Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lt Col William Hamilton McMurray, O.B.E., M.C., E.D.

Canadian Signal Corps

Royal Canadian Corps of Signals

Side 1 Born in Toronto ca. 1894/95. Moved to Winnipeg in 1910 where he joined the Canadian Signal Corps (militia). Learned Morse code, semaphore with flags, use of heliograph. Summer Camp with No. 10 Section, Canadian Signal Corps. Obtained a job with the C.P.R. Comments on lack of telephone equipment, messing arrangements at camp. Summoned from Alberta to Winnipeg when war broke out in Sept. 1914. (25:00) Second interview, May 29, 1979. Issued British equipment including field telephones. Terrible living conditions on Salisbury Plain. Sent to France in Feb. 1915 and posted to No. 4 Section, 1st. Canadian Divisional Signals Company which was attached to the 3rd Cdn. Infantry Brigade. (45:00) Moved by train to the Armentieres area. Describes the sections of a divisional signals company, mounted for cable-laying, and unmounted. Trained signallers wore crossed flags on their left sleeve and a blue and white arm-band on the right. Trench warfare: communications. Responsible for communications within the Brigade and to the front line. Experienced first poison gas attack at Ypres, protection against it was very primitive. Explains the use of the I-Toc listening device. Promoted to sergeant after the section suffered many casualties. (April 15, 1915) On Feb. 5 1916 promoted to Lieutenant and Signal Officer, 1st Infantry Bde. Awarded the Military Cross for action on the Somme. Given six days leave to obtain his officers' kit in England. (35:00) Third interview, June 8, 1979.

Side 2 Shortly after his return to France, posted to the 2nd Infantry Bgd. Conditions on the Somme battlefield were the worst ever experienced by him; very heavy fighting, lack of sanitation, artillery barrages. (45:00) Use of carrier pigeons field telephones, inadequate wire especially in the beginning. Here Col. McMurray reads from his citation for the Military Cross, gallantry in action, etc. Awarded the O.B.E. for work with the Corps Headquarters in the Army of Occupation. Signallers: use of. In the front line signallers worked in pairs, the section had the use of two motorcycle dispatch riders, battalion runners, etc. Comments on the Battle of Vimy Ridge; had to move off with the first wave of attackers so that with bayonets stuck in the ground he could mark the path for the cable layers. (15:00) Awarded his M.C. by the King at Buckingham Palace. Promoted to Captain in 1917 (5th Cdn. Div. Signals Company). Acting commander of the Canadian Corps Signals Company. (30:00) Much admiration for General Currie. Duties at Corps Headquarters. Army of Occupation at Bonn, Germany. Returned to Canada in mid-1919. Invited to join the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as a major. Instead returned to the C.P.R. Rejoined the army in 1940 and served in a training role until 1945. Points out the vast difference and improvement in equipment in the Second World

No comments:

Post a Comment