Header image  


Honouring Australian World War One Personnel







Name - Harold Francis Murray

Rank - Sergeant

Official Number - 238

Enlistment Date - July 26th, 1915

Regiment - 30th Battalion, “C” Company


AWWOD descendant - Julie Searant




Service Detail - Harold Francis Murray was a “Builder and contractor” from Kogarah, NSW and was accepted on his 4th attempt to enlist on July 18th 1915 in Newcastle aged 23. The previous three attempts at Victoria Barracks Sydney failed due to his “small toe not correct shape”. Harold entered the Liverpool Camp on 26th July and left Sydney on 9th November aboard the SS Beltana A72 Troopship. His first postcard to his mother he wrote “Every prospect of a good trip. Harold”.

Harold served in Egypt, France and Belgium and made many leave visits to London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. He was wounded during the Battle of Fromelles at 9pm on the 19th July and released from hospital on Sept 8th. He later spent another three months in Bishops Knoll Hospital in Bristol from December 2016 with trench feet condition. The 30th Battalion was known as a reserve battalion where they were only required as backup and maybe this allowed Harold his many trips over the channel to London, and many more to Glasgow and Edinburgh where his father’s relatives lived. On one leave to Edinburgh in March 1918, he married a Scottish lass from Leith Edinburgh, who later returned with Harold aboard the troopship.

Harold completed a 21 day Physical and Bayonet Training course in February 1918. I expect his many years with the Cronulla Surf Club allowed him to easily complete this course. He looked very happy in the postcards sent back to his mother of the course and group photos.

One of his letters back to his mother dated March 16, 1916 he wrote “Some of my mates from home have evidently forgotten my address as I have had no word from them yet, although I have written to them. They must be crawling up hollow logs somewhere so as they won’t have to come join me in our touring holiday”.

Harold left Devonport on 20th June 1919 and arrived back in Sydney at 7am on the 10th August 1919 aboard the SS Konig Friedrich August with his Scottish wife Agnes, his many mates and their Scottish wives.



Members thoughts / recollections - I was 22 years old when he died in his 90th year after being taken from Merewether Ocean Baths in Newcastle to the hospital he would never walk out of in May 1981. Harold lived in Hamilton, Newcastle on returning from the war and had three children and 13 grandchildren and I remember how interested he was in all the grandchildren’s schooling, music and sporting events. Harold and Agnes originally lived in Hamilton before moving in their retirement to the beautiful Merewether Beach area and lived high on the cliff face where Harold walked every day down the hill to the Merewether Ocean Baths at 11am and back up the hill for his 1pm lunch. During the school holidays he had many grandchildren following him down and up the hill daily after his many laps. He taught us all to swim and took us for many walks along the beautiful Newcastle beaches. He loved to swim daily and was a winner of the Over 80’s AIF Swimming Championship in 1975.

Harold was very sporty, having been a member of the Cronulla Surf Club (his name is on the WW1 Memorial board in the Ballroom at the Club) before leaving for service in 1915. After the war he played a high standard game of Lawn Bowls where he won the Bronze Medal at the 1938 Sydney Empire Games with three other mates from Newcastle, one being his brother Aub who was in the 35th Battalion. The four were known as the “Big Four” due to their many achievements over the years playing together in the Lawn Bowls Fours competitions.

Harold attended the Anzac Day marches in Newcastle and the 30th Battalions annual Reunion in November at a local Newcastle venue. Harold took the role of President of the Reunion in the 60’s and kept the handwritten books of all attendees, the member address details, and the Last Post. The 54th Reunion was held in 1979, the last for Harold and at this point there were not many left of the 30th Battalion from the Hunter region, Sydney and Victoria.

Did I ever talk to Harold about the war, no, but I did sit with him and look at the photos he kept with his war diary. He loved showing me the photos as he was a keen photographer all his life. One day he took his diary out and showed me a little note dated 3rd October 1917 “To wish you many happy returns of the day. Agnes”. My Grandmother, the young 21yr old from Scotland lived to 90 years of age and they are buried together at Newcastle’s Sandgate Cemetery.