10 September 2015

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Murray,
13th Bn, Australian Imperial Force

  • Victoria Cross
  • Companion, Order of St Michael & St George ( CMG )
  • Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ) & Bar
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM )
  • 1914 - 15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914 - 20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914 - 19 ) + MiD Oakleaf
  • War Medal ( 1939 - 45 )
  • Australian Service Medal ( 1939 - 45 )
  • King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
  • Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )
  • Croix de Guerre ( France )

The daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Murray, 81 year old Clementine Sutherland, has decided to hand her father's Victoria Cross medal group on loan to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The decision came after nearly a Century of the VC group being passed around the Murray family and friends. Henry Murray's VC group will go on display in the AWM's Hall of Valour.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 10 March 1917 ], Stormy Trench, Near Guedecourt, France, 4 - 5 February 1917, Captain Henry William Murray DSO, DCM, 13th Bn, Australian Imperial Force.

For most conspicuous bravery when in command of the right flank company in attack ( Stormy Trench, NE of Guedecourt, France ). 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-attacks were 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.

Henry Murray was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V in Hyde Park, London, on the 2nd June 1917.

Henry Murray died on the 7th January 1966 in hospital in Brisbane and was cremated at the Mount Thompson Crematorium, Queensland.

For the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal ( DCM ).

[ London Gazette 5 August 1915 ], Near Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli, 9 - 31 May 1915, Lance Corporal Henry William Murray, 16th Bn, Australian Imperial Force

For distinguished service on several occasions from 9th to 31st May 1915 during operations near Gaba Tepe when attached to the machine-fun section. During this period he exhibited exceptional courage, energy and skill, and inflicted servere losses on the enemy, he being twice wounded.

For the award of the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ).

[ London Gazette 14 November 1916 ], Mouquet Farm, France, 29 August 1916, Captain Henry William Murray DCM, 13th Bn, Australian Imperial Force

Although wounded twice, Captain Murray commanded his Company with the greatest courage and initiative, beating off four enemy attacks. Later, when an enemy bullet started a man's equipment exploding he tore the man's equipment off at great personal risk. He set a splendid example throughout.

For the award of a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order ( DSO ).

[ London Gazette 18 June 1917 ], Bullecourt, France, 11 April 1917, Captain Henry William Murray VC DSO DCM, 4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion, Australian Imperial Force

Captain Murray rendered conspicuous service for the attack near Bullecourt on 11 April 1917. He led his Company with courage and skill through 1,200 yards of shell and machine-gun fire and he and his Company still kept on although they lost 75% of their strength before reaching the second objective.

Captain Murray being the senior officer of the 4th Brigade in the first and second objectives went along the whole frontage, 900 yards, directing the defence, always encouraging the men of all units by his cheerfulness and bravery and always moving to the points of danger.

When the bomb supply was running out and the men gave ground he rallied them time and time and fought back the Germans over and over again. When there was no alternative but to surrender or withdraw through the heavy machine-gun fire, Captain Murray was the last to leave the position.

He is not only brave and daring but a skilful soldier possessing tactical instinct of the highest order. He has already been awarded the VC, DSO, DCM.


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Iain Stewart, 10 September 2015