When Hugh Miller Murray joined the 3rd NSW Mounted Rifles in 1900 and proceeded to South Africa to serve in the Boer War he followed in the Murray family’s long tradition of military service. His grandfather, Sage Murray, had fought in the Battle of Waterloo, and his uncles in the Sudan.
Hugh’s father, Adam, was born at Loth, Sutherland, Scotland and emigrated to Australia in 1845. He went to Molong in search of gold but became a cattle and sheep grazier, and was the first man to travel sheep overland to Ballarat.
In 1865 Adam married Jane Sage Mackey in Scotland. The couple returned to the Central West and had ten children in 17 years, including Hugh, who was born in 1877. Adam passed away in Orange in January 1902, while Hugh was serving in the Boer War.
In February 1902, Hugh was taken prisoner in South Africa. He was in an orchard picking fruit when he was fired upon at close range. The bullets hit a nearby shack and splinters of wood embedded in his cheek. He was later released and returned safely to Australia.
When Hugh enlisted in World War One in June 1915 he had already served more than 16 years with the 3rd Regiment Australian Light Horse. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 9th Reinforcement as a private, embarking from Sydney on 30 September. Hugh served in Egypt for three months before proceeding to the Western Front.
On 2 March 1917 Private Murray was injured at Thilloy on the Somme, receiving a shrapnel wound to the ankle. He was subsequently captured by German forces and taken to Gefangeneenlager camp in Dulmen, Germany where he was interned as a prisoner of war for 21 months. He was released in December 1918 and repatriated to England.
On 9 February 1919 Private Murray embarked Ascanius, for his return home. He disembarked in Sydney on 4 April 1919 and was taken to the Garrison Hospital at Victoria Barracks for a medical examination. He was pronounced to be “fit” and suffering “no disabilities”. He returned to Orange and was discharged from the AIF on 27 March 1919.
Hugh never married; he died in Orange on 28 June 1947, and was buried in the Presbyterian Section of Orange Cemetery.
Hugh Miller Murray is commemorated on the Nashdale Public School Honour Roll.
Many other members of the extended Murray clan in the Central West served during WWI, including Hugh’s great nephews George Wren Murray, Sage Clyne Sinclair Murray, Walter Stewart Murray and William Wallace Murray, and his cousin, George Murray.