20 November 1914

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19 November 1914

Snow at the front. Image courtesy National Library of Scotland.

Snow at the front. Image courtesy National Library of Scotland.

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18 November 1914

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Thomas Murphy

Thomas Murphy was born in Bathurst in 1890, a twin to Vincent Murphy, the sons of Daniel and Mary Louisa Murphy. Daniel Murphy and Mary Louisa Thompson had married at Bathurst in 1889. By 1892 they had moved to Orange where Harry, Mary, Daniel, Samuel, Vera, and William Murphy were born.

Thomas, aged 24 years, was working as a horse-breaker and living with his parents at Goodgodery when he enlisted with the AIF in Liverpool on 18 November 1914. As a member of the 6th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron, Thomas embarked from Sydney on HMAT Suevic A29, on 21 December 1914. The Suevic was part of the 2nd Australian and New Zealand Convoy that left Albany on 31 December 1914 for Egypt. The 1st Convoy had departed on 1 November 1914. The fifty-four Australian and New Zealand ships of these two convoys carried a total of 40,000 soldiers and nearly 17,000 horses. They were the two largest convoys to depart from Australia for the whole of the war.

After several months training in Egypt, Private Murphy was deployed with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment to Gallipoli and landed there on 12 May 1915. On 25 May, he was temporarily attached to the 1st Australian Division Head Quarters on Anzac Cove, where he served until rejoining the Head Quarters Staff of the 2nd Light Horse Brigade on 19 June 1915.

An offensive against the Turkish Army was undertaken on 7 August 1915, and the 2nd Light Horse was to carry out a feint attack from Quinn’s Post. The first assault wave was brutally mown down. Fortunately, the officer commanding the attack had the wisdom and courage to call off further attack waves. Of the 56 men who charged in the first wave, 16 were killed and 37 wounded. On 8 August 1915, Private Murphy was slightly wounded but did not go to hospital. On 12 September 1915 Private Murphy was appointed Lance Corporal, and just three days later promoted to Supernumerary Provisional Corporal.

Corporal Murphy was killed in action on 3 October 1915; the first soldier from Cumnock to die in WWI. He was buried at Shell Green Cemetery No. 1, Gallipoli, about 1150 yards south of Anzac Cove.

The Catholic Church in Cumnock held a requiem mass in Thomas’ honour on Sunday, 28 November 1915.

Corporal Murphy had nominated his mother, Mary, as his next of kin, and on 7 August 1916 she received a small parcel containing his personal effects: one wallet, three coins and one testament. In accordance with army protocol Thomas’ war medals were forwarded to his father.

Thomas’ younger brother, Harry Murphy, also served in WWI; he died of wounds received in action in France in February 1917. Another brother, Daniel Murphy, was also wounded in France but recovered and returned to Australia in September 1918.

Thomas Murphy is remembered on the Roll of Honour at the War Museum, Canberra, the WWI plaque on the Memorial Gates, Cumnock and on the WWI Honour Roll at the WE Agland MBE Memorial Museum in Orange. He is also commemorated on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.

Molong Argus, 29 October 1915, p. 4.

* Compiled by Dianne Strahan & Val McKenzie, Cumnock, 2015.

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17 November 1914

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16 November 1914

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William Feening

William Feening’s birth was registered at Murrumburrah near Harden in 1880. He attended school at Narromine before the family relocated to Kingswood, near Penrith.

Upon his enlistment in November 1914 William cited Orange as his place of birth on his attestation papers. He embarked from Sydney in February 1915, a Private in 4th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements. Feening served for 21 weeks at Gallipoli. He took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 and the Battle of Lone Pine in August that year. The following month Feening was severely wounded by a shell and was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station. He was transferred to hospital in Greece, then Malta, and eventually to King George Hospital in London, where he spent several months recovering. Early in 1916 he sent a letter home describing his ordeal at Gallipoli – “I got blown up and buried” – as well as a visit to Buckingham Palace.

Private Feening rejoined the 4th Battalion at the Somme in August 1916. In November he sustained a gunshot wound to the left foot, which again saw him hospitalised in England. In April 1918 Feening was hit by a shell near Hazebrouk in France, suffering serious wounds to his head and hands. He was taken to the 9th Field Ambulance and later transferred to the 15th Casualty Clearing Station at Ebblinghem where he died two days later.

William Feening is commemorated on the Honour Roll at Victoria Park in St Marys.

Nepean Times, 12 February 1916, p.4.
Soldiers’ Letters

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15 November 1914

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14 November 1914

Field Marshal Fredrick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts. Image in public domain.

Field Marshal Fredrick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts. Image in public domain.

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13 November 1914

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