Born in Clapton, England, in 1886, Orsborn served variously in pastoral, training and administrative work in New Zealand and throughout the UK. Orsborn was elected General on 9 May 1946, with 36 of 46 votes cast. He assumed command on 21 June.
Orsborn's priorities were to continue the evangelical emphasis of Salvationists, to renew The Salvation Army's world fellowship (so ravaged by war) and to consider the best way to broaden the base of the General's authority. He inaugurated the advisory Council to the General, appointing senior leaders to survey existing activities, plan new developments and assess how to change to meet the needs of a changing world.
Orsborn instituted the first Brengle Memorial Institute, a holiness retreat named after one of the Army's most respected teachers and leaders. He also approved The Salvation Army's participation as a founding member of the World Council of Churches.
Orsborn served as General until 1954. He died in 1967, aged 81.