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Kings (Liverpool) Regiment - Joseph J Murphy


Allena

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Hello. This is my first post here, so please excuse any silly mistakes!

I am trying to trace some information about my Grandfather's cousin - Private Jospeh James MURPHY. He served in the King's (Liverpool) Regiment in the 20th (Pals) battalion. His service number was 23877 and I believe he was killed on 3rd July 1916, aged 24. His name is inscribed on his parents' gravestone at St John's Church of Ireland, in Caledon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland (although the date inscribed there says he died on 1st July 1916). I have always assumed his name was on the family gravestone simply as a memorial, as I didn't think it would have been possible to have brought his body home for burial given the scale of the carnage in 1916. However, I recently discovered on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website that St John's in Caledon is actually designated as being the site of two war graves - one from World War I and one from World War 2. There are no details on the CWGC site as to the names of the two soldiers buried in Caledon, and so my question is this ... is it possible that our Joseph James Murphy's body was indeed brought home and buried in his native Caledon?

I wonder if anyone knows any further information about him, his death, or if anyone can advise me on how to find out whereabouts he was actually buried. According to the CWGC, his name is also on the Thiepval Memorial. I should be very grateful for any assistance anyone can give me to sort out this confusion. I live in Northern Ireland and it is most unlikely that I shall be able to make a trip over to Kew in person. Many thanks for your time and help.

A.

PS This is a wonderful site and I am grateful to all involved with its creation.

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Thank you for your swift replies gentlemen. Do you know how I can find out who is actually buried in Caledon churchyard though? If Joseph James Murphy is listed amongst the "missing" then I wonder who is buried in Caledon? As far as I know, JJM's is the only WW1 gravestone there. Hmmm.

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A little more information taken from "Liverpool Pals" by Graham Maddocks:-

"When the wood (Bernafay) was finally occupied, on the night of 3rd/4th July by the 27th Brigade of the 9th Division, the Germans shelled it very heavily, causing many casualties, including over thirty of the 20th Battalion, which were still occupying the remains of the Briqueterie" (brick works at Montauban).

Again hope it helps.

Slasher

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Pte Jones J G Army Service Corps 21/6 1918

Pte Wilson H 13007499 Pioneer Corps 27/7/1945.

Many people had their loved ones names inscribed on their own headstones as a memorial

Stevem

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I guess that answers my question about poor Joseph - most likely blown to Kingdom come, like so many others in that cruel war. I'll place a poppy cross on his grave at the weekend, regardless.

Thank you for the name of the soldier buried at St John's in 1918. I must have missed seeing his headstone there. It's a very old cemetery dating back to the 1700s. Very nice location on Church Hill. See Caledon.org website for pictures, if you're interested. (My Granny Mercer is featured in the WW2 photo section with some American GIs).

My thanks again for kind expertise.

A.

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I guess that answers my question about poor Joseph - most likely blown to Kingdom come, like so many others in that cruel war. I'll place a poppy cross on his grave at the weekend, regardless.

The statistics may paint a more hopeful picture, Allena. There are (very roughly) 73,000 soldiers named on the Thiepval memorial as having no known graves. But there are (again, very roughly) 35,000 unidentified burials in the war cemeteries in the area. So there's a 50% chance that your soldier is buried in a war cemetery under a headstone saying, "A soldier of the Great War known unto God".

Tom

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