Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Orric Joures Knudsen

Orric Joures Knudsen : Photograph of Orric in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.  Reference: MR4/23/91/273

Photograph of Orric in Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre. Reference: MR4/23/91/273

Orric Joures Knudsen : (L to R) Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division); 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal with 'Mentioned in Despatches' oak leaves; French Officier de l' Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur; Belgian Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Couronne/ Ridder in de Kroonorde; Belgian Croix de Guerre/ Oorlogskruis; Danish Ridder af Dannebrog

(L to R) Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division); 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal with 'Mentioned in Despatches' oak leaves; French Officier de l' Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur; Belgian Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Couronne/ Ridder in de Kroonorde; Belgian Croix de Guerre/ Oorlogskruis; Danish Ridder af Dannebrog

Orric was born on the 21st January 1892 in Chorlton, Manchester. His father was called Joachim Anton and his mother was Jane. He was their oldest child, Alan Joures, Harold Joures and Duncan Joures were his brothers.

Joachim had been born in Denmark. He lived in the UK and worked as an agent for the United Steamship Company of Copenhagen, Denmark. Jane was British. In 1901 the family lived at 66 Parsonage Road, Withington, Manchester. By 1911 they had moved to 'Jutland', 5 Clifton Drive in Lytham, Lancashire. Orric had begun to work as an assistant to his father.

When the First World War broke out in August 1914 Orric joined the Manchester University Officer Training Corps. We don't know whether he was a student at Manchester University, or if he had ever been. On the 27th November Orric and Alan decided to join the 3rd Public Schools Battalion. This was one of 4 battalions raised by the Public Schools and University Men's Force to allow men of a similar background to serve together. The 3rd Battalion became the 20th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. Orric was given the service number 5174 and Alan was given 5176.

When he enlisted Orric was 5 feet 8 inches tall. He had suffered from appendicitis at some point, and the scar from having his appendix removed was still visible. At the time Joachim lived at 'Thornlea' on Sage Lane in Chorlton, Manchester.

After spending just a week in the 20th Battalion Orric left them. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment on the 3rd December. He joined the newly formed 23rd Battalion in Morecambe, Lancashire.

Later that month the 22nd Battalion moved to Morecambe. Orric transferred to them and took command of XII Platoon in C Company. He spent 17 weeks in Morecambe before moving to Belton Park near Grantham in Lincolnshire during April. In September the battalion moved to Larkhill in Wiltshire. They were based here until the 11th November when they sailed to France.

Orric served around Mametz near Fricourt during early 1916. The 22nd Battalion held the front line and took part in raids during this period. Orric was promoted to Lieutenant on the 23rd April.During June the battalion began training for the 1st Day of the Somme Offensive. This battle would begin on the 1st July, and the 22nd Battalion was going to attack towards the village of Mametz. The attack was successful, but around 470 out of almost 800 members of the battalion were killed, wounded or went missing. The survivors were relieved on the 5th.

Orric fought on the Somme with the 22nd Battalion until October. On the 10th he left them and was assigned to the Railway Transport Executive, part of Headquarters of Administration, Services and Departments. He became a Railway Transport Officer (RTO). The job of an RTO was to control the movements of soldiers and supplies by rail. They would liaise with the French and Belgian railway operators, and organise loading and unloading of trains. Railways were a vital method of transport for all armies during the First World War, so they had to be kept running efficiently.

We don't know where Orric was stationed during the war. He continued to work as an RTO until after the end of the fighting in November 1918. He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for this work and then promoted to Temporary Captain on the 12th May 1919.

As well as Orric and Alan, Harold also joined the Army. He served as a Second Lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Regiment. The Royal Air Force was formed on the 1st April 1918 and at some point after this he transferred to it as a Lieutenant. He survived the war. Alan was not so fortunate. He stayed in the 20th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers and was killed in action on the 20th July 1916 during fighting around High Wood on the Somme. He was 22 years old. Alan has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France.

After the end of the war the British advanced into western Germany and began an occupation. Orric went with them and continued to work as a Railway Traffic Officer (the position had been renamed, but the duties were the same). On the 20th April 1920 he was promoted to become a Deputy Assistant Director of Railway Traffic with the rank of Temporary Major. By July 1921 Orric was based in Cologne, working for the Inter-Allied Railway Sub-Commission.

His superiors must have been impressed with Orric's work, because he was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) between August 1919 and March 1920. He was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French Government on the 8th March 1920. On the 19th August 1921 Orric was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Crown by Albert I, King of the Belgians. He was Mentioned in Despatches by the British Army on the 11th August 1921.

Orric's time in the Army came to an end during March 1922. On the 29th he was ordered to leave his job in Cologne and return to the UK in time to be demobilised on the 31st March. Orric had been given permission to make the journey using his own car. It seems that he stayed in Cologne until around the 2nd April, and then drove back to the UK, arriving on the 6th.

Later in 1922 Orric's exact movements would cause a disagreement between him and the Army. They insisted that because he left his job on the 29th he had also reverted to the rank of Captain on that day. This meant he had been overpaid on the 30th and the 31st. They asked him to repay 1 and 7 shillings, the difference between the two rates of pay. Orric refused, stating that he had been told he had left his job on the 31st not the 29th. It would appear that Orric never paid the money, and the Army eventually wrote off the 1 7s.

When Orric arrived in the UK he returned to his family. They now lived at 11 Broadway in Withington. He also returned to work at the United Steamship Company. In 1928 he became Honorary Vice Consul of Denmark at Manchester. This is likely to have been a part time position that Orric did as well as his other business. He would have been responsible for representing Denmark and its interests in the Manchester area. This work ranged from helping to build links between British and Danish companies to helping Danes who had been arrested.

Orric held this position until at least 1933. On the 31st January of that year he was awarded the Insignia of a Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog by King Christian X of Denmark and Iceland. This recognised his work as Consul.

On the 1st October 1937 Orric was appointed Honorary Consul of Roumania at Manchester (This is how the country's name was spelt at the time). He held this job until Britain and Romania declared war. This happened on the 23rd November 1940.

During this time Orric was involved with the 22nd Battalion Old Comrade's Association. He attended a number of their reunions.

Orric had married Edith Cecilia Hargreaves-McLaren in Liverpool between January and March 1915. We believe they had 2 children. Doreen Mary was born on the 17th November 1922 in Manchester, and Barbara Alexander M. was born there between April and June 1926. In 1932 the family lived at 9 Chandos Road in Chorlton.

We don't know what Orric did in his retirement but he was a regular and popular attendee at the Manchester Regiment Officers Association annual dinners held at the Reform Club in Manchester.

Edith died between April and June 1970 in the Bucklow area of Cheshire. She was 78. Orric died in Manchester on the 18th August 1974 aged 82.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
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Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

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Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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