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Remembering World War II
John Douglas Murray Private 987782 USMC HQ/Service Company, 7th Marine Regiment, USMC March 23, 1919 Hartford, Connecticut, USA June 6, 1944 25 5 feet, 10 inches Light Blue Brown Married Althea Nettie Murray (Wife) Hartford, Connecticut May 9, 1945 (KIA Dakeshi Ridge, Okinawa) 26 Northwood Cemetery, Windsor, Connecticut, USA John Douglas Murray was the son of John Fyfe Murray (1894-1979) and Isaline Genevra (Snow) Murray (1890-1970). His mother was born in Baccaro, Shelburne Co., Nova Scotia. She immigrated to the United States in 1912, graduating from nursing school in 1918. John’s father was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, immigrating to the United States in 1912. John Douglas was the brother of Margaret Leona (Murray) Metheny (1921-2017) and William R. Murray (1922-2008). John married Althea Nettie Harger (1920-1996) and they had two children, a daughter Lynne Althea and a son, Bruce. John attended Weaver High School in Hartford, Connecticut, graduating in 1937. In 1939 he graduated from Bay Path Institute of Business Administration at Springfield, Mass. He played banjo and guitar, could draw and paint, played baseball and golf and was a member of Bay Path Dramatic Club and Varsity Golf Team. Prior to his enlistment, he was employed with Whitney Chain and Manufacturing Company. Enlisting on June 6, 1944 he was deployed to the Pacific war zone in December 1944. “He spent New Year’s Eve on watch aboard a transport off a small island on the fringe of fighting. His last letter home told of the nights in Okinawa, huddled with others in foxholes as the red and yellow flamed rockets kept up a thunderous barrage.” (Hartford Courant August 8, 1945) He was assigned to the 7th Regiment of the 1st Marine Division as a replacement just before the battle for Dakeshi Ridge in the southern area of Okinawa. On May 9, 1945, his company was assaulting the ridge under heavy machine gun and grenade fire. With six others he took cover in a shell hole from where they continued to fire on the enemy. When a grenade landed in the hole Private Murray, without hesitation, dived on it, covering the grenade with his body. He was killed instantly. His fellow companions escaped unharmed. (Hartford Courant August 8, 1945) Private John Douglas Murray is buried in the Northwood Cemetery, Windsor, Connecticut, USA. The following was written by Bruce Murray, the son of Private John Douglas Murray in 2008
John Douglas Murray
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Sources: findagrave Hartford Courant (August 8, 1945)
Name: Rank: Service No: Service: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Enlistment: Age at Enlistment: Height: Complexion: Eye Colour: Hair Colour: Marital Status: Next of Kin: Date of Death: Age at Death: Cemetery:
My Father was a marine in WW II and was killed on Dakeshi Ridge in Okinawa on May 9, 1945 in a fierce battle. His death was announced on the same front page of the Hartford Courant as the bombing of Hiroshima. The story went that my father was in a foxhole with six other men when a Japanese hand grenade rolled in. There was no time to think, my father just covered it with his body, giving his life to save the other six. His body wasn't returned to the US until January 1949 after a lot of discussion between my mother and grandparents. My grandparents wanted him buried at Arlington Cemetery but mom wanted him nearby. He was buried in Soldier's Field in Wilson, CT and my Uncle Bill built a house nearby. You could see the cemetery from the second floor of the house back then but now trees have grown up and blocked the view. When his body was returned, it was a very snowy day and my Grandfather and Uncle Bill met the train in Windsor. The casket was left on a huge, heavy railroad luggage cart in the snow. They tried to move it but the snow was too deep. Finally, the military Honor Guard picked up the casket and carried through the snow to the funeral home, approximately a mile away. During the walk they passed my grandparents' home and my grandmother watched as they carried it by. I heard this story from my Uncle Bill and he broke into tears as he told it. During the 70's a folk singer named Pratt wrote and recorded a song about this incident. My uncles tried to get the Congressional Medal of Honor for my father but there were no surviving witnesses (his immediate three superior officers were all killed in the battle) so no medal was awarded until 1997 after another effort resulted in a Navy Silver Star which was awarded at the National Iwo Jima Memorial in New Britain CT.