Queen’s South Africa Medal, 2 bars, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, 4284 Private J. Murphy, 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment, Missing and declared killed in action Battle of Paardeberg 18th February 1900.
He was officially declared as Missing in Action after not reporting back following the Battle of Paardeberg, shown as such in the Army and Navy Gazette, 3rd March 1900.
8 Months later, there having been no sign of him being taken as a prisoner of war, the Army and Navy Gazette 3rd November 1900, declared that he had been killed in action on 18th February 1900.
The Battle of Paardeberg (Horse Mountain) spanned over a week from 18th February until 27th February 1900. By the end of the battle, casualties on the British side amounted to 348 killed in action, with 942 wounded, the Boers reporting 350 killed and 4,019 men captured.
The first day of the battle is remembered as “Bloody Sunday” a deadly back and forth battle on the first day of the battle of Paardeberg came about when a combined British-Canadian Force of 6,000 finally trapped a force of 5,000 boer soldiers under the command of Piet Cronje, in a bend of the Modder River near Kimberley.
Kitchener, in Command of the Imperial Forces began the battle by ordering a charge straight at the Boer Trenches, the land sloped down to the Boer position and lacked any cover for 800 metres.
The Boer Soldiers smartly withheld their fire until the British soldiers were within 100 metres. The British were then pinned down and the exchange of fire continued until nightfall when the British were forced to withdraw.
The Highlanders who lead the charge along with the Royal Canadian Regiment took 300 casualties, the Canadian’s losing 18 dead and 60 wounded. With the attacks all the way along the Battle line, including the 1st Welsh Regiment, total casualties for this one day amounted to upwards of 1,100 casualties, the worst single day loss for the Imperial Forces.
After the first assault failed, Lord Roberts, who had been ill retook command. With the Boers trapped he ordered th digging of trenches and a bombardment, this continued for 9 days. On 27th February after a confused night attack, the last surviving Boer Soldiers surrendered, around 4,100 men.
Being one of the most disastrous battles of the war, a further 2,000 Imperial Soldiers later died or were invalided from Paardeberg from illness, mostly due to drinking the water of the Modder River downstream from the Boers who were throwing killed horse and cattle corpses killed by the artillery fire.