Lt
Francis William Joseph Murphy

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1889
Place of birth:
Fitzroy North, Victoria, Australia

General information

Last known residence:
Northcote, Victoria, Australia
Profession:
Clerk
Religion:
Roman Catholic

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Lieutenant
Enlistment date:
24/03/1915
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 24th Bn. (Victoria)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
04/10/1917
Place of death:
Jabber Track, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
28

Cemetery

Aeroplane Cemetery
Plot: V
Row: A
Grave: 5

Distinctions and medals 3

British War Medal
Medal
Military Medal
Medal — 15/09/1916
Victory Medal
Medal

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

Francis William Joseph Murphy, a former clerk, was born in April, 1889 in North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of William Joseph and Margaret Alice Murphy. On March 24, 1915 he enlisted in Melbourne and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A14 Euripides on May 8, 1915, with the original 24th Battalion, part of the 6th Australian Brigade of the 2nd Australian Division. At the time of embarkation, he had the rank of Lance-Sergeant.

He received the Military Medal on September 15, 1916 for ‘valuable work throughout the operations since 26 March 1916’. He was promoted to Lieutenant on September 5, 1917.

The 2nd Australian Division participated in the Battle of Broodseinde on the 4th of October 1917. It attacked with two brigades, the 6th and the 7th Australian Brigades. The 24th Battalion was part of the 6th Brigade, which attacked on the right of the divisional front. The 22nd Battalion would take the first objective, the red line. Once they had taken this line, the 24th would pass through the 22nd on the right and the 21st would do the same on the left. The Battalion assembled before the attack at the jumping-off positions in front of Tokio, but soon moved closer to the road leading to Tokio on account of German artillery fire on and around Albania. By 4.45 a.m. the companies of the Battalion were in position at the jump-off trench. They made use of shell holes and old trench systems to form a line. Their goal were the German positions at the Broodseinde ridge, which they would reach by crossing the Zonnebeke Creek, up the rising, past De Knoet Farm and across the Broodseinde- Beselaere Road, over the crest of the ridge, and to the line, of the objective, on the forward slope. At 5.30 a.m. moments before the Battalion would attack, the German artillery, including minenwerfers, started shelling the jump-off line. The Germans were about to attack themselves in the hope of recapturing Zonnebeke. The heavy shell fire was very destructive, killing forty men and two officers instantly. The Battalion’s strength was consequently reduced by round thirty per cent, even before the attack had commenced.

At 6 a.m. the British and Australian artillery opened fire on the German positions and the troops started to advance. The 22nd led off, followed by the 21st and 24th. Zonnebeke Lake was on the jumping-off line on the left. The three battalions had to storm the front over 3oo yards right of the lake. Once they had passed the lake the units on the left had to change direction to cover the ground allotted to them. The German infantry was utterly surprised by the allied barrage. They were quickly dispersed, killed or taken prisoner by the advancing Australians. Docile Trench and De Knoet Farm fell without much opposition and the 22nd Battalion reached their objective by 6.50 a.m. On the right flank of the 24th Battalion the troops met resistance in Romulus Wood, but the Germans were eventually overpowered. At 7.30 a.m. the 21st and 24th moved up behind the protective barrage, reaching the second objective, the blue line at 8.10 a.m., where the dug in and prepared for eventual counterattacks.

Francis William Joseph, aged 28, was killed in action around 6 a.m. on October 4, 1917 by enemy shell fire on the jumping of tape. Lieutenant Murphy was found after the war where he fell, near Jabber Track (28.D.28.c.80.30); his remains were exhumed and reinterred at Aeroplane Cemetery; Plot 5, Row A, Grave 5.

Files 1

Sources 5

24th Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/41/25).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
6th Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/6/26).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), RCDIG1064166).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
https://www.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used

More information 4