- Branch of Service
- World War I
- Date of Enlistment
- Date of Discharge
- Place of Enlistment
- Sydney NSW
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Surry Hills NSW
- Address (at enlistment)
- Canberra ACT
- School(s) Attended
- Michelago Public School
- Next of Kin
- Sarah Ruby Murray (wife), Nowra NSW
- Service Number
- Final Rank
- Final Unit
- 14 Field Company Engineers
Queanbeyan RSL Wall of Remembrance, Crawford St, Queanbeyan NSW
Michelago Public School Roll of Honour
Michelago District Roll of Honour World War 1, Ryrie Street, Michelago
Military Medal and bar, Mentioned in Despatches.
The citation for the Military Medal says: "During the operation of 25/28 September 1917 at Polygon Wood, as one of a party of 5 officers and 5 NCOs he, in daylight, assisted in the fixing of 40 pegs out in No-man's Land required for the Brigades jumping off the line. This was done under snipers fire. Going up and getting back, the party had to get through a very intense barrage. Only 6 of the party returned. At night he supervised the laying of tapes for the forming up of the Brigade. The success of the jumping off of the Brigade was due to a great extent to his bravery and determination to get the work done at all costs. He set a splendid example to his men. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty he deserves special recognition."
Murray was awarded a bar to the Military Medal. The citation reads: "On 30 October 1917 near Westhoek, Sergeant Murray was in charge of a work party strengthening the 'Pill box' at the forward position of the 329th Siege Battery R.G.A. when a 5.9 inch shell burst immediately outside killing 5, mortally wounding 2, and wounding 4 members of his party. He at once rushed to the spot and set to work to clear the wounded. He continued at this although the first shell was followed by a number of others, most of which fell within a few yards, one of them wounding another member of the party, and eventually got all the wounded men under cover. It was with the greatest difficulty that he could be held back from taking the wounded at once to the dressing station through the bombardment and his contempt of danger, and to his courage and determination throughout was beyond praise. The promptitude and vigour with which he acted undoubtedly saved the lives of the survivors of the party".
Murray was working at Duntroon when he enlisted and married Sarah Ruby Monaghan before embarking overseas in October 1914. Upon enlisting Murray was allocated to the 1st Field Company Engineers and was part of the first landing at Gallipoli at dawn on 25 April 1915. He also fought at Fromelles, Flers, Beaumetz, Bullecourt, Polygon Wood and Westhoek before being wounded in a mustard gas attack in January 1918 and returning to Australia for discharge.
After the war Murray became a soldier settler at 'Kurrumbene' (now part of the suburbs of Narrabundah and Fyshwick) from 1920 though, for the rest of his life, he suffered from the effects of gas poisoning which required frequent trips to hospital in Sydney for treatment. Murray died on 28 July 1935 of leukaemia, but because it was not war-related his wife was ineligible for a pension. He is buried at St John's churchyard in Reid.
His father ran Murray's bakery near St. John's from 1909 to 1923. He was the brother of Harry, John Cade and Roland Murray who all enlisted in World War 1 and Malcolm and James Murray who served in World War 2. Three of his sons, Jim, Jack, and Graham Murray, also served in World War 2.
Description - height 5 feet 6 inches, weight 149 pounds, chest 33-36 inches, fair complexion, hazel eyes, light hair, Church of England, scar from an operation above his right groin.
James Murray, 'Canberra's First Anzac', (unpublished monograph, Canberra & District Historical Society)
AWM - Honours and Awards (Index to Recommendations) - www.awm.gov.au/honours/awm192/index.asp
AWM Collections Record : 2DRL/1012 (diary of Ernest Murray)
NAA RecordSearch - Series B2455 (First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920)
Rex Cross, 'Bygone Queanbeyan', 1980
Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 (Volume IV, notes on p.825)
National Library of Australia : Country Women's Association of NSW (Canberra Branch) History, 1959 (manuscript call no. NLA MS 734)
Stories from the ACT Memorial, 'Gallipoli Landing', ACT Heritage Library www.library.act.gov.au/find/history/stories_from_the_act_memorial
Queanbeyan Age - 9 February 1915, 18 May 1917, 15 February 1918
Michael Hall, 'Canberra's First Anzac' The Canberra Times, 25 April 2009
Photographs courtesy of Mrs. Margaret Murray and Michael Hall