Battle of Arras results in long list of casualties from Galloway

McKenzie and Murray
McKenzie and Murray

Although no great detail of a new offensive appeared in the press, the sudden spike in the casualty list in April 1917 reflected the toll taken in Galloway by the Battle of Arras, April 9 - May 16.

After initial success, including Vimy Ridge for Canadian forces, the battle became a costly stalemate for both sides with over 300.000 men killed. Arras saw the highest number of Scottish causalities in a single engagement of the entire war.

A Minnigaff-born solider, Sergeant Robert Murray, Greenbank, was killed there while serving in the Australian Artillery. The sad news came by his officer, Lieutenant Griffith, who wrote: “About breakfast time the Germans opened up a heavy bombardment on the position of our battery. We were ordered to a safer place. Shortly after the shelling eased down a little, Sergeant Murray and another member of the battalion ran back to see if the porridge was burning. They had just got inside when a shell burst overhead and Murray was killed instantly, the gunner was wounded severely.

“I can’t speak too highly of Sergeant’s Murray’s work and character. He was respected by the officers and loved by the men, and although not born there he was a grand Australian.”