2nd Bn Highland Light Infantry
Alexander, known as Alex; is my 1st cousin 3x removed. His father, Alexander; and my 2nd great grandfather, William; were siblings. Alexander was born on 2 Jul 1879 in Ballymoney, Co. Antrim. As I mentioned in a previous post; “Ballymoney is a small town in Co. Antrim; a short distance away from the Causeway Coast and the Glens of Antrim. It’s a place where I had the pleasure of living for a few years and a place, as a young girl; I didn’t want to leave…”
Alex was the middle child of three siblings born to Alexander Murdock and Jane Holmes. His parents married in the Ballymoney Reformed Presbyterian Church on 7 Jun 1877. His older sister Annie was born in 1878 and his little brother Archie was born in 1881. Sadly, just before Alex’s sixth birthday, on 15 Mar 1885; his mother passed away at the very young age of thirty. She left behind her husband and her three children who where all under the age of eight. Alex’s father remarried two years after Jane’s death.
In the 1901 Scottish Census Alex was living at 46 Hutcheson Street, Maryhill, Lanarkshire, Scotland and working as a general labourer. He was living with his aunt, Sarah Jayne Burkhill (nee Murdock); and family. It is unclear when he and his brother Archie had moved to Scotland. Annie remained in Ballymoney, having married in 1896 when she was still a minor.
Fast forward ten years later, in the 1911 Census Return of all Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commission Officers, Trumpeters, Drummers and Rank; Alex is listed as a Lance Corporal in the Highland Light Infantry. While living in Glasgow Alex had enlisted in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
Like his mother Jane, Alex was not destined to live a long life. An excerpt from “Ballymoney Heros” by Robert Thompson; reads:
“In January 1916 Alex was in hospital suffering from injuries but was improving and looking forward to ten days leave. I have been unable to trace the family of Alex Murdock but he was with his battalion north of the River Ancre in October 1916.
The first week of November saw a change in the weather, with some prospects of a lasting improvement. The weather had been very wet and the terrible condition of the water-logged trenches, many of which, including important communication ways, were little better than treacherous quagmires, while others were filled with water to a depth of three or four feet. The attack, however, was set for the 13th, zero hour being 5:45 a.m.
On the 11th the battalion occupied their trenches for the last time and after the huge amount of repair work which had been done on them they were so deep that it was almost impossible to get out of them and a great number of ladders had to be used to overcome the difficulty. So impetuous were the leading waves of the attack that they entered the enemy front line at the same time as the British barrage, and undoubtedly suffered many casualties from their own shell fire. Within six minutes the line was captured and many German prisoners taken. It was during this attack that Alex Murdock was killed…”
Alex is remembered in “Ireland’s Memorial Records – Soldiers Who Died in the Great War”; he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier 15 C. He has no known grave.
Like so many others, Alex didn’t come home.
Copyright (c) (2014) (https://colleenjmurdoch.worpress.com). All Rights Reserved.
Hey there, haven’t read this post yet, so busy with night duty but will do so soon, but love the way you do the pics, is that scrapbooking that you scan…I do scrapbooking (although bit slack lately) but if it is you have used it in a really creative and interesting way….love ya work….Vicki in Oz
Hi Vicki, thank you so much! I use a variety of computer programs; this particular one came with my HP printer; it’s called Photo Creations! Enjoy work!!! I’m looking forward to my 4 day weekend! Take care!
hmmm lost my reply, so again….I just got a new printer but unfortunately it didn’t have any interesting programs like that…it is very good…must check online and see if I can buy it perhaps…anyway very clever and looks great.
I hope you have a lovely Easter doing whatever you enjoy xxxx Cheers for now Vicki
OK I have read this post. I do so love the way you write your family member’s history. So much passion, and empathy, and of course the history, the social history and the personal history makes it all so “real”. As of course it was. The World War I in particular has really taken my interest in the last few years. Maybe it is getting older? Have you read Sebastian Falks “Birdsong”. I didn’t think I would enjoy a novel about war, and it was just after I had huge major surgery in 2008, but I cried all the way through the book, but couldn’t put it down. Do read it if you haven’t, it certainly puts you right there. Once again a fabulous post, it’s like picking up a favourite book and finding a new chapter has suddenly appeared!! I am in awe of your writing skills, bringing these dear people to life.
Cheers from Vicki in Oz
Hi Vicki, what a lovely compliment; thank you so much! I’m not sure what’s happened in the last few days; however, it seems my little blog has been found! I love that people are actually interested in what I’m writing about. It’s additional bonus; as I just really write the blog for me. BTW the printer I bought is an HP Officejet Pro 8600, which is what the software came from. Take care; I hope the Easter Bunny is good to you!
Hi again, yes, I have been a bit slack of late, so busy working at night, but just organised to have tonight off (Thursday) so will have 3 nights off and back Sunday so I want to get into doing a post or two. Probably partly as a boost from the way you publish I have decided of late to just post interesting things I know about my ancestors. I was trying to do it in some sort of timeline order, but it is just too hard. I have posted one post about my gg grandfather, and as he was such a pioneer here with so many interesting stories about him I am going to go with the interest rather than the timeline although it would have been nice, but if I do that I will never post anything. It’s great other’s are reading your post. I would like that too, firstly I was hoping family would find it and enjoy it, but it does not seem to be the case, many seem to just want to take info straight from trees on ancestry.com and that is that. So, like you, I am hoping to cover the history side as well, what was happening at the time. As my father’s ancestors arrived here only 3 years after South Australia was proclaimed a colony, he was an “old colonist”, so there are many interesting stories and some newspaper and other stories or mention’s of him, so I will do that. As an ex librarian I have a love of research, and a love of history, so my aim has always been as you, to write a social history as well intertwining the cold hard facts.
p.s. My new printer is an HP and I will check out the site, I did find a site for the photo program, although it says it is not available in all countries. But if I can download it I will and use it. If not I may be able to find something similar. Anyway, nice to hear back from you, keep up the wonderful writing, you have a fan in me….lol…cheers from Vicki again.
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