Personal info

  • Name: James MURRAY
  • D.O.B: 1st Feb, 1859
  • D.O.A: 16th Jan, 1881
  • D.O.D: 19th Jul, 1942
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lance Corporal, 94th Regiment of Foot
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Elandsfontein, Transvaal, South Africa 16 January 1881

16 January 1881

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THE FIRST BOER WAR 1881 

On 16 January 1881 Colonel Gildea set out from Pretoria with a mounted column to attempt to relieve the British garrison at Potchefstroom, just north of the Orange Free State border. Ten miles west of Pretoria at Elandsfontein Ridge the column discovered a strong Boer position. Men of Nourse’s Horse managed to take almost two-thirds of the Ridge; the 94th Regiment then advanced and the Scots Fusiliers also provided support. However, Boer reinforcements arrived and Colonel Gildea had to withdraw his forces. At this point it was realized that wounded men were still lying at the foot of Elandsfontein Ridge. Under very heavy fire, sixteen men, among whom were Trooper J Danaher of Nourse’s Horse and Lance Corporal J Murray of the 94th Regiment, went back to rescue them. While tending to Fusilier Byrne, who was dying, Murray was shot in his right side and collapsed. As rescue was now impossible he ordered Danaher to take all their rifles and make his way back to British lines. Murray, together with another fusilier, Davis, and Byrne’s body, were captured by the Boers. Because of their wounds they were returned to Pretoria under a flag of truce. Davis died five days later.

Citation

 For their gallant conduct during an engagement with the Boers at Elandsfontein on the 16th January, 1881, in advancing for 500 yards, under a very heavy fire from a party of about 60 Boers, to bring out of action a private of the 21st Foot who had been severely wounded; in attempting which Lance-Corporal Murray was himself severely wounded. 

The London Gazette of 14 March 1882, Numb. 25084, p. 1130

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