Charles William Murphy


The Church, Angelton Asylum (Glanrhyd)

*I do stress that this post/research has NOT been written in malice, I have sought out this information to ‘dispel’ local rumour and hearsay.*

In the past I have been asked countless questions about Charles Murphy and the lonely grave next to what is locally known as ‘The Black Path’ – I have always been led to believe, as many other do that Charles Murphy died of Shell Shock (now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Though out my recent research I have found that is more than likely not the case –

Charles’ Service Records tell us the following things:

Charles William Murphy was born in Cardiff some time during 1882.

Charles married Maude Eliza Saunders on 27th of January 1909. They had three children: Dora Maude (b. 14/5/1910) – Roy William Charles (b. 5/1/1912) and Leslie Charles (b. 15/2/1917).

Charles initially enlisted at Porth on the 11th of December, 1915. From what I can find, Charles was not in active service until 1917 due to the fact he worked as a Colliery Repairer which was a reserved occupation.

Age: 35
Height: 5ft – 4 1/2 inches (at date of enlistment)

Statement of Services:
Attested: 11/12/1915
To Army Reserve: 12/12/1915
Mobilized: 14/9/1917
Posted: 15/9/1917 (1st (Reserve) Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment)
1/1/1918:  No longer physically fit for War service.
(2 years and 22 days service.)

In the October of 1917, Charles spent 13 days in The Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital at Whitchurch, Cardiff. His notes for the hospital stay tell us that he was suffering from “delusions of grandeur” and had become “demented”. The notes also state that he had become “restless”, “simple” and “facile.”

Discharge Description: 
Discharged at Shrewsbury.
Discharged: 1/1/1918
Age: 37
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown
Trade: Collier Repairer
Address: 44 James Street – Mardy.
Foreign Service: NIL – (“He never did serve overseas with the regiment.”) **
Cause of Discharge: Physically Unfit
Date/Place of Origin: Not Known.

  • “Syphilis”
  • “Requires care and supervision at home.”
  • Some sort of paralysis.
“He was initially given care at home but obviously as the disease spread to his brain the care was more difficult and he was transferred to the hospital.”**
At some point during the next few months the care at home had stopped and Charles was being treated at Bridgend Mental Hospital (Glanrhyd). He died on 31st of July 1918 – He was later buried on the 5th of August, 1918 at Bridgend Mental Hospital Cemetery.
From the evidence shown we can assume that Charles Murphy did not pass away as a result of Shell Shock but it is highly possible he died as a result of Syphilis.
The Grave of Charles Murphy (credit: Wayne Bethell)
British Army Service Records 1914 – 1920.
Series: WO 363
Category:Military, Armed Forces & Conflict
Record Collection: First World War

**47041 Pte C W Murphy, 1st (Res) Bn, Monmouthshire Regt

Death and Burials
Volume: 11A
Page: 904
Record Set: England & Wales deaths 1837-2007.

Questions & Queries about this post:
(Blogpost taken from my local history blog: hellohistoria)