The Cemetery contains 1 soldier of the original 1st Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, who died in 1916.


1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment
Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Étaples MilitaryCemetery

©: G E Conway, 2009
Their name liveth for evermore
Private E J Conway (circa. 1905)
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This cemetery contains 10773 British and Commonwealth burials from the Great War (8819 from Britain, 1145 from Canada, 464 Australians, 260 from New Zealand, 68 South Africans and 17 from India).

The Étaples area was the scene of many reinforcement camps and hospitals, mainly as it was far from the battlefields yet still accessible by railway from both the northern or the southern battlefields. In the immediate vicinity were 11 general, one stationary, four Red Cross hospitals and a convalescent depot, could deal with 22,000 wounded or sick. Some of these facilities remained for long after the Armistice.



Private 9927 Robert MURPHY

Date of Death:
9 September 1916 (Died of wounds)
Grave No:
X.C.15.
Unit:
'A' Company
Age:
23
Personal History:
Robert was born in St Wilfred's, Manchester in the March quarter 1893, the son of John and Bridget Murphy. He was a native of Hulme Lancs. (There is no obvious record of the family in the1901 Census)
Military History:
Robert enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Hyde, Cheshire. Currently his Army records are unavailable, possibly destroyed in Second World War bombing.

He was a Regular Soldier serving with the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card confirms that he entered France on 16th August 1914. He would have fought on the left of the line at Audregnies on 24th August 1914 and survived the subsequent fighting at La Bassée and Ypres.

As he died of wounds it is difficult to say precisely where those wounds were received. If they were recent the most likely action would have been the fighting near the village of Guillemont. The attack started at 9.0 a.m. on 3rd September 1916 and immediately faltered as there had been insufficient artillery support and the Cheshires were ordered forward to reinforce 13th Brigade. From their reserve position to the front line, they had to cross sloping ground in full view of the enemy and under heavy shell fire.  On arrival at the front line, it was found that the trench was crowded with men from the attacking Battalions who had been forced to pull back. Gradually 13th Brigade was able to be withdrawn and the Cheshires took over the line, still under attack from artillery fire. Guillemont had been captured by the main force, but Falfemont Farm remained in enemy hands.

At noon on the 4th, orders were issued for another attack on the Farm. This was scheduled for 3.00 p.m. The attack would be undertaken by the Norfolks on the right, the Bedfords on the left and "A" and "C" Companies of the Cheshires in the centre.
The Regimental History records that "The attack by the Norfolks and "A" Company failed, owing to heavy machine gun fire. Capt Francis White, of "A" Company, was killed with many of his men as they left our trenches."

Official records report that 20 were killed on the 4th and 43 on the 5th. It is probable that at some point in those three days, Robert was fatally wounded and died in hospital on 9th September.
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Pt Murphy's grave
Etaples Military Cemetery
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Etaples Cemetery in 1919
Étaples Military Cemetery about 1919