Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison
Orr James Wilson

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Colonel James Wilson Orr MC (1937) MB BCh BAO (Belf 1933)
12 Oct 1909 [Armagh Co. Armagh] – 28 Jan 1970


Colonel James Wilson Orr was educated at the Royal School, Armagh. He entered Queen's University, Belfast and graduated MB BCh, Bachelor in the Art of Obstetrics (BAO) in 1933, having won a triple blue in football, cricket, and boxing, and the Irish Inter University boxing championship.

Colonel James Wilson Orr was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 23 April 1936. He was awarded the Marshall Webb prize in medical military administration on the Junior Officer's course of the Royal Army Medical College. He also received in 1938 the Arnott Medal awarded by the Irish Medical Schools and Graduates' Association.

Before the Second World War he served in India, and at the age of 28 was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy during operations on the North-West Frontier while regimental medical officer to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. During the war he served with distinction in North Africa and Italy as officer commanding 3 Armd Div Field Ambulance and 2 Casualty Clearing Station, and was mentioned in dispatches in 1943. Later he served as Assistant Director of Medical Services (ADMS) in Palestine, Malta, Greece, Tripoli, and Singapore. In 1962 he was responsible for organizing the treatment and evacuation of casualties in Borneo. He held the appointment of officer in charge medical services and Women's Royal Army Corps records from 1963 until he retired in 1967.

Colonel James Wilson Orr died at his home on 28 January 1970 at the age of 60 years, after a long illness.

Service Record — James Wilson Orr

23 Apr 1936 Short Service Commission Lieutenant RAMC. Confirmed in rank in August 1936.

1936–1939 Served in India as Regimental Medical Officer to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

23 Apr 1937 Promoted Captain RAMC with seniority from 23 April 1936.

21 Sept 1937 Awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry in the face of the enemy during operations on the North West Frontier India.

23 Sept 1939 Acting Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

23 Dec 1939–4 Jan 1940 Temporary Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

1939–1940 Commanding Officer 3 Armd Div Field Ambulance.

Mar 1940 Temporary Lieutenant Colonel J W Orr relinquished the temporary rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was granted the War Substantive rank of Major (23 Dec 1939).

23 Apr 1941 War Substantive Major J W Orr was appointed to a Permanent Regular Army Commission Captain RAMC.

1942–1943 Commanding Officer 1 Field Ambulance.

1943–1944 Assistant Director Medical Services (ADMS) HQ North Africa District (British North Africa Force/Central Mediterranean Force).

1944–1945 Commanding Officer 2 Casualty Clearing Station.

1945–1946 Commanding Officer 22 General Hospital.

23 Apr 1945 Promoted Major RAMC.

24 July 1945 Acting Colonel L/RAMC.

24 Jan 1946 War Substantive Lieutenant Colonel L/RAMC.

24 Jan 1946–16 Feb 1948 Temporary Colonel.

1946 ADMS HQ 56 (L) Div.

1948 ADMS HQ Palestine.

Malta 10 May 1948 Arrived from Palestine.

June 1948 ADMS HQ Malta Command.

27 Sept 1948 Left for Greece.

1948–1950 ADMS British Military Mission Greece.

12 May 1949 Promoted Lieutenant Colonel RAMC.

1950–1951 ADMS GHQ Middle East Land Force.

1951–1954 ADMS HQ Western Command.

1954–1955 Commanding Officer British Military Hospital Tripoli.

1955–1956 ADMS HQ 25 Armd Bde Tripolitania District.

1957 Commanding Officer Military Hospital Waringfield.

1957–1960 Commanding Officer Military Hospital Chester.

4 Sept 1958 Colonel L/RAMC.

1960–1963 ADMS HQ Singapore Base District.

Dec 1962 Temporary Duty SMO Brunei. As SMO Brunei he was responsible for organizing the treatment and evacuation of casualties in Borneo.

1963–1967 Officer-in-charge of medical services and Women's Royal Army Corps Records.

June 1968 Retired on to retired pay.

28 Jan 1970 Died at his home after a long illness, aged 60 years.


  • Entry No: 1615. Drew R.,1968. Commissioned Officers in the Medical Services of the British Army 1660–1960, Vol II Roll of Officers in the RAMC 1898–1960 London, Wellcome Historical Library.
  • Succession Books Vol XXVIII, Returns of statement of service of RAMC Officers.
  • Obituary, Br Med J (1970); 1:505 (Published 21 February 1970).