Joe Mur­ray

BBC History Magazine - - Wwi Eyewitness Accounts -

Joe grew up in a County Durham min­ing com­mu­nity. He served at Gal­lipoli with the Hood Bat­tal­ion of the Royal Naval Divi­sion, be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to the western front and fight­ing at the Somme.

After be­ing wounded at the bat­tle of Ar­ras in April 1917, Mur­ray spent 1918 on light du­ties at­tached to the Naval Po­lice at Mil­ford Haven.

On 5 Oc­to­ber, I was told I was de­mo­bilised for work in the mines. I ar­rived home a cou­ple of days later with a civil­ian suit. Oh dear me, a lousy thing – de­mo­bilised! That was the end of that! It was plain that the war would soon be over. My old dad said: “Now look, Joe, you have a week or two off!” I said: “No, th­ese last 6 to 12 months I’ve had a lovely time, dad. I haven’t done any work. I’ve en­joyed my­self re­ally, fed like a turk­ey­cock!”

Mur­ray soon found that life in Burnop­field, County Durham had changed. He had changed.

I lost a brother aboard HMS Good Hope on 1 Novem­ber 1914, and all my school pals were dead. I felt a stranger in my own vil­lage. But I was pleased I had gone through it and sur­vived. I’d changed from a boy to a man. When I left, I was a boy, a proper raw rookie, but with the ex­pe­ri­ences I’d got more self-con­fi­dent.

“Th­ese last 6 to 12 months I’ve had a lovely time. I haven’t done any work. I’ve en­joyed my­self re­ally”

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