Murray, Alexander (No. 8709)

Murray, Alexander


No. 8709, 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles 

Killed in action on Wednesday 10 March 1915 (aged 31) 

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel 42 and 43)

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour


In some records, including civil birth, marriage and death registration records, his family surname is spelt McMurray.

In the Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 – 1919 database it is recorded that Alexander Murray was born in Shankill, Belfast (not correct), lived in Holywood and enlisted in Belfast.

Alexander Murray was born on 26 October 1884 in Hibernia Place, Holywood and he was a son of Bernard (Barnard) and Eliza (Lizzie, sometimes Ellen) Jane Murray (nee McKinney, sometimes McKenna) who were married on 2 December 1875 in St Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, Belfast.  Bernard Murray (aged 31), a car owner from Spencer Street, Holywood was born in Downpatrick and he was a son of James Murray, a dealer.  Eliza (Lizzie) Jane McKinney (aged 21) from 67 Irvine Street, Belfast was born in Cookstown, Co Tyrone and she was a daughter of Edward McKinney, a rougher (deceased).

Bernard and Eliza (Lizzie) Jane Murray (nee McKinney) had five children:

James (born 18 September 1876 in Spencer Street, Holywood; died of tuberculosis 2 January 1911 aged 34)

Mary Ann (Minnie, born 5 February 1879 in Spencer Street, Holywood; married David Browne from 28 Campbell Park, Belmont, Belfast who was a son of Alexander Browne, a bakery owner on 2 October 1912 in St Mark’s Church of Ireland Church, Dundela)

William (Willie, born 23 May 1880 in Spencer Street, Holywood)

John Edward (born 23 April 1882 in Hibernia Place, Holywood)

Alexander (born 26 October 1884 in Hibernia Place, Holywood)

Bernard Murray died of cardiac disease in Marine Parade Cottage, Holywood on 9 July 1907 (aged 73).  His son William was with him when he died.

Alexander Murray worked as a hairdresser before he joined the Army.

He was residing at 50 Surrey Street, Glasgow when he enlisted in the 3rd Scottish Rifles Militia on 2 May 1907.  Aged 22 years 6 months, he stated his age to be 19 years 7 months.  He also stated that he was a general labourer, born in Shankill, Belfast.  It was noted that he was 5 feet 3¾ inches tall with grey eyes, dark brown hair, and tattoos on the backs of both forearms (anchor on the right, initials ‘A.M.’ on the left).  He joined the Royal Irish Rifles on 27 July 1907.

In 1911 he was serving with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in Burma.  He went with the   1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on 5 November 1914 and he was killed in action on 10 March 1915 at Neuve Chapelle.  The village had been heavily shelled and it was reported that ‘the bodies of soldiers killed in October 1914 were blown out of their graves and mixed with the bodies of those recently killed’.

In the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects there is reference to his mother Elizabeth, his brothers John and Willie and his sister, Mrs Minnie Browne.

Rifleman Alexander Murray (No. 8709) is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 496).