Phillip Stanton Murphy

September 7, 2015

MURPHY, Phillip Stanton- – – – SPC 1909-1912

DoB:- – 1897, Dereel, VIC

Father:- – Thomas Murphy

Mother:- – Frances, nee Judge

Phillip Stanton Murphy was the youngest of twelve children born to Thomas Murphy, a farmer, and Frances. Frances was seventeen years old when she married Thomas in Ballarat in 1871 and their family expanded from the following year. Phillip was only sixteen years old when his mother died in 1912, aged 58, succumbing to chronic bronchitis and heart failure. His father Thomas died a few years later in 1919, at the age of 75 years.

Phillip Murphy was a boarder at St Patrick’s College for four years. He successfully passed the Junior Public Examinations in the following subjects: Algebra (Distinction), Arithmetic (Distinction), Geometry, Geography, Latin, French and English.

Service No:- 2097

Rank:- – Private

Unit:- – 29th Battalion, Australian Army Veterinary Hospital

Phillip Stanton Murphy enlisted on July 21, 1915 at the age of 18 years and six months. He was five feet, six inches tall, with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was a single man who worked as a labourer. Phillip nominated his brother Thomas as his next of kin, claiming that both his parents were deceased, although his father was alive at the time of his enlistment, dying in 1919.

Phillip commenced his training in Flemington from 21 July to 11 August 1915, followed by four months at the Geelong Signalling School. On 16 December, Private Murphy was assigned to the 29th Battalion. On February 18, 1916, he embarked from Melbourne for active service on board the Ballarat, disembarking at Suez on 22 March.

He was not long in Egypt before he was charged with the offence of Using Obscene Language on 1 April 1916, for which he was awarded seven days’ field punishment. Just ten days later, Murphy was charged with being Absent Without Leave (AWL) from 8am to 6pm, for which he was awarded three days’ field punishment and had to forfeit one days’ pay. At the end of May, Private Murphy was transferred to the 8th Training Battalion at Moascar, and the following month, embarked from Egypt to proceed to Marseilles. He was taken on strength on 2 August, by the 29th Battalion after arriving in France.

A month after arriving in France, Murphy was charged with the offence of being AWL from his billet, from 1.30pm on 22 September 1916, and being Drunk. He was awarded seven days’ field punishment. Two days later, he was charged with Neglect of Duty, in that he lost his Small Box Respirator, valued at 15/-. He was awarded with having to pay for the respirator.

On 26 November 1916, Private Murphy was hospitalised with trench feet. His condition was so severe that he was transferred to the 2nd General Hospital in Havre, then back to England where he was admitted to the 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth on 3 December 1916 for further treatment. On Christmas Eve, he was discharged from hospital and granted Furlough until 12 March 1917, at which date he was to report to Perham Downs. Two weeks later, on 25 March, Murphy was again hospitalised, this time suffering from Mumps. He was well enough to be discharged on 29 April 1917, and he marched in to the Depot at Hurdcott.

Over the next few months, Murphy’s service file reveals that he was charged with frequent offences:

-‘1/5/17: OFFENCE. Hurdcott. Neglecting to obey C. O. -Bounds- [ie, his commanding officer caught him out of bounds]. AWARD. 2 days’ C.C.

22/5/17: OFFENCE. Hurdcott. Absent from parade 1 hour. AWARD. 5 days’ C.C.

30/6/17: OFFENCE. Neglecting to obey an order. AWARD. 2 days’ C.C.

[In France] 15/8/17: OFFENCE. 1) In town without a pass. 2) Breaking out of contact camp. AWARD. 26 days Forfeit Pay.

17/8/17: OFFENCE. Absent from 7am Parade. AWARD. Deprived of 2 days’ pay.

4/9/17: OFFENCE. Absent from billets at Tattoo. AWARD. Admonished.

31/12/17: FGCM [Field General Court Martial] held in the Field. CHARGE. Negligently wounding a Comrade. SENTENCE. To forfeit 26 days’ pay.’

For the next six months into 1918, it seems that Private Phillip Murphy was able to stay out of trouble. He was admitted to the 12th USA General Hospital on 3 July 1918 with a perforated eardrum, which was discharging and requiring treatment. By 10 July he had been transferred to the Australian Convalescent Depot at Havre. Despite suffering from Otitis Media [ongoing problems with his ear], Murphy was again charged with the offence of being AWL from 5 August to 7 August 1918. For this crime he had to forfeit 23 days’ pay. On 16 August he was discharged from hospital to the Base Depot, and in October 1918, Private Murphy was transferred to the Veterinary Corps.

From early October 1918 to March 1919, Murphy’s record shows that he was plagued with various skin problems and infections which necessitated several periods in hospital:

-’10/10/18: Discharged from Hospital to Duty -“ Inflamed penis. Rejoined unit.

– 15/10/18: Transferred to 30th General Hospital, Impetigo.

13/12/18: Discharged from Hospital to Duty -“ Seborrhoea. Rejoined unit.

24/1/19: Admitted 30th General Hospital, Calais, VDG. Discharged to Unit 16/2/19. VD period 24 days.

18/2/19: Admitted 30th General Hospital, Calais. Discharged to Unit 2/3/19. VD period 13 days.’

In February 1919, he was charged with, 1) being AWL from 17 February till 18 February, and 2) breaking out of hospital at about 2pm on 22/2/19 and remaining absent till apprehended by MP at 7pm same day. He was awarded 28 days’ Field Punishment and forfeited a total of 29 days’ pay. When he had completed his Field Punishment, he rejoined his Unit and proceeded from France back to Southampton where he arrived on 22 April 1919.

On 3 May 1919, Private Phillip Murphy left England for his return to Australia aboard the Leicestershire, disembarking at Melbourne on 21 June. He was formally discharged from the AIF on 2 April 1920.

Later in 1920, Phillip married Rose Agnes Cannon, and they settled in the Geelong area. Phillip worked as a labourer while Rose remained at home looking after their son, Douglas Phillip who was born in 1922. Electoral roll records show that that after 1927, Rose and Phillip were no longer living together. Phillip’s work as a labourer possibly took him away from home as, in 1931 he was living in Queenscliff, in 1934 in Rokewood, in 1937 in Bannockburn, and by 1942 he was back in Geelong. The census of 1942 shows Phillip living at 4 Gurr Street, Geelong, and by 1949, the last time that Phillip appears in the electoral roll, he was living at 22 Malop Street, Geelong. Throughout these years, Rose lived at 4 Ginn Street, Geelong with their son Doug, and worked as a laundress.

Phillip Stanton Murphy died on 20 September, 1958 at the young age of 60 years. It appears that he died alone, as the informant named on his death certificate was a police constable from the Rokewood police station. As he had disappeared from the electoral rolls in 1949, it is possible that he became itinerant. Phillip died after suffering from coronary artery thrombosis, and it was the Coroner who decided that no inquest into his death was required, and who authorised his body to be buried. Phillip was buried at the Rokewood Cemetery, and his headstone records that his service number and unit: -‘Private 2097 Army Veterinary Corps. Husband of Rose, father of Doug.’

Rose Agnes died in Colac in 1984, aged 87 years. She was buried with her brother, Alexander Joseph Cannon who survived her by five years.