James Crowder Murphy (1884–1916)


Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 41583 17th Battalion

Photo Belper News 27 Oct 1916

James Murphy WW1

James was born in 1886 at Crich, the son of John and Eliza Murphy. Like his father James worked at Ambergate wireworks.
On the 9th October 1916. a Lewis gunner, he was killed in action by an exploding shell, aged thirty-one, during the attack on the Schwaben Redoubt, Somme, and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

There was no mention of 17th Battalion attacking that day but at 4.30 am the 16th Foresters made a surprise attack in the dark on Schwaben redoubt’s northern face. The right company entered the trench but were forced out again. (The Somme day by day account Chris McCartney)  Either he was loaned out for the attack or the subsequent enemy shelling killed him. [Steve Morse]

Newspaper Report

Belper News and Derbyshire Telephone, 27 October 1916
The information was received by letter last week of the death in action of Lewis Machine Gunner James Murphy, Amber Grove Cottages, Ambergate. The deceased Gunner was 32 years of age this coming December. In civil life he was a wire drawer at the Ambergate Wire Mills. He volunteered on April 6, 1916. He had been out just three months and was killed on October 9. Second-Lieut A E Wheatley writes to Mr J Murphy: – “With very much regret I have to write and tell you that your son Pte J Murphy 41583, 8 platoon, B company, – Sherwood Foresters, was killed whilst on duty in the trenches on the 19th instance. At the time I myself was in another part of the line. Your son and a number of his comrades, I understand, were outside their dug-out in the reserve line. A shell burst among them, killing your son and another (Pte Peers) instantly, I believe. I have only been with this battalion for a few weeks, and again the duties of the Lewis Gunner lie somewhat apart from those of the rest of the Platoon. (No doubt you are aware your son was a Lewis Gunner). So I have not seen very much of your son, but I can assure you of his many admirable qualities and soldierly conduct will cause us to miss him very much. Like many more he has died nobly for a great cause. His comrades and myself offer you our deepest sympathy in your loss. I have a couple of photographs which I will send you when I can find an envelope to fit them. At present we are just out of the trenches.

The photographs found of the deceased hero were a photo of himself the other his sister Dolly and niece Ethel Jane. Mr Murphy has also received a letter of condolence in the loss of a son from the general secretary of the Amalgamated Wire Drawers’ Society of Great Britain.

Medal Roll Index Card
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

Sherwood Foresters Roll
James Murphy was killed in action when in the attack on The Schwaben Redoubt, Somme, France.

Derby Silk Mill Museum
Memorial shield 1987-170/1
Memorial shield given by Amalgamated Wire Drawers Ambergate District "In memory of Pte James Murphy, 17th Bn Notts and Derby Regt, 1914-1919". The Amalgamated Wire-Drawers was a trade union organisation, and was dedicated to those who worked in the metalworking industry in Britain. James was born in 1886 at Crich, Derbyshire. His parents were John and Eliza Murphy and like his father he worked at Ambergate wireworks. 41583 Private James Murphy was killed on 9 October 1916 at the age of 31 during the attack on the Schwaben Redoubt on the Somme in France. By the time the Commonwealth War Graves Commission got in touch with his family in the early 1920s, they had moved to 2 Kerry Street, Nottingham Road, Derby. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials J
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Private
Regiment/Service Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit 17th Bn
Age 31
Date of Death 09/10/1916
Service No 41583
Additional information Son of John Murphy, of 2, Kerry St., Nottingham Rd., Derby
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference Pier and Face 10 C 10 D and 11 A

War Grave Cerificate for James Murphy in WW1

Soldiers' Effects Book
James Murphy; 17th Bn Notts & Derby Regt; Private 41583; killed in action 9.10.16; War Gratuity £3; paid out to:
17.2.17 father John £1 18s 8d
7.10.19 father John £3 0s 0d


1891: Ambergate

Forename Surname Relationship Age Information Where born
John Murphy Head 44 Wire drawer Crich
Eliza Murphy wife 27   Matlock
Ellen Murphy daughter 15 Factory hand Crich
James Murphy son 6   Crich
Annie Murphy daughter 4   Toadmoor
Florence Murphy daughter 1   Toadmoor
Harriet Murphy daughter 6 mo   Toadmoor

RG12 piece 2747 folio 68 page 31

1901: Ambergrove, Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Information Where born
John Murphy Head 44 Wire drawer Ambergrove
James Murphy son 16 Wire works labourer Crich
Florence Murphy daughter 11   Heage
Harriet Murphy daughter 10   Heage
Mary Murphy daughter 8   Heage
Theresa Hind   35 Housekeeper Littleover

RG13 piece 3231 folio 58 page 1

1911: Ambergrove, Ambergate

Forename Surname Relationship Age Information Where born
John Murphy Head (wdwr) 54 Farm labourer Crich
Theresa Chambers (married) 49 Housekeeper Littleover
James Crowder Murphy son 26 Wire drawer Crich
Mary Murphy daughter 18 Ironer dye works Ambergate

RG14PN20984 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED13 SN3