Private James Murphy


James Murphy was born on 23 August 1898 in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, the first or second of four children of coachman James Murphy of Knocklofty, Clonmell, and his wife Alice (née Sproule). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Cove, Waterford, with his parents and his two surviving siblings.

Murphy enlisted in the South Irish Horse at Waterford on 20 January 1917 (No.2506). He was aged 18 at the time, and gave his occupation as groom. On 5 April that year, while in training at Cahir, County Tipperary, he was awarded three days' confined to barracks for having a dirty rifle while on guard.

Murphy embarked for France on 18 October 1917. Soon after, between 30 October and 14 November, he was transferred to the North Irish Horse (No.2702 – later Corps of Hussars No.71982), and was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

At the time, the 1st NIH Regiment was serving as corps cavalry to V Corps, but in February-March 1918 it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit. This meant a 25 per cent reduction in the regiment's numbers, and Murphy was one of those posted to the Machine Gun Base Depot at Camiers for training as a machine-gunner. On 29 April 1918, however, he was posted back to the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment, which was then serving as corps cyclists to V Corps.

Murphy was wounded in the neck on 9 October 1918 during the Advance to Victory offensive. The injury was not severe, however, and following treatment at military hospitals in France, on 2 December 1918 he rejoined his regiment in the field.

On 7 June 1919 Murphy was transferred to the Army Cyclist Corps (No.23911) and posted to the IV Corps Cyclist Battalion. He served with that unit in the Army of Occupation at Rolsdorf in Germany, returning to the UK for demobilisation later that year.