Private Patrick Murphy (alias Harold Riley)


The family background of this man is unclear at present.

Patrick Murphy enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles, using the name Harold Riley, around May 1915. Posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, he was issued regimental number 3/6064. On 23 December 1915 he embarked for France, perhaps with the 7th (Service) Battalion.

On 11 May 1916 he was admitted to No.2 General Hospital, having fallen ill. Hospital records show that he was serving in C Company of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, was a lance corporal, aged 26, and was of the Church of England faith. Five days later he was transferred to No.9 Stationary Hospital.

It is not clear what happened next. He may have been sent to the UK for further treatment, and it seems that around April 1917 he was transferred to the Labour Corps (No.160243), but was later discharged.

On 25 March 1918, using the name Patrick Murphy, he enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Dundalk (Corps of Hussars No.72052). He was described as being 5' 9½" tall, with a fresh complexion, black hair and black eyes. He stated that he was aged 25, was born at Rathmines, Dublin, and before enlisting had worked as a pianist.

Murphy was reported to have deserted from the regiment's reserve base at Antrim on 30 August 1918. It is not known if he was subsequentially apprehended, but in February 1919 he enlisted in the Labour Corps (No.676824).

Murphy later served in the 9th Lancers (No. L/19985). On 21 April 1920 he was discharged, being 'no longer physically fit for war service' (paragraph 392(xvi), King's Regulations). He was granted a pension, his level of disability assessed at 60 per cent in October 1921.

Murphy's post-war addresses included Tulworth Bridge Inn, Horton-in-Ribble, Yorkshire, 11 Cooper Street, Manwood Road, London, 13 Pimlico Road, Clitheroe, and Hooenwerk 9, Ypres, Belgium. It appears that the authorities also struggled to keep track of him, as his medals were returned unclaimed.


This page last updated 16 March 2024.