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Thomas Murphy (1893-1918)

Wheatley Hill miner who served in the DLI died in a POW camp and is buried in Cologne

Thomas Murphy, the son of Thomas Murphy and Annie Murphy nee Mullins, was born in Wheatley Hill on 11 April 1893. He had three brothers and five sisters and lived in Wheatley Hill all his life until he enlisted in the 10th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (DLI) in Sunderland on 20 August 1914 when working as a miner.

After training in Woking, Surrey and Aldershot, Hampshire, the battalion landed in France on 21 May 1915 and was soon involved in the
fighting on the front line south of Ypres, Belgium. On 27 March 1916, when returning to his billet, Thomas slipped on the ice and fell and broke his ankle. After initial hospitalisation in France he was sent back to hospital in England and, after convalescence, returned to active duty on 29 September 1916.

Thomas returned to France on 3 October 1916 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion, DLI. On 30 November 1916 he was transferred to the 255th Tunnelling Company of the Royal Engineers until October 1917 when he returned to the DLI, this time to the 2nd Battalion. On 21 March 1918 he was reported missing on the Somme Front and was captured by the enemy. He was sent to prisoner-of-war (POW) camp at Gelsenkirchen, Germany and died in the hospital of pneumonia on 20 July 1918. He was buried in the local cemetery but was subsequently re-interred in the Cologne Southern Cemetery.

Civil Parish: Wingate

Birth date: 11-Apr-1893

Death date: 20-Jul-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 1 South Street, Thornley, Durham (1901 Census)
12 Stockton Street, Wheatley Hill, Durham (1911 census)

Religion: Roman Catholic

Employment: Miner (1911 census & British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920)

Family: Father: Thomas Murphy
Mother: Annie Murphy (nee Mullins)
Siblings: Michael F, Mary, Catherine, Susan, Bridget, Ellen, Barnard and John Murphy

Military service:

10th, 2nd & 3rd Battalions, Durham Light Infantry and The Labour Corps
Service no: 23109

Medal(s): 1914-1915 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Memorial(s): Cologne Southern Cemetery, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Grave Ref: XV.A.8
D.L.I. 1914-1918 Book of Remembrance, Durham Cathedral
Wheatley Hill 1914-1918 Cross
All Saints Church, Wheatley Hill 1914-1918 Memorial Organ & Plaque
Miners’ Welfare Hall, Wheatley Hill 1914-1918 Plaque
Working Men’s Club, Wheatley Hill 1914-1918 Cross

Gender: Male

Contributed by John Edwards

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