3/2517 Private Oswald James Murphy - New Zealand Medical Corp

Martin Murphy purchased land in the Pauatahanui area in 1866[i]. In 1872 he married Ellen McManaway. The couple
had six children with Oswald James and Martin Charles Murphy the youngest born in Pauatahanui on 13th May 1883[ii]. Martin Charles Murphy died aged 2 months and was the first person to be buried at St Joseph’s Cemetery, Pauatahanui[iii].

The Murphy went to Judgeford School with Ellen Murphy enrolled in 1879 and as they came of age John, Margaret,
Mary Jane and Oswald[iv] also attended the school.

Oswald was only three when his father Martin died in 1886 and eleven when his mother, Ellen died in 1894. It is probable that the older children, Ellen, John Patrick and Margaret Lysaught Murphy raised their younger siblings as the family remained in the District. There were possibly other members of Martin’s family living in the district who could support
the young family.

In 1905 both John Patrick (30) and his younger brother Oswald James Murphy (23) are listed in the Wises Directory as farmers of Judgeford, Patahanui.[v]

Oswald was also active in sports pictured in the Pahautanui Cricket Club 1909. The team features common family names, Harris, Death, Boulton, London and Jones.

Oswald left the district in 1911 and spent the years up to the start of WW1 working as a farm labourer in Greenmeadows, Hawkes Bay[vi] returning to Pauatahanui in 1915.

Oswald volunteered and took his medical examination in February 1916, while passed Fit A the medical examiner noted:

Has feet deformed in youth by wearing pointed toes, joint of big toe enlarged but apparently
they have never caused trouble, They will probably be all right in army boots.’

On 21st March 1916 Oswald James Murphy entered military camp with the 14th Mounted Rifles reinforcements.
Private Murphy is noted as a single man, working as a self employed farmer in Pahautanui. Private Murphy’s next of kin
is listed as his brother John Murphy, Pahauatanui.[vii]

3/2517 Private Murphy had indicated prior to enlistment his preference to serve in the Medical Corps so on
5th April 1916 he was transferred to J Company, 14th Reinforcements and then on 26th April to the New Zealand
Medical Corp, NZMC. Private Murphy remained in the training camp until 17th June 1916 when he was sent to Awapuni  Camp, Palmerston North which from October 1915 was New Zealand's only dedicated training ground for medical
officers, orderlies, stretcher bearers and medical crew for hospital ships[viii]. Private Murphy sailed from New Zealand
on 15th November 1916 with the 19th Reinforcements, NZMC.

On arrival in England on 29th January 1917 Private Murphy was first went to Sling Military Training Camp and then
during the next two years served a various Military Hospitals in England and Ireland.

Finally on 14th August 1919 Private Murphy was shipped back to New Zealand with other New Zealand Service personnel and war brides. The vessel, SS Adolf Woermann,  was a German ship seized by the Allies as war repatriations.

On return to New Zealand Private Murphy was discharge on 20th October 1919 ‘as no longer physically fit for war service.’
Oswald returned initially to his brother’s home in Pauatahanui but by 1921 had moved to Mildura, Victoria, Australia
where he is listed as a gardener[ix] and from where he requested the replacement of his British War Medal that had been lost in a fire.

The Murphy Grave at St Joseph's, Pauatahanui. 

Oswald returned to New Zealand in the late 1920’s and farmed in the Pauatahanui area for the rest of his life. Oswald died on 19th September 1953 and  is buried in the St Joseph’s Cemetery, Pauatahanui with his twin brother and his mother and father[x].
Oswald James Murphy is commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour in St Alban’s Church and the Murphy family is remember with the naming of Murphy’s Road off SH58 Paremata to Haywoods Highway.

The old spelling of Pahautanui is used when spelt that way in newspapers or documents.

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files
Porirua City Council – St Joseph’s, Pauatahanui
Pauatahanui – a local history: Helen Reilly

Pahautanui Cricket Team 1909: Pataka Museum
Murphy Graves – St Joseph’s cemetery: Billion Graves

[i] Pauatahanui A local history – Murphy family
[ii] NZ Births Deaths and Marriages
[iii] Porirua City Council, St Joseph’s Cemetery, Pauatahanui
[iv] Judgeford School
[v] Wises Directory Wellington : Pahautanui
[vi] NZ Electoral Rolls:
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 3/2517 Private Oswald James Murphy
[viii] Awapuni Camp, Palmerston North, NZ: Rootsweb.ancestry.com
[ix] Australian Electoral Rolls, Ancestry.com
[x] Porirua City Council, St Joseph’s Cemetery, Pauatahanui
Pauatahanui Cricket Team c1909