Henry MURRAY
Rank: Private
Number: 13043
Unit: 10th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 22 December 1915
Age: 34
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Before he enlisted into the army, Henry worked for Armstrong & Whitworth Ltd in Gorton, Manchester. He lived at Brady Street in the Portwood area of Stockport with his wife and three children.

The 10th Battalion of the Fusiliers was formed in September 1914 and Henry enlisted in November. The early weeks were chaotic with the troops have little equipment and no proper billets but, in the British way of dealing with a crisis, things came together and, by the summer of 1915, they were ready for active service. They landed in France in mid July.

On 17 December, after a period in reserve, the Battalion went into trenches at Zoave Wood at Hooge just on the outskirts of Ypres. The unit's War Diary notes that, at 9am, the trenches were bombarded with a 10 heavy calibre shells and that two men were killed. Regimental records published after the War, indicate that three men were killed during the day and these two are believed to have been Alfred Bray and Willie Heywood. Like Henry, neither has a known grave.

The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 7 January 1916, reported "Private Murray had been granted leave to visit his sick mother and had started for home on 23 December when he was shot by a German sniper, his death taking place a few hours later."

Whilst not wishing to dismiss a contemporary account, there are indications that this report is not entirely accurate. Firstly, the Regimental records mentioned earlier indicate that Henry was "killed in action" (usually meaning killed outright - as opposed to "died of wounds"). Had he only been injured, then he would have been taken from the front line along the casualty evacuation route to a field hospital some miles away. Had he died there or en-route, it is likely that he would be buried in a known grave. It also seems unlikely, if he had already started on his journey home and was behind the front line, that he was shot by German sniper.

   
           
   
     
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