Private Thomas McMurray


Thomas McMurray was born on 4 January 1892 at Ballinran, Kilkeel, County Down, the last of eleven children of farmer Samuel McMurray and his wife Eliza (née Dickson). By the time of the 1901 Census he was living on the family farm at Cappagh, Annaclone, near Banbridge, with his parents and two brothers. Ten years later, following the death of both his parents, he was living at 28 Bridge Street, Banbridge, at the home of an aunt, and working as a 'shopman draper'.

McMurray enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 25 May 1915 (No.1613). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, possibly with E Squadron on 11 January 1916.

In May and June 1916 E, D and A Squadrons of the North Irish Horse combined to form the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, and C and F Squadrons joined the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, each serving as corps cavalry units. In August-September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st NIH Regiment, were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including McMurray, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. McMurray was issued regimental number 41494.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918. He received a serious head-wound soon after, probably in the fighting around Wulverghem and Mount Kemmel on the Ypres front in April 1918.

McMurray was evacuated to the UK for treatment, and on 1 October 1918 was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension, his level of disability assessed at 80 per cent in April 1920. (Just 18 months later he was assessed at 30 per cent.)

McMurray later emigrated to the United States. He died at Windham, New Hampshire, on 18 August 1976.