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

MURRAY, Henry William

Service Numbers: 315, QX48850, Q30751
Enlisted: 30 September 1914, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 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
Cremated - Memorial Location: Area 18/Bed 22.
Memorials: Harry Murray VC Memorial Statue, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

30 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 315, Perth, Western Australia
22 Dec 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 315, 16th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Dec 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 315, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 315, 16th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
30 May 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 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, Flers/Gueudecourt
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, SN QX48850
5 Sep 1941: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Lieutenant Colonel, SN QX48850, Sellheim, Queensland
6 Sep 1941: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Lieutenant Colonel, SN QX48850, 2nd/26th Infantry Battalion
8 Feb 1944: Involvement Lieutenant Colonel, SN Q30751
8 Feb 1944: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Q30751, Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC)
8 Feb 1944: Enlisted

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. 

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Biography

Mad Harry Murray, VC, CMG, DSO*, DCM, MiD, CdG

Henry "Mad Harry" Murray was the most highly decorated (combat awards) soldier in the British Commonwealth. A friend and contemporary of a legend of the AIF at the time, Major Percy Black, Murray unlike his colleague and friend, survived Bullecourt and the war.

Like other VC Winners he has been the subject of a number of biographies, including the definitive work "They Dared Mightily" by Lionel Wigmore first published 1961.

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...

The historian of the 16th Battalion wrote of him:

"To Murray belongs the honour of rising from a machine-gun private to the command of a machine-gun battalion of 64 guns, and of receiving more fighting decorations than any other infantry soldier in the British Army in the Great War".

The 13th Battalion historian noted:

"Not only was the 13th proud of him but the whole brigade was, from general to Digger. His unconscious modesty won him still greater admiration… Murray's courage was not a reckless exposure to danger like that of Jacka or Sexton who didn't know fear. He was a sensitive man who believed in discipline and wrote that it transformed thousands of men'—nervy and highly-strung like myself—enabling them to do the work which without discipline, they would have been quite incapable of performing".

Bean called him 'the most distinguished fighting officer in the A.I.F." - SOURCE (adb.anu.edu.au)

"On 6 January 1966, Nell was driving the family car with Harry as a passenger; they were going to the south coast of Queensland for a holiday. A tyre blew out and the car rolled on the Leichhardt Highway near Condamine. Murray was taken to Miles District Hospital with broken ribs. He had suffered heart trouble for some time, and the shock of the accident is believed to have caused his death the following day. Murray was interred at Mount Thompson Crematorium with full military honours after a funeral service at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Brisbane." - SOURCE (en.m.wikipedia.org)

 

 

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

On 6 January 1966, Nell was driving the family car with Harry as a passenger; they were going to the south coast of Queensland for a holiday. A tyre blew out and the car rolled on the Leichhardt Highway near Condamine. Murray was taken to Miles District Hospital with broken ribs. He had suffered heart trouble for some time, and the shock of the accident is believed to have caused his death the following day. Murray was interred at Mount Thompson Crematorium with full military honours after a funeral service at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Brisbane.

On 24 February 2006 in Evandale, Tasmania, Governor-General Michael Jeffery unveiled a statue of Murray by sculptor Peter Corlett. This tribute was facilitated by a small group of volunteers who raised A$85,000 in two years.  The Henry Murray ward at Hollywood Private Hospital has been named in his honour.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For distinguished service on several occasions from 9th to 31st May, 1915, during operations near Gaba Tepe (Dardanelles), when attached to the machine gun section. During this period he exhibited exceptional courage, energy and skill, and inflicted severe losses on the enemy, he himself being twice wounded.'
Source: 'London Gazette' No. 7673
Date: 5 August 1915
 

Distinguished Service Order

'For conspicuous gallantry in action. Although twice wounded, he commanded his company with the greatest courage and initiative, beating off four enemy counter attacks. Later, when an enemy bullet started a man's equipment explosing, he tore the man's equipment off at great personal risk. He set a splendid example throughout.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917
 

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack. He led his company to the assault with great skill and courage, and the position was quickly captured. Fighting of a very severe nature followed, and three heavy counter attack was beaten back, these successes being due to Captain Murray's wonderful work. Throughout the night his company suffered heavy casualties through concentrated enemy shell fire, and on one occasion gave ground for a short way. This gallant officer rallied his command and saved the situation by sheer valour. He made his presence felt throughout the line, encouraging his men, heading bombing parties, leading bayonet charges, and carrying wounded to places of safety. His magnificent example inspired his men throughout.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 133
Date: 21 August 1917
 

Bar to DSO


Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169
Date: 4 October 1917
 

Croix de Guerre (France)

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He gallantly led his company over 1,200 yards of fire swept ground. Later, he went along the whole frontage, organizing the defence, encouraging the men of all units by his cheerfulness and bravery, and always moving to the points of danger. He is not only brave and daring, but a skilful soldier, possessing tactical instinct of the highest order.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61
Date: 23 May 1919
 

Commander of the Order of St Michael & St George


Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109
Date: 15 September 1919

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