964 bears sponsored to 640 primary schools by 537 sponsors... Thank You Late Keith Brewer For Donating Albert Murray - Western Front