Biography

Birth date: 1894
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Warracknabeal
Death date: 30 March 1918
Death place: France
Final rank: Sergeant
Service number: 1379 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 14 Battalion
  • 14th Australian Infantry Battalion

George Alexander Hugh Murray was born at Warracknabeal, Victoria, in 1894. At the time the First World War broke out Murray was employed as a farm hand. He had previously spent three-and-a-half years with the 73rd Infantry (Victorian Rangers) of the Citizens' Forces. As a 20-year-old, Murray required and was granted written parental permission to enlist on 8 October 1914 with the Australian Imperial Force. He departed Melbourne with the 14th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Berrima on 22 December 1914.

On the afternoon of 25 April 1915, Murray landed on Gallipoli with his battalion, and two days later was wounded in action, sustaining a severe gunshot wound to his left knee. Sent to England for recovery, his letters home to family noted that some of the Gallipoli landing survivors applied for staff jobs because they were scared to return to the peninsula. He notes that despite being offered one such job himself he declined because of his sense of duty. Murray rejoined his unit in March 1916 as it went to the Western Front, taking part in the battle at Pozières in August. The following January he was transferred to the newly formed 4th Division Salvage Company. A few months later his younger brother William was killed while delivering a message at Lagnicourt. The death of his brother and his own personal experiences on the Western Front influenced Murray's efforts to dissuade his sister from enlisting as a nurse, writing in one of his letters that "any one over here who has been through it never wishes to bring another if he can help it to put up with the hardships of this life." He returned to the 14th Battalion in October.

Murray was killed at Hébuterne the following year on 30 March 1918, one of the many Australians who died repelling the Germans' repeated attempts to outflank the Australian forces. Buried nearby, Murray's body was reinterred after the Armistice at Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery in Fonquevillers. His brother's body was never found and so he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial for those soldiers with no known grave. Upon the request of their parents, George Murray's headstone at Gommecourt also includes an inscription for William Murray, stating that the brothers are "in death undivided."

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Date of Death: 30 March 1918
  • Unit: 14th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Date of embarkation: 22 December 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Sergeant
  • Unit: 14th Australian Infantry Battalion

Photograph

E01807

Neuve Eglise, Belgium. 11 March 1918. Group portrait of the NCOs of the 14th Battalion. Left to right, back row: 5045 Lance Corporal (LCpl) G. Brooks; 5259 LCpl L. A. Anderson; 6099 LCpl J. Skjellerup (killed in action 3 May 1918); 5999 LCpl A. R. Rowe; 4920 LCpl A. R. Rowe; 5757 LCpl W. Alwood;...

E01807

Private Record

Murray, George Alexander Hugh (Sergeant, b.? - d.1918)

Collection relating to the service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14 Battalion, Australia, at sea, Egypt, Gallipoli, England, France, Belgium, 1914-1918. Collection consists of 159 letters written by Sergeant George Murray while on active service, to various members of his family... Maker: Murray, George Alexander Hugh

1DRL/0529 (With records)

Murray, William James Gunn (Private, b. - d.1917)

Collection relating to the service of 5147 Private William James Gunn Murray, 58 Battalion, Australia, at sea, Egypt, 1916-1917. Collection consists of twenty-six letters written by Private Murray while on active service, to various members of his family in Australia. Maker: Murray, William James Gunn

1DRL/0530 (With records)

Digitised Collection

Letters from George Alexander Hugh Murray to his family, 1914

Letters relating to the First World War service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14th Infantry Battalion. In this series of letters, Murray details life at the recruitment and training camp at Broadmeadows before the embarkation of 14th Battalion in December 1914. He provides details...

RCDIG0000956

Letters from George Alexander Hugh Murray to his family, 1915

Letters relating to the First World War service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14th Infantry Battalion. In these letters Murray describes the sights of Cairo and criticises the negative reports being published in Australia at the time. Murray also describes the fighting at...

RCDIG0000957

Letters from George Alexander Hugh Murray to his family, 1916

Letters relating to the First World War service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14th Infantry Battalion. In this series of letters, Murray details the period from his continuing convalescence in England to his return to service on the Western Front. Continuing injuries prevent him...

RCDIG0000958

Letters from George Alexander Hugh Murray to his family, 1917

Letters relating to the First World War service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14th Infantry Battalion. In this series of letters, Murray details his service on the Western Front in France and Belgium throughout 1917. He describes the fighting on the Western Front as well as the...

RCDIG0000959

Letters from George Alexander Hugh Murray to his family, 1918

Letters relating to the First World War service of 1379 Sergeant George Alexander Hugh Murray, 14th Infantry Battalion. In this series of letters, Murray details his service on the Western Front in France and Belgium. His last letter is dated 16 March 1918, written shortly before he was killed in...

RCDIG0000960

Letters from William James Gunn Murray to his family, 1916

Letters relating to the First World War service of 5147 Private William James Gunn Murray, 58th Battalion. In these letters to his family, Murray details the voyage from Australia to Egypt and the training that occupied their days once there. Training in the hot days and bitterly cold nights caused...

RCDIG0001369

Letters from William James Gunn Murray to his family, 1917

Letters relating to the First World War service of 5147 Private William James Gunn Murray, 58th Battalion. Writing from France, Murray details the bitterly cold winter of 1916-1917, the ground regularly alternating between frozen earth and mud and slush. He uses the letters to respond to news from...

RCDIG0001370

Timeline

Date of birth 1894
Date of embarkation 1914-12-22
Date of death 1918-03-30