WH Murney

William Henry Murney, MMwBar


Sergeant William Henry Murney attested to the 21st Battalion in November 1914, as a private.  He was an original member of the battalion, which arrived in England, and later in France, in 1915.  Murney served with his battalion on the Somme (at Courcellete in September 1916), at Vimy Ridge, at Paschendaele, and later in the series of battles commencing on August 8, 1918 with the Battle of Amiens, finally being killed in the Battle of the Scarpe.  His first Military Medal was published in the London Gazette on 25 April 1918 (London Gazette Issue 30652). The recommendation for his first M.M. was Routine Order 1691 (Currie), dated March 15, 1918.  The citation reads as follows:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. In connection with a raid on a large scale when the enemy succeeded in entering our trenches under cover of an intense artillery barrage and the use of liquid fire, this N.C.O., with absolute disregard for personal safety, rallied men around him while exposed to the enemy's heavy barrage and rifle fire, and when the counter attack was launched led his men forward with great courage. After the line was reestablished he worked incessantly under the enemy's barrage re-organizing".

The Bar to his M.M. was published on 24 January 1919 (London Gazette Issue 31142), almost five months after his death. (The Military Medal could not be awarded posthumously, but it could be presented posthumously if a soldier was killed in an action which took place after the one for which he was recommended. This was the case with Murney.)

The Bar to the M.M. is listed in the London Gazette 31142, 24/1/19.  Below is a summary of his service file.



Jul 15, 1894

Born at South Monaghan Ontario


Nov 6, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion at Kingston Ontario 

Ø      Number 59690 (temporary number 787)

Ø      Next of kin given as William Murney (relationship not known) of South Monaghan Ontario

o       Note in file also requests that George Murney (father) of South Monaghan Ontario also be notified in case of death

Ø      Previous occupation given as Cheese Maker

Ø      No previous military experience given

Ø      Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø      Assigned to “G” Company


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked at Devonport England and proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe Kent


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St Seiriol at Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked at Boulogne France


Sep 21, 1915

Will made out leaving his estate to his father, George Murney


Jun 27, 1916

Admitted to the 4th CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) then transferred to the No 2 Canadian Divisional Rest Station with a shrapnel wound to right shoulder


Jul 1, 1916

Discharged to duty


Jul 2, 1916

Appointed to rank of Lance Cpl with pay


Jul 9, 1916

Promoted to rank of Cpl


Aug 6, 1916

Selected to attend the Stokes Gun Course at Terdeghem France


Sep 15, 1916

Wounded by shrapnel to hip and foot and admitted to CFA and transferred to CCS (Casualty Clearing Centre) 

Transferred same day to 8th General Hospital at Rouen


Sep 18, 1916

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Asturias


Transferred to CCAC (Canadian Casualty Assembly Centre) at Folkestone while in hospital 

Admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital at Birmingham


Nov 6, 1916

Awarded Good Conduct Badge for 2 years good service


Dec 30, 1916

Transferred to King’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital at Bushey Park


Jan 9, 1917

Discharged to CCAC for duty


Mar 10, 1917

SOS CCAC on transfer to EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) and attached to St Leonard’s for conditioning


Apr 5, 1917

Ceases to be attached at St Leonard’s and is TOS (Taken On Strength) the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford


Apr 17, 1917

SOS (Struck Off Strength) 6th Reserve Battalion on transfer to the 21st Battalion


Apr 18, 1917

Arrived at CBD (Canadian Base Depot) at Havre and TOS the 21st Battalion


Apr 21, 1917

Left CBD to join unit


May 21, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field 

He arrived with a draft of 149 Other Ranks to reinforce the Battalion after the losses at Vimy Ridge 

There is no mention of why he was delayed in joining the unit.  I assume that the time was spent at the 2nd Entrenching Battalion or at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp


Aug 15, 1917

Admitted to the 4th CFA then transferred to the No 23 CCS with a shrapnel wound to the neck


Aug 16, 1917

Transferred to 1st South African General Hospital at Abbeville


Aug 28, 1917

Discharged to Base Details and proceeded to No 2 CIBD (Canadian Infantry Base Depot) at Havre


Sep 6, 1917

Left to join unit


Sep 8, 1917

Joined the 21st Battalion in the field


Oct 7, 1917

Appointed Acting Lance Sgt with pay


Dec 1, 1917

Attached to 182nd Company, Royal Engineers


Dec 21, 1917

Rejoined Battalion from the Royal Engineers


Dec 23, 1917

Appointed to rank of Lance Sgt


Jan 31, 1918

Granted 14 days leave


Feb 15, 1918

Rejoined unit from leave


Mar 11, 1918

Promoted to rank of Sgt


Apr 25, 1918              Awarded the Military Medal per London Gazette #30652



Aug 28, 1918

Killed in Action

Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery
Haucourt France

Note that this is a double grave, Sgt Murney is on top


Jan 24, 1919

Awarded a Bar to Military Medal per London Gazette #


This was for action on August 8, 1918 at Marcelcave and first announced in the Battalion’s War Diary, September 4, 1918


Jun 7, 1921

Plaque and Scroll sent to George Murney (father) at RR #1 South Monaghan  Ontario


Sep 13, 1921

British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to father at RR #1 South Monaghan  Ontario


Jan 17, 1922

Memorial Cross sent to mother, Mrs. G. Murney at RR #1 South Monaghan  Ontario


Photos of medals and Plaque are reproduced with permission of the owner

WH Murney


Below is from the Peterborough Examiner, August 28, 1919

That stained glass window appears below



For the 7 nights leading up to November 11, 2010, the names of all Canadian soldiers were projected onto the Belgian War Memorial in Ypres.  At the same time, the same names were being broadcast via the internet to schools across Belgium and Canada.  The image above shows the opening ceremonies at the Belgian War Memorial on November 4, 2010. 

Below on the left is the name of William Murney being projected on that wall.  Below right shows the name being broadcast to the schools.  Each name appeared for 25 seconds and each night 9,700 names were shown.


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