Sergeant Thomas Murdock


Thomas Murdock was born on 15 October 1875 at Pipers Hill, Lisburn, County Antrim, the third of eleven children of linen bleacher John Murdock and his wife Mary (née Ramsey). On 23 October 1894 he enlisted at Belfast in the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers (No.4492). He gave his occupation as bleacher, and stated that he had previously served in the 5th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, obatining his discharge by purchase.

Murdock served with his regiment in India from 11 September 1895, then in South Africa from 5 March 1898. He remained there during the Boer War, returning to the UK on 22 October 1902. Two months later he was transferred to the Army Reserve, and on 22 October 1906 was discharged on the completion of his fourteen years' service.

Following his transfer to the reserve Murdock returned home and worked as a bleacher. On 2 April 1904 he married Anna Bella Duff in the Hillhall Presbyterian Church, County Down. The couple had three children over the next five years. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living at Tullynacross, Drumbeg, County Down, Murdock working as a linen damask bleacher.

Murdock enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 5 October 1914 (No.1269 – later Corps of Hussars No.71313). He gave his age as 37 years 318 days, two years less than his true age. He was promoted to lance corporal on 3 February 1915, corporal a month later, then sergeant on 3 June. On 30 October 1915 while in training at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp he was admonished for neglect of duty whilst squadron orderly sergeant, and on 11 November he was severely reprimanded and reverted to corporal (at his own request) for being drunk and creating a disturbance  in camp, and irregular conduct.

On 3 January 1916 Murdock embarked for France, where he was posted to one of the regiment's five squadrons. On 2 October that year, however, he was returned to the UK, perhaps due to illness. He remained with the regiment at the Antrim camp until the end of the war. On 11 February 1919 he was made acting sergeant and the following month volunteered for an additional year's service. However on 30 June he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392 (xvi), King's Regulations).


Murdock's brothers Alexander, John and William also served in the army – Alexander in the Army Service Corps and the others in the Royal Irish Rifles.