Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
Photo: Dorothy Hall

Memorial

Stone McNally V.C. Village Green

Reference

M47.14

Place

MURTON

Map ref

NZ 388470

Original Location

Murton village green

Which war

1914-18

Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Unveiled October 2018

Memorial Description

Plaque of standard issue. The stone is square. There is a circle containing the Victoria Cross and the name of the recipient.

Materials used

Stone

Names

William McNally V.C.

How money was raised

Murton Parish Council; Murton Heritage Society; Murton Welfare Association; East Durham Area Action Partnership.

Notes

1. The centenary of the award of the VC was also celebrated by an exhibition in the Glebe Centre organized by the Murton Heritage Society.

2. The new stone was placed beside the memorial already located there in 1978, two years after McNally's death. See M47.03
On the other side was placed a frame enclosing a photo of William McNally with a description of how he won the V.C. This reads as follows:

For Valour

William McNally VC

William McNally was born in Murton, near Seaham, County Durham, in December 1894, where his father worked as a coal miner. After leaving Murton Colliery School, William, aged just 14 years, went to work underground as a pit pony boy.

During the first months of the First World War, thousands of Durham miners joined the Army, and on 3 September 1914 William McNally enlisted in Sunderland in the Yorkshire Regiment today better known as the Green Howards and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion.

In September 1915, after months of training, the 8th Battalion was sent to France as part of the 23rd Infantry Division, and at Contalmaison on July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, 13820 Private William McNally gained the first of his three gallantry awards the Military Medal when he dragged a seriously wounded officer to safety. Then in early November 1917, William McNally was awarded a bar to his Military Medal when he three times rescued men wounded or buried by enemy shellfire at Passchendaele, near Ypres.

Later in November 1917, McNally's battalion was sent from France to northern Italy, where the Italian Army was fighting a combined Austrian and German Army. There, between 27 and 29 October 1918, Sergeant William McNally won the Victoria Cross during the fighting at the River Piave, when "his innumerable acts of gallantry set a high example to his men, and his leading was beyond all praise".

King George V presented Sergeant McNally with his VC at Buckingham Palace in July 1919. He returned to London the following year as one of the Guard of Honour at the burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey on 11November 1920.

During the war William McNally was wounded three times, but this did not stop him returning to work in Murton Colliery after he left the Army in February 1919, and he continued to work there as a timber-yard foreman until he finally retired in 1958, aged 65 years.

In June 1940, when Britain was once again at war, William McNally joined the Local Defence Volunteers in Murton as a Sergeant. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1941, William McNally served in both the 13th and 26th Battalions Durham Home Guard, until the Home Guard was disbanded in December 1945.

William McNally died at his home in Murton in January 1976 and he was cremated in Sunderland Crematorium. In 1978 this stone memorial was erected to his memory and on 27 October 2018 the commemorative paving stone and this panel were unveiled.

3. See also Every Name A Story

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Dorothy Hall

Journal 25/10/2018 reports proposed unveiling and tells how William McNally won the Victoria Cross.

External web link

Research acknowledgements

Dorothy Hall

Research In Progress

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Stone McNally V.C. Village Green (M47.14)

 
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Parish Notes

Every Name A Story