Australia's Most Decorated Soldier - Henry William (Harry) Murray
Date of Record: Mar 1917
The most decorated soldier in Australia's military history is Tasmanian born Henry William (Harry) Murray, aka 'Mad' Harry. Indeed, Murray was the most highly decorated infantry soldier during World War I throughout the British Empire. He served in both World War I and World War II, rising from the ranks to Lt Col in WWI and serving as Lt Col in WWII.
During World War I, Murray was awarded the following honours:
Victoria Cross, Mar 1917, Gueudecourt, France; Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), Jun 1919, France; Distinquished Service Order (DSO) and Bar, Nov 1916, Mouquet Farm, France, and Jun 1917, Bullecourt, France; Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), Aug 1915, Gallipoli; Croix de Guerre, Jan 1919, France. He was also mentioned in despatches four times during the French campaign.
In World War II and the following years, Murray added the following medals to his already formidable list:
War Medal 1939-45, Australia Service Medal 1939-1945, King George VI Coronation Medal, Queen Elizabeth Coronation Medal.
He otherwise lived as a wool producer in Queensland, seldom wearing his medals and shunning publicity. He only attended two Anzac Day ceremonies. However, in 1956 he went to England to attend Victoria Cross Centenary celebrations, as the invitation had come from Queen Elizabeth II.
His reputation only enhanced by his modesty, Harry Murray died on 7 January, 1966, suffering a heart attack following a motor vehicle accident. He was 85 years old.