Private 204404 Henry William Orpin
S. Staffordshire Regiment
Henry William Orpin was a Private in the South Staffordshire Regiment who was born in 1880 in Edmonton, North London, and was the son of William Henry Orpin and Clara Alice Agar. His father was a cabinet maker and in 1881, the Orpin family was living at 16 Bryant Road, Islington.
Henry Orpin had three sisters - Clementina (b.1874), Clara (b.1876) and Alice (b.1878).
He married Lillian Catherine Harris in the Strand on 3rd January 1910.
In 1911 he was living with his wife and newly born son, Ronald Henry at 27 Station Road, Chingford, Essex. Prior to enlistment he was a grocer’s assistant. A few years later in 1915, his son Eric Claud was born.
His army service records reveal that he originally joined the Buffs (The East Kent Regiment) in India (and was living in Faversham in Kent). The fact that he had two service (203391 and 204494) confirms this.
He joined the 1st Garrison Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in July 1917. They were also based in India. The records for this unit are very sparse, but it is known that they were a reserve unit made up of those unfit for frontline duty.
Private Orpin was discharged from the army on 11th December 1917 as unfit for further service.
Henry Orpin died from influenza in Hungerford on 2nd November 1918 and was buried at St.Saviour’s churchyard on 5th November 1918. At the time of his death he was living in Priory Place, Hungerford.
Army records show that after his death and a pension claim, that his wife moved Lillian moved to Dover in Kent and was living at 155 Kendon Road, Dover. It is interesting to note that there is no death record in England for Henry's widow Lilian Catherine Orpin. So what became of her? In 1921, she emigrated to Australia arriving in Melbourne and then moved to Hobart, Tasmania where she died on 15th June 1965. Why she went to Australia remains a mystery.
- Pte Orpin's CWGC headstone, St Saviour's churchyard, 2017. (by Dr Jimmy Whittaker)