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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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260 crest
260 Squadron Kittyhawk III FL719 Sgt. John Hamilton Orr

Operation: Escort

Date: 21st March 1943 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 260 Squadron (motto: Celer et fortis - 'Swift and Strong') 239 Wing, 211 Group, Northwest African Tactical Air Force

Type: Kittyhawk III

Serial: FL719 P-40-K (1)

Code: HS-?

Base: Medenine, Tunisia

Location: Mediterranean Sea

Pilot: Sgt. John Hamilton Orr NZ/414329 RNZAF Age 21. Mossing - believed killed


Taking off at 13:35 hrs too escort Baltimores to 3 miles north west of Mareth in Tunisia.

Last seen crossing the coast on the return journey, having encountering intense heavy flak near the target.

Take-off may have been from the Nefatia Landing Ground, the Squadron being in the process of moving from there to Medenine at the time.

(I) Errol Martyn believes FL719 is probably correct although others feel it was FL884 but this aircraft was struck off charge on the 29th March 1945.

Burial and personal details:

Sgt. John Hamilton Orr. Alamein Memorial. Panel 278. Born on the 13th September 1921 in Lower Hutt. Educated at Hutt Valley High School. A clerk for Catts-Patterson Ltd, advertising agents, Wellington. Served 7 months in territorial army prior to enlisting at Levin as a pilot under training on the 27th July 1941. With No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School 07th September 1941. No. 3 Flying Training School on the 18th October 1941. Pilots Badge awarded on the 29th November 1941 and promoted to sergeant on the 10th January 1942.

Embarked for England on the 30th January 1942. No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre on the 14th March 1942. No. 9 Pilot Flying Unit 20th April 1942. 57 Operational Training Unit on the 09th June 1942. Embarked for Sierra Leone 28th September 1942 and and arrived on the 16th October 1942. Lagos, by air to Egypt via Sudan in November 1942. No. 1 Middle East Training School 05th December 1942. No. 2 Advanced Flying Unit 15th December 1942. 239 Wing Training Flight on the Kittyhawk 23rd January 1943. Joined 260 squadron on the 23rd February 1943 and carried out 6 operational sorties. A total of 357 flying hours logged.

Son of Robert Richard (died 08th April 1962, age 73) and Myra Kinniburgh Orr (née Hill - died 1977, age 85, married 1912), Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

Above L-R: Rear; James Clarence Ralph NZ/414340 ✞, Roy Harry Twiname NZ/414361, Raymond George Norton NZ/41649, Maurice Edward Parker NZ/414332, Alick Mewa NZ/414320 ✞, GE Palmer.
Centre,R Ogara, John Hamilton Orr NZ/414329 ✞, Bruce Acheson Jones NZ/41151, JJ Thomson, RJ Jamieson, John Colin Vowles NZ/413519, Selwyn Maurice Hunt NZ/405778.
Front; Loyd Douglas Lory NZ/413439 ✞, SJ Ivil, John William Whitehead NZ/411594 ✞, Vincent Orr NZ/414330, Harry Raymond Nicholls NZ/39044, WD Onion, Mervyn Jack Mills NZ/414321 ✞, Allan Corson Anderson MacPhail NZ/41194 ✞. (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)

Video courtesy Historical Aviation Film Unit

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealan, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Historical Aviation Film Unit, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 26-09-2022

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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