Murray VC Statue
Russell & Macquarie Streets
Evandale Tas 7212
The daring feats of Henry ‘Harry’ William Murray VC, CMG, DSO and Bar, DCM, Croix de Guerre, made him a legend and he remains the most highly decorated soldier to have served in the Australian Imperial Force.
Often referred to as ‘Mad’ Harry for his feats of courage, Murray was by nature shy and modest, describing himself as a ‘bushman’ when he enlisted as a private with the 16th Battalion in September 1914. However, by May 1918 he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 4th Machine Gun Battalion.
Murray was born at ‘Clairville’, Evandale, on 1 December 1880 and served six years with the Australian Field Artillery Militia in Launceston. In about 1908 he sought better opportunities in Western Australia, working as a mail contractor, at times carrying gold. Later he was a timber cutter.
He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and in May was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for 'exceptional courage, energy and skill' for his work as a machine gunner. By August he was twice wounded and was commissioned a second lieutenant with the 13th Battalion. At Mouquet Farm, France, in October 1916, now with the rank of captain, Murray was again twice wounded but led 'with the greatest courage and initiative'. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, to which was added a Bar in May 1917 for his actions in the first Battle of Bullecourt.
His finest hour came at Stormy Trench near Gueudecourt on 4–5 February 1917, when he led a midnight attack urging his men on over frozen snow. After three hours their objective was reached and held, despite fierce bombing, until his party was relieved at 8 am. Murray’s citation for the Victoria Cross reads (in part):
He was ubiquitous, cheering his men, heading bombing parties, leading bayonet charges or carrying wounded from the dangerously shelled areas, with unequalled bravery. His Company would follow him anywhere and die for him to a man.
Murray was mentioned in despatches four times and in 1919 was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.
During the Second World War Murray commanded the 26th Battalion (Queensland) and later commanded his local battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps. He retired from the army in February 1944.
Murray is also commemorated in the town of Richmond Qld, where he settled on Glenlyon Station in 1928. He died at Miles General Hospital on 7 January 1966 following a car accident.
Service file of Lt Col Henry William Murray, 13th Battalion
Henry William (Harry) Murray, Merrilyn Lincoln, Australian Dictionary of Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/murray-henry-william-harry-7709
History of the Thirteenth Battalion, AIF, Thomas A White, Sydney 1924.
Lt Col Murray’s various citations can be found at
Evandale History Society Inc
Phone: 03 6391 8128
Mail: 18 High Street, Evandale Tas 7212
Lieutenant Colonel Harry Murray, Monument Australia http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/military/display/70249-lieutenant-colonel-harry-edward-murray/photo/4
Murray bust, Richmond Qld , Monument Australia http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/military/display/97991-lieutenant-colonel-henry-william-murray-v.c.