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Donald Norman Watson Murray

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Portrait of Colonel Donald Norman Watson Murray, Archves New Zealand, AALZ   25044 3 / F1464 15. Image is subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Colonel Donald Norman Watson Murray, Archves New Zealand, AALZ 25044 3 / F1464 15. Ima …

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Donald Norman Watson AWMM
  • Surname
    Murray AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Donald Norm Watson Murray AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWI 3/273 AWMM
    • WWII 42284 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    28 August 1876 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Pre 5 August 1914 AWMM 93 Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Mrs B.M. Murray (mother), Symonds Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 16 October 1914 AWMM Single/WWI AWMM

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) AWMM
      C.M.G. "This officer has during the period under review (25.2.18 to 16.9.18) rendered the most valuable service. From 25.4.18 to 6.6.18 his Unit (No.2 N.Z. Field Ambulance) evacuated wounded from the area in advance of Sailiy-au-Bois. This Officer constantly visited the forward posts and tracks, and by his careful selection of these and the construction of an excellent shell-proof Dressing Station at Sailiy-au-Bois undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his personnel and of the wounded in his charge, as both this Station and the tracks were frequently shelled. From 6.6.18 to 31.8.18 this Officer had charge of the Divisional Rest Station. By his careful organisation and constant supervision of this Station he had saved much sick wastage to the Division. Lieut-Colonel Murray commanded the N.Z. Mounted Field Ambulance since its formation in February, 1916. His tireless energy and great powers of organisation have contributed very greatly to the efficiency of the Medical Services of the Division. During periods of absence of the A.D.M.S. on leave or when sick this Officer has carried out the duties of that appointment to the complete satisfaction of all concerned." (London Gazette, 1 January, 1919, p 6, Rec No 2698. Reproduced in Wayne McDonald, "Honours and Awards to the NZEF in the Great War 1914-1918, p 230-231.) AWMM
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
      D.S.O. "He has shown great resource and initiative during the operations on the Somme since 15th September 1916. He has carried out the work of evacuating wounded under circumstances the most arduous and dangerous. His work has been a model of successful organisation. During the past two years this Officer has done most valuable work. His Unit was hastily organised last February in the Field from Infantry and Mounted Rifle details. In the course of a few months it became, under his able command, a most efficient Field Ambulance in the New Zealand Forces." (London Gazette, 1 January 1917, p 29 Rec No 430. Reproduced in McDonald, p231 as above.) AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) Three Times AWMM
      M.I.D. "Mentioned in despatch from General Sir Douglas Haig, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France, dated 14th November 1916." (London Gazette, 4 January 1917, p 262. Reproduced in McDonald as above.) M.I.D. "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. during the offensive of 4th October 1917 and the two days before and after this offensive this Officer was in charge of the Advanced Dressing Station at Wieltje (N.E. of Ypres) and of the evacuation of wounded from the advanced posts. He frequently, at great personal risk, went to the aid Posts to assure himself that they were being cleared. He personally directed the loading of Ambulance cars, at the Advanced Dressing Station although the road upon which he stood was at times heavily shelled. His presence here and his total disregard of his personal safety was an inspiration to all who saw him. This Officer performed excellent work in a similar capacity during the Messines offensive. He was awarded the D.S.O. for his work during operations of this Division at the Somme. (London Gazette, 28 December 1917, p 13576, Rec No 1472. Reproduced in McDonald as above.) M.I.D. " Sir D. Haig's despatch dated 8th November, 1918, submitting names deserving of special mention." (London Gazette, 22 January 1919, p 1165. Reproduced in McDonald as above.) AWMM
    • New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal AWMM
    • Queen's South Africa Medal AWMM
    • British War Medal (1914-1920) AWMM
    • Victory Medal with oak leaf AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Killed on Active Service, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Donald Norman Watson Murray had a long and honourable career serving his country. He served in South Africa with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the ranks. From 1908 he was in the Volunteer Service.

    When war broke out he enlisted with the New Zealand Medical Corps as a Major and Officer Commanding (OC) of the Mounted Field Ambulance which arrived with the Main Body at Suez on 3 December 1914. In early February 1915, Murray noted in his diary the "explosive" effect of the modern bullet when fired at close quarters (Carbery, "The New Zealand Medical Services in the Great War" p 25).This was said in observation of the wounds that Turkish soldiers suffered after fire on 2 February; the Turkish soldiers were so wounded that the NZMC looked after them, rather than sending them to Cairo.

