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  • Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.
Person Details
Keyworth
Harry was born in 1896 (birth registered A/M/J Bingham), the son of Frederick William Murden and his second wife, Annie Murden nee Barnes. Frederick William Murden was born in Keyworth in 1859 and was a framework knitter. In 1889 (J/A/S) he married Rosa Johnson who was born in Hertfordshire although her family had moved to Nottinghamshire by 1881. Frederick and Rosa had one child, Rosa Ethel, who was born in 1890 (O/N/D). Rosa's mother died at the age of 29 in the same year as her daughter's birth, 1890 (O/N/D). At the time of the 1891 Census the widowed Frederick and his daughter who was less than six months old, were living with his widowed mother-in-law, Fanny Johnson (65), her son Robert (37) and daughter Emily (34) on Normanton Lane, Plumtree. Frederick remarried in 1895, marrying a spinster, Ann Barnes (b. abt 1876, Keyworth). In 1901 Frederick (41) and Ann (25) were living on Plumtree Road, Keyworth, with their three children; Harry (4), Amy Laura (2, b. 11 September 1898) and Freda (1, b. 1900). They were to have two more children, Winifred Bertha/Winnie (b. 1902) and Constance Hilda (b. 1907) but Ann died at the age of 33 in 1909 (death registered A/M/J). Rosa Ethel, Frederick's daughter by his first wife, appears to have continued to live with her mother's family. Her maternal grandmother probably died in 1900 and at the time of the 1901 Census Rosa (known as 'Ethel') was living in Bulcote, Nottinghamshire, with her widowed uncle, Robert Johnson and her maiden aunt, Emily Johnson. Sadly, Rosa Ethel died in 1906 at the age of 16. By 1911 the widowed Frederick (51) was living on Nottingham Road, Keyworth, with his five surviving children; Harry (14) an errand boy, Amy Laura (12), Freda (10), Winnie (8) and Constance (4). Frederick was still living on Nottingham Road when his son died in 1916. He died in 1941 aged 82. Of Harry's siblings, only Amy has so far been traced after 1911; she married Wiliam J Ringham in 1932 and died at the age of 82 on 24 May 1981 (death registered Nottingham)
In 1911 he was an errand boy in a lace merchant's office. He later worked for Boots the Chemist (Offices and Works).
01 Jul 1916
21
1546579 - CWGC Website
17542
He enlisted at Nottingham. He lived on Nottingham Road, Keyworth.
Private
11th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He volunteered for service immediately on declaration of war (CWGC). He was killed in action in the attack on Ovillers. Formerly 8th/3rd Trench Mortar Battery. Battalions attacking Ovillers on 1st July 1916 had to cross 'Mash Valley' one of the widest expanses of No Man's Land (750 yards) along the entire Somme front. Today, looking from Ovillers Cemetery (German front line) towards distant houses (British front line) across open fields offering little cover, the magnitude of their task is still evident. 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters' War Diary recorded: 'Casualties along the whole line were very heavy and a general attempt was made to crawl forward under intense machine gun and shrapnel fire, any available cover being made use of.... Lt Colonel Watson, walking diagonally across the front collecting men as he went gave fresh impetus to the advance by his personal example... A third attempt, led by Captain C E Hudson*, to reach the German trenches by the sunken road on the right flank was made but... was brought to a standstill by heavy frontal and flank fire as they came over the brow of the hill in the last 80 yards. The casualties sustained by the battalion during the day amounted to 21 officers and 508 men. The strength of the battalion on entering the trenches on 26th June was 27 officers and 710 men.' 11th Bn Sherwood Foresters War Diary TNA WO95/21871(3). 125 men from 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters were killed during the attack on Ovillers (CWGC Debt of Honour Register). *John Cotterill adds 'The man who brought the 11th Foresters out of action on 1 July and, one of the 6 unwounded officers, was Capt Edward Hudson who would go on to get a VC as CO of 11th Foresters on Asiago Plateau in Italy in 1918'. 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment suffered 264 fatalities during the same advance. Concerns of their CO Lieutenant Colonel Edward Thomas Falkiner Sandys DSO, a brave and well respected officer, that his battalion would be badly mauled crossing such an expanse of open ground with uncut wire an added hazard, did not impress his superiors. Sandys was wounded during the attack and evacuated to the UK. Depressed at the fate of so many men who had trusted him, Sandys shot himself in a London hotel room and died a few days later. 8th Division's Official History records a total of 5,121 casualties on 1st July 1916. Military Research by David Nunn He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier 10C,10D and 11A)
Boots memorial: Private, Sherwood Foresters. CWGC only H Murden. Boots 'Comrades in Khaki', March 1916, 'Letters from the Front': 'Signaller H Murden is highly optimistic, for he says, 'I do not think Fritz will annoy us very much as I think he has nearly shot his bolt, but he may make a final effort this Summer to break our line. All the boys out here seem to think it will be over before next Christmas, but all are willing to admit that there will be a great number of lives lost before we have completely defeated the Germans. We fairly dread to look at the English papers, though, for they always see the black side of everything, and no matter what our chaps do our papers always reduce it half its size. Of course I do not want them to be like the German papers, and double such things, but they ought to give pessimism a rest and try optimism a bit.' It sounds quite a good proposal.' (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB.38) Boots ‘Comrades in Khaki’, March 1916, ‘Service Correspondence’: ‘Private H Murden also refers to the sport as follows: ‘I see that the football team is doing very well this season, and I hope they will keep it up to the end. We have arranged a football match out here, and it is surprising how the boys still stick to the game. I shall be jolly glad when I am playing on the Lady Bay ground once more.’ In another letter he says, ‘We are out of the trenches for a month or six weeks, and are now in camp about 20 miles from the firing line having a good rest before we are sent elsewhere … It seems funny, but I have not come across a single man from Boots, and yet there are lots of them out here … I did not see last week’s Football Post, but I hope that the team still keeps in winning vein and will continue to do so throughout the season. I don’t know whether you knew Lang and Wheeliker, who played for Basford, but they have been my pals since I enlisted.’ (Nottinghamshire Archives, ref. RB,38) His father, Frederick William, was his legatee.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.
    Photo David Nunn - Photo taken from German machine gun positions (now Ovillers British Military Cemetery) showing the terrain over which 8th Division including 11th Sherwood Foresters (70th Brigade), advanced on 1st July 1916. Houses beyond the distant tree line now stand on the 1st July 1916 British line.