No. 40123, Rifleman, Oliver Joseph MURKIN M.M.
14th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Oliver Joseph Murkin was born on 12th January 1898 in Chevington (Thingoe Q1-1898 4A:817), baptised Chevington All Saints on 17th April 1898, son of Joseph John and
Ellen Sarah MURKIN (née GARWOOD).
1901 census...Aged 3, he was at Weathercock Hill, Chevington with his father Joseph MURKIN  horsekeeper, born Hargrave; his mother Ellen  born London, Westminster; his brothers Arthur  born Hargrave, Charles  born Depden, and William [11 months] born Dalham.
On 24th November 1902, he and his brothers Arthur and were admitted to Elveden Voluntary Aided Primary School, having previously attended school at Chevington.
1911 census...Aged 13, he was at Chalk Hall Cottages, Elveden with his parents (father now a shepherd); brothers Arthur and Charles (farm Labourers), William, Frederick  and Stanley [9 months] both born in Elveden. The address given to CWGC was 99 Chalk Hall, Elveden.
Unfortunately there are few citations for the Military Medal and none has been found for Joseph.
His elder brother Arthur MURKIN died in France in September 1916 see here
He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds.
It was the 1st day of the Battle of Langemarck, just NE of Ypres. The battlefield was a quagmire, the German barrage intensive. The 14th Royal Irish Rifles were part of the Ulster Division which had spent nearly two weeks in mud filled trenched, being continually shelled, and were really in no fit state for battle. They suffered extremely heavy casualties on the 16th, many not even managing to leave their trenches near St Julien. Some did manage to make some progress and reach FORTH HILL and CORN HILL. Their battalion war diary says they started with 19 officers and 480 men and finished with 10 officers and 222 men.
CWGC records show 105 killed, with only 21 having identified graves, the rest are named on the Tyne Cot memorial (all bar 2 in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery)
The Bury Free Press of 13th October 1917 reported that having been reported wounded, he was now missing and published an appeal for information from his family
and also on the Weather Heath Memorial (Elveden Column by the A11)
click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details