in the New Zealand Army, then the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force.

In 1924, having returned to New Zealand, Dick moved to Cambridge. He bought a farm at Horahora and established the Red Oaks Stud there. He would go on to breed top Jersey cattle there, becoming a life member of the Jersey Breeders Association. He also raced several racehorses in partnership with Hamilton man Eric Day.

Dick was keen on other sports, having played rugby for Canterbury in his youth before World War One. And he'd also been a champion boxer - winning three gold medals when he was in the Middle East, including Lightweight Champion of the Forces (at the same time as Gene Tunney won the Heavyweight equivalent).

Another area he enjoyed to was as a member of the Waikato Hunt, which was based in Cambridge. He went on to marry Adelaide Brown, known as Addie, who was the daughter of well known Cambridge identity and Master of the Hunt, Wynn Brown. Addie died 22nd of April 1963.

Dick sold the farm in 1966, moving to Orepunga with his son Ross, till 1970 when he moved into town, living in Byron Street, Leamington. By 1974 he was residing at Mauvern, a home for the elderly. He remained there till his death in 1977.

Service Details: Dick Orr had travelled north from his home of Christchurch and was on holiday in Whangarei when World War One was declared. he instantly volunteered for service, and joined the 11th North Auckland Mounted Rifles, which was a squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. He sailed with the first Echelon of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force aboard the Star of India, to Egypt.

Dick served throughout the entire Gallipoli Campaign of 1915, and following New Zealand's withdrawal from the Turkish peninsular, he continued to fight in the Middle East campaign in the Sinai Desert and in Palestine as the commander of a Hotchkiss gun section.

Then he got the opportunity to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, where he learned to fly. Dick remained in this service till the end of the Great War.

However this was not his last taste of military life. When the Second World War was declared, Dick once again volunteered for service, and became a Captain in charge of a squadron of the Armoured Division of the 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles.

At this stage little more is known about his service in either the Army or the Air Force, but I am hoping to discover more about this very interesting man.

Date of Death : 15th of July 1977, aged 82 years
Buried: Cambridge Returned Services Association Lawn Cemetery, Hautapu, Cambridge

Connection with Cambridge: Dick Orr lived in Cambridge after WWI till his death

This photo, from the Reg Buckingham Collection held by the Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Museum, is strongly believed to be Dick Orr in his postwar uniform. Note the RAF Wings on his chest, and New Zealand shoulder badge. However this soldier's lapel badge appears to indicate either the Auckland or North Auckland Mounted Rifles, and not the Waikato MR. Sadly the photo is just not quite clear enough to define any writing on the badge. Buckingham had however labelled the photo's negative as being Dick Orr.


Thanks to the staff of the Cambridge Museum, and to Errol Martyn for assistance in researching Dick Orr's RFC career so far


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