Henry William (Mad Harry) MURRAY VC, CMG, DSO and Bar, DCM, MID***

MURRAY, Henry William

Service Numbers: 315, QX48850, Q30751
Enlisted: 30 September 1914, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 23rd (NSW) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC)
Born: Launceston, Tasmania, Australia , 1 December 1885
Home Town: Manjimup, Manjimup, Western Australia
Schooling: Evandale State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Bushman
Died: Vehicle Accident , Miles, Queensland, Australia, 7 January 1966, aged 80 years
Cemetery: Mount Thompson Memorial Gardens & Crematorium, Queensland
Cremated - Memorial Location: Area 18/Bed 22.
Memorials: Evandale Harry Murray VC Memorial Statue, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Muckadilla Harry Murray VC Remembrance Wall, Muckadilla Harry Murray VC Remembrance Wall, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

30 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 315, Perth, Western Australia
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 315, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 315, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 315, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), ANZAC / Gallipoli
30 May 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 315, ANZAC / Gallipoli, GSW (right knee)
13 Aug 1915: Transferred AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 13th Infantry Battalion
20 Jan 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 13th Infantry Battalion
1 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, 13th Infantry Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 13th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
18 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 13th Infantry Battalion, 'The Winter Offensive' - Flers/Gueudecourt winter of 1916/17
11 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 13th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (First)
15 Mar 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Major, 4th Machine Gun Battalion
24 May 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 4th Machine Gun Battalion
9 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, 4th Machine Gun Battalion

World War 2 Service

5 Sep 1941: Involvement Lieutenant Colonel, QX48850
5 Sep 1941: Enlisted Lieutenant Colonel, QX48850, Sellheim, Queensland
5 Sep 1941: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant Colonel, QX48850, 23rd (NSW) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC)
6 Sep 1941: Involvement Lieutenant Colonel, QX48850, 2nd/26th Infantry Battalion
8 Feb 1944: Involvement Lieutenant Colonel, Q30751
8 Feb 1944: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lieutenant Colonel, QX48850, 23rd (NSW) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC)
8 Feb 1944: Enlisted
8 Feb 1944: Discharged Lieutenant Colonel, Q30751, Volunteer Defence Corps (SA)

World War 1 Service

Date unknown: Wounded 13th Infantry Battalion

The Mighty Machine Gun Team, 16th Battalion, First AIF

Lieutenant Colonel H.W. “Harry” Murray VC, CMG, DSO&Bar,DCM.
Lieutenant L. D. “Fats” McCarthy VC, CdeG.
Major P.C.H. Black DSO, DCM, CdeG.
Lieutenant J.B. “Bas” Minchin DSO, MC.

These men enlisted in the 16th Battalion, AIF in 1914 and trained at Blackboy Camp in Western Australia. They subsequently trained as Machine Gunners and served in this capacity on Gallipoli. All served with distinction in this campaign and all four served in France.

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Biography contributed by Trinity College

Life before the War:                                                                      

Henry (Harry) William Murray was born on the 1st of December 1880 in Launceston, Tasmania. He helped his father Edward Kennedy Murray and his mother Clarissa (Littler) Murray run the family farm. At the age of 19, Murray moved to Western Australia, where he worked as a mail courier on the goldfields.


Life in Service:                                                                      

At the age of 30, Henry enlisted on the 30th of September 1914 in Perth, Western Australia to the Australian Field Artillery. He landed at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915 as a member of the 16th Battalion’s two machine-gun crew. The 16th Battalion AIF was raised from 16 September 1914, six weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. Henry was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 13th of May and won the distinguished conduct medal for his bravery from the 9th to the 31st of May.

He was wounded several times, receiving a gunshot wounded to his right knee. His surgery took place on the 10th of June in 1915 at the Alexandra Hospital; the ‘satisfactory’ procedure was done by Dr. Wilson. He was discharged from hospital on the 25th of June. He was wounded again on the 8th of July and a month later experienced a remarkable series of promotions.

By 1 March 1916 Murray had reached the rank of Captain and soon after sailed for France with the 13th Battalion, fighting at Bullecourt where again he survived. He received the Distinguished Service Order for his role in the fighting at Mouquet Farm, where he was twice wounded. For Captain Henry Murray’s fighting in World War One, he became one of the ‘highest decorated soldiers in the British Commonwealth’ in the First World War and earned the nickname ‘Mad Harry’. His nickname ‘Mad Harry’ was given to him for his amazing tactics an ability to continue fighting while wounded.


After World War One:                                                                    

With World War One over, Henry Murray toured England where he studied agricultural methods. His service in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) ended on 9 March 1920 and he settled on a grazing property at Muckadilla in Queensland. Murray enlisted for service during the Second World War and commanded the 26th Battalion in north Queensland until August 1942. He retired from the army in early 1944 with his last rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At the age of 88, Murray died of a heart attack after an accidental car crash in Miles, Queensland on the 7th of January 1966. Henry Murray was cremated at ‘Mount Thompson Memorial Gardens & Crematorium’ in Holland Park, Queensland. 


Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Murray, Henry William (Harry) (1880–1966)
by Merrilyn Lincoln


Henry William Murray (1880-1966), soldier and grazier, was born on 1 December 1880 at Evandale, Tasmania, son of Edward Kennedy Murray, farmer, and his wife Clarissa, née Littler. His father died when he was young and after leaving Evandale State School Harry helped to run the family farm. His military career began with six years service in the Australian Field Artillery (militia) at Launceston. At 19 or 20 he moved to Western Australia, working as a mail courier on the goldfields, travelling by bicycle or on horseback. When he enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force on 13 October 1914, describing himself as a 'bushman', he was employing men cutting timber for the railways in the south-west of the State. He was handsome, tall, solidly built with dark hair, modest but strong-willed in character, resourceful and a natural leader.

Murray was posted to the 16th Battalion and belonged to one of the unit's two machine-gun crews when he landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 with his mate and Number 1 gunner, Lance Corporal Percy Black. Next day both gun-crews on the rear slope of Pope's Hill sniped at the Turks creeping onto Russell's Top. Charles Bean recorded that 'The 16th Battalion machine-guns were in charge of men of no ordinary determination'. Both men, though wounded, refused to leave their guns on that day or through any of the heavy fighting of the next week. Murray, from wounds received on 30 May, was evacuated and rejoined his unit on 3 July.

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/murray-henry-william-harry-7709 (adb.anu.edu.au)