No.2082 Private George Stewart McMurray
George McMurray was born at Clunes in Victoria in 1891, to William McMurray and Christina Bickerton. His parents had married at Clunes in 1891, and moved to Werribee, shortly after. They had five children:
- George Stewart McMurray - born 1811 at Coghills Creek/Clunes
- Clara Isabel McMurray - born 1893 at Werribee
- Lilian McMurray - born 1895 at Werribee
- Christina McMurray - born 1901 at Werribee
- John McMurray - born 1901 at Werribee
The Electoral Rolls of 1914-1915 list George Stewart McMurray as a farmer, living at Cressy in Victoria.
George enlisted in the A.I.F. early in the war, at Geelong, on 20 July 1915. He was then almost 24 years of age. On his Attestation papers there is a note amending his original next of kin, from his mother, to Mrs Ellen G McMurray (Nellie Beamish), care of Mr Frank Beamish, “The Pines”, Werribee, Victoria. This would have been after his Marriage to Nellie Beamish in 1918.
On 26 August 1915, Private George McMurray embarked from Melbourne with the 3rd Reinforcements to the 24th Infantry Battalion. They travelled per HMAT A68 “Anchises”, and disembarked at Egypt for further training.
George then sailed for Gallipoli, where he was taken on strength with the 24th Battalion on 12 October 1915. His Battalion, along with the 23rd Battalion, shared the responsibility for defending the Lone Pine Sector. They were subject to very determined attacks by Turkish miners, and held their position until the Australian evacuation in December 1915.
Almost immediately after landing on Gallipoli George suffered an unexplained injury to his left knee. Several times a day it would lock, and cause him great pain.
In November 1915, the medical officer at Gallipoli diagnosed a loose cartilage in his knee joint, and noted that the problem was getting worse.
Despite his injured knee, his performance still allowed him to be appointed to Lance Corporal on 2 December 1915. Corporal.
After the evacuation from Gallipoli in December 1915 , George was admitted to the No.1. Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis, where he declined the opportunity to have an operation, to try and repair the damage to his knee.
He was discharged from hospital back to duty on 22 February 1916, but his problem persisted. A loose piece of cartilage (the size of a cherry) was wandering around in his knee joint, which would sometimes cause the joint to lock. A decision was made on 10 May 1916, that he would be invalided back to Australia from the No.1. Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis, to have his knee repaired.
The following day he embarked from Suez per H.M.T. Kanowna, for a knee operation in Australia.
Back in Australia he was admitted to the No.11 A.G.H. for treatment. He again refused an operation, because he was told that it was dangerous. The recommendation of the doctors was that he be discharged, as unfit for service.
Lance Corporal McMurray was discharged from the A.I.F. on 17 July 1916.
At the time of his discharge in July 1916, George McMurray was living at 203 Malop Street, Geelong, and received a military pension of three pounds per fortnight. By October 1917 this had reduced to 60 shillings per fortnight, and it was further reduced to just 15 shillings per fortnight from the middle of that month.
On 24 April 1918, George Stewart McMurray married Miss Nellie G. Beamish at St George’s Church in Malvern.
Punch (Melbourne, Vic), 20 June 1918, p.31
They set up a home and farm at Gheringhap, which is shown in the the electoral roll, listing them both as farmers.
Then, at the young age of 28, George McMurray died in the Geelong Hospital on 8 July 1920. His death notice stated that he was a “dearly loved husband of “Nellie” [Ellen Grace] McMurray, and only son of William and Christina McMurray; late of 24th Battalion A.I.F., and late of Werribee."
The Argus, 9 July 1920, p.1
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: McMurray, G.
The name "McMurray, G of Werribee" first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 9 September 1915, p.3.
There was a Councillor John McMurray who served on the Werribee Shire Council as a Councillor and a term as Mayor during the war years, who represented the North Riding. He had a son who served in the A.I.F., but records of a family connection between the two McMurray families of Werribee have not been able to be located.
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