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18557 Private Percy Douglas Murley


Devonshire Regiment

1st July 1916

18557 Private Percy Douglas Murley_edite

Born in Lynton Devon in 1896.

His parents were Thomas Murley(1859-21/02/1907) and Elizabeth Kate Gill(1862-15/04/1951).

They were married in 1887.

Percy(though judging by newspaper reports, preferred to be called Douglas) had 3 brothers; Edmund Arthur(born in 1889), William John Gill(1890-1954) and Thomas Stanley (1892-02/04/1917).

He also had 2 sisters, Dulcie Muriel Gill(06/12/1900- 16/01/1979) and Irene May Gill(16/02/1903-27/04/1984).

In the 1901 census, the family were recorded as living at Victoria Fernery Lynton Devon. Percy's father  was employed

as a nurseryman gardener.


In the 1911 census, the family were still at the same address but with the death of his father in 1907, his mother was now a lodging house keeper. Percy was an errand boy for a fishmongers.


He enlisted in Lynton Devon and his disembarkation into France was on 15/12/1915.

He was killed in action on 01/07/1916.  

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the 1914-1918 British War and the Allied Victory medals.

The North Devon Journal – Thursday 13 July 1916

North Devon War Items

Residents of Lynton and Lynmouth learnt with deep regret on Tuesday that Pte. Douglas Murley, son of Mrs Murley of The Fernery, Lynton had been killed in action. Deceased, who was only 20 years of age, was prior to the war with Mr R. Elliott of Cross-street, Lynton. He was a fine young fellow and was held in general esteem.


North Devon Journal – Thursday 20 July 1916

Memorial Service at Lynton.

At Lynton Congregational Church on Tuesday night a memorial service was held to the memory of Private Douglas Murley, son of Mrs Murley, of Gill’s Fernery, who was killed in the recent fighting in France. The local V.T.C attended under the command of Col. Branston, and there was a large attendance of sympathisers. The service was conducted by the Rev. W. Jordan. Hymns sung were “Come unto Me, Ye Weary”, “Nearer my God to Thee” and “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus”. Speaking from “Greater Love hath no man than this”, Mr Jordan said Murley’s life in their Church and Sunday School was a model life. Only a short time since he had had a most cheerful letter from him and no doubt, he gave his life in the same spirit of  cheerfulness.

The organist (Mrs Woodcock) played the Dead March from Saul at the conclusion and a muffled peal was rung on the Parish Church bells.


Douglas also had a brother serving in the 8th Devonshire Battalion, 45628 Private Thomas Stanley, who was killed in action on 02/04/1917 and is remembered on the Arras Memorial Bay 4 in France.



EXETER AND Plymouth Gazette – Monday 16 April 1917



Fourteen have now died

Mrs T. Murley of Gills Fernery, Lynton, has received the sad news that here son, Pte. F. Stanley Murley, Devons has been killed. The sergeant of his platoon says: “ He was a good soldier and always willing to do his duty.” Another writes: “ He died gallantly and bravely and was a fine soldier. We shall feel his loss very much.” Pte Murley was 23 years of age, was formerly in the North Devon Hussars and joined the Devons at Exeter in November last. His brother Pte. Douglas Murley was killed on July 1st. Much sympathy is felt with Mrs Murley in her double bereavement. The flags on the church tower and Town Hall are flying at half mast.    





* Many thanks to Ken Turrell for providing additional information and the photograph.

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