Brigadier Sir Murray W.J.Bourchier

Brigadier Sir Murray W.J.Bourchier

 Born at Potilla near Ballarat on April 4, 1881 and raised as a farm boy at “Boomagong”, Tocumwal and “Wonga Park”, Finley, he joined the 15th Light Horse Regiment and by September 1909 was appointed Lieutenant of that Regiment. He enlisted on August 25, 1914 and was assigned to the 4th Light Horse Regiment embarking for the Middle East from Melbourne on the “Wiltshire” on October 20, 1914.
He served in Egypt until May 1915 when the 4th was sent to Gallipoli where they fought with distinction up to the time of the evacuation of British Troops from the Peninsular then subsequently served throughout the Egyptian, Sinai and Palestine Campaigns. He was promoted during service to the rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Regiment on March 15, 1917. He was mentioned in Despatches London Gazette of December 1, 1916 “for consistently good work and being cool and resourceful under fire” (at Gallipoli) and received the D.S.O. November 4, 1917 “for the gallant and capable manner in which as Commanding Officer of the 4th Light Horse Regiment he personally directed his Regiment into action on the attack on Beersheba on October 31, 1917. This officer displayed skilful handling and magnificent example of courage and determination and personally accompanied the charge of the reserve squadron. He shot six Turks with his revolver and assisted in fighting whilst still directing his Regiment.”

Awarded Companion of the most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George on June 3, 1919 on the basis of the following recommendation;
“In the face of very heavy fire this officer led his Regiment on September 27, 1918 across the Jordan below Jisr Benat Yakub over a very difficult crossing and thus out-flanked the enemy and compelled his to withdraw from the position. On September 30 this officer was in command of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments, which form the advance guard of the Australian Mounted Division in its advance from Sasa to Damascus. He captured the enemy position at Kaukab by a spirited charge of two Regiments without any delay and thus opened the way to Damascus which his troops were the first to enter.”
When the War ended he returned to his farm “Woodland Park’, Strathmerton continuing his interest in the Light Horse commanding the 5th Cavalry and rising to the rank of Brigadier by November 1, 1931.
His men both respected and liked him and he was sympathetic to the problems they experienced on returning home. So much so that he entered politics as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Goulburn Valley in 1920 to fight their cause. He was Minister for Agriculture and Markets from 1924 to 1927 and Leader of the Victorian State Country Party in 1933.
A truly remarkable man, he was appointed Agent General for Victoria in London in 1936 where he died on December 16, 1937 leaving his wife, Minona, two sons and a daughter. He was posthumously knighted in 1938.

Date of birth 4 April 1881
Place of birth Ballarat, Victoria
Religion Church of England
Occupation Grazier
Address Woodland Park, Strathmerton, Victoria
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 34
Next of kin Mrs Bourchier, Woodland Park, Strathmerton, Victoria
Previous military service Served for 1 year as Private, 7 years as Lieutenant, 15th Australian Light Horse.
Enlistment date 20 August 1914
Rank on enlistment Lieutenant
Unit name 4th Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number 10/9/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A18 Wiltshire on 19 October 1914
Rank from Nominal Roll Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit from Nominal Roll 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotions Captain (Temporary)

Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 1 July 1915


Temporary Adjutant

Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 7 September 1915



Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 22 November 1915



Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 20 January 1916


Lieutenant Colonel

Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 15 March 1917



Unit: 4th Light Horse Regiment
Promotion date: 1 April 1920


Recommendations (Medals and Awards) Mention in Despatches

Three Mention in Despatches were awarded in the course of the war. It is not possible to determine which recommendations resulted in awards. The details of promulgation are: (1) ‘London Gazette’, Supplement, No. 29845, 1 December 1916; ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 62, 19 April 1917; (2) ‘London Gazette’ No. 31383, 5 June 1919; ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 113, 6 October 1919; (3) ‘London Gazette’ No. 30169, 6 July 1917; ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 72, 2 September 1920.
Recommendation date: July-August 1915


Distinguished Service Order

Recommendation date: 2 November 1917


Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

Recommendation date: 27 September 1918


Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

Recommendation date: 30 September 1918


Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, ‘London Gazette’ No. 3138 (5 June 1919); ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 113 (6 October 1919).


  Returned to Australia 13 June 1919
Medals Distinguished Service Order

‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. As commanding officer he led his regiment into action in the most gallant and capable manner. By his skilful handling of the regiment and by his magnificent example of courage and determination he was very largely instrumental in the success of the attack and the capture of the objective.’
Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 150
Date: 24 September 1918


Companion of the Order of St Michael & St George

Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 113
Date: 6 October 1919


Discharge date 11 October 1919