31 December 1917

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30 December 1917

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William Murray

William Murray was clearly unsuited to military life, he was charged with being absent without leave and drunk on two occasions and deserted twice from the AIF.

Born in Goulburn in about 1888, William was working as a labourer in Orange when he enlisted in April 1916.

William proceeded to Dubbo training camp but less than six weeks later was fined £1 for breaking out of camp, being absent without leave and for drunkenness.

On 15 June 1916 William was transferred to Liverpool camp. On 8 July he was admitted to Milson Island hospital where he was treated for gonorrhoea; he was released from hospital on 29 July.

Just three days later, on 1 August 1916, William was apprehended in Haymarket and taken to Central Police Station where he was charged with being drunk and absent without leave.

Whilst in camp William’s efforts in musketry training ranged from satisfactory to inefficient and failure.

On 28 September William failed to return from final leave, and a warrant for his apprehension was issued on 4 November.

It appears that William re-enlisted on 5 February 1918, only to desert Liverpool camp on 30 April 1918.

No details are known of William’s post-war life.

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28 December 1917

You ask when is the war going to finish. Well, I don’t see any end in sight yet. You people in Australia have not the slightest idea what conditions over here are like. It is nothing but cold blooded murder, and I am full up of it….

…I think I told you about Messines being a terrible fight, but this last battle eclipses the lot. I never saw anything like it….

…We went into this battle 600 strong and came out of it with 170 men, so you can imagine what sort of a time we had. We were bombarded for sixty hours, and had our trenches blown to pieces.

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Harold Murray

Harold Murray was born in Orange in 1901 to Annie Oak Hannon and Robert Murray.

When Harold enlisted on 30 October 1918 he was one of the last people from the Orange district to do so; he saw no active service, peace was declared just twelve days later.

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25 December 1917

Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

As we passed the British cruisers they gave us three cheers for going to sea on Christmas Day

Christmas 1917, Phil Harum, Parkes

“Peace on earth; goodwill to men.”
A scrap of paper. But its surface bears
A wish that neither Time nor Tide impairs;

A prayerful wish that never can grow cold
While Faith and Hope the souls of men uphold.
And Charity sends forth her soft’ning rays
To pierce the darkest of our gloomy days.

Amidst the thunder of a thousand guns,
Where clouds of hate obscure the rising sun.
Or in this land, remote from War’s alarms,
Where Peace, though sullied, still retains her charms;

No sweeter message ever flowed from pen
Than that of “Peace on Earth, Good will to men.”

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24 December 1917

I had the impudence to sit in the seat King George used

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Peter Murray

Peter Murray was born in Orange in about 1883. He volunteered to serve in WWI on 28 September 1915 and proceeded to Armidale training camp.

Peter served for just 17 days; he was discharged from the AIF on 16 October. His service records state “not likely to become an efficient soldier”.

Peter Murray’s certificate of discharge. Image courtesy National Archives of Australia.


22 December 1917

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21 December 1917

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