    Auckland War Memorial Museum holds Murray's uniform (trousers, coat, peaked cap) and the flag flown at MDS Anzac Cove. After serving at Egypt, Murray went to Gallipoli for a short time before going to the Western Front. It was his work in Europe that earned him particular honour.

    On March 1 1916, Murray was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer (CO) of the No. 2 NZ Field Ambulance. Later that year on 14 September, it was decided that Murray would take charge of all evacuations from the Advanced Dressing Station at Flat Iron Copse, France. He was given 3 field ambulances and 21 motor ambulance cars. From the 15 September, Murray ensured that all wounded were evacuated with the utmost care and safety by exploring the front line himself. When there was a delay in evacuating the wounded, he devised a better route of evacuation. These actions earned him a D.S.O: "He has shown great resource and initiative during the operations on the Somme since 15th September 1916. He has carried out the work of evacuating wounded under circumstances the most arduous and dangerous. His work has been a model of successful organisation." (Excerpt. See above for full citation.)

    Similar work in October 1917 earned him mention in despatches: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. during the offensive of 4th October 1917 and the two days before and after this offensive this Officer was in charge of the Advanced Dressing Station at Wieltje (N.E. of Ypres) and of the evacuation of wounded from the advanced posts. He frequently, at great personal risk, went to the aid Posts to assure himself that they were being cleared. He personally directed the loading of Ambulance cars, at the Advanced Dressing Station although the road upon which he stood was at times heavily shelled. His presence here and his total disregard of his personal safety was an inspiration to all who saw him. This Officer performed excellent work in a similar capacity during the Messines offensive." (Excerpt. See above for full citation.)

    From January 1917 Murray was also the Commandant of the Anzac Medical Officers School in Flanders.

    in 1918, Murray was charged with evacuating the wounded from Sailiy-au-Bois, France. From April 6, Murray supervised the construction of a Dressing Station. It took 19 days to complete. On the first day 1000 sandbags were filled to block all the windows. The next day, beams were taken from buildings that were already wrecked by shell fire. These beams were placed over the roof and covered by sandbags filled with broken bricks so as to provide a bursting course. Outside walls were strengthened by sandbags filled with chalk blocks to give protection from small shells. However, heavy fire was also likely so Murray assembled a squad of infantry, some engineers and bearer to dig out a space 47 feet long, 12 feet wide and 15 feet deep which was filled with sandbags 3 feet thick and double roofed to make a monumental and very well fortified dressing station (Carbery pp396-397).

    It was the construction of this dressing station in particular that earned Murray a Companion of the Order of St Michael, as is made clear in part of the citation: "This Officer constantly visited the forward posts and tracks, and by his careful selection of these and the construction of an excellent shell-proof Dressing Station at Sailiy-au-Bois undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his personnel and of the wounded in his charge, as both this Station and the tracks were frequently shelled." (Excerpt. See above for full citation.)

    On December 1918, Murray became Colonel and Assistant Medical Director of Medical Services - NZ Division. He was discharged at the end of the war on 29 July 1919.

    Following the war, in September 1919, he took command of the military unit at the Civic hospital in Auckland, and later became a police surgeon. He also married Lillian Gertrude Murray.

    In WWII he was the Officer Commanding of Troops on HS Maunganui from April 1941 to February 1942. His long career of service was recognised with a New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal.

    Attended Auckland Grammar School.

    Listed at Archives New Zealand as Donald Norm Watson Murray

    Attended Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland). AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    4 September 1945 AWMM
    Age 69 AWMM
    AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Cremated at Waikumete Crematorium, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM Crem. Mem. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name
    Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. Napier, N.Z.: Helen McDonald. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Vol1: 529 AWMM
    • Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F. AWMM
      Cartoon of Lt. Col. Murray in Chronicles of NZEF, 13 February 1918, p.5. AWMM
    • Auckland Grammar School Chronicle. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland Grammar School. AWMM
      Auckland Grammar School chronicle. 1916, second term. pp.32-33. AWMM
    • A.U.C. roll of honour, 1914 - 1920. MSS & Archives E-2, Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2020). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-5). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 2: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Stowers, R. (2009). Rough riders at war : history of New Zealand's involvement in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and information on all members of the 10 New Zealand contingents. Hamilton, N.Z.: R. Stowers. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.258 AWMM
    • Connolly, A., & Stanes, P. Rememberance: Auckland Grammar School Great War Roll of Honour. Vols 1 & 2. Auckland: Petand Prodctions. AWMM

Contributors

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10 July 2016PhilAuckland, New ZealandResearcher
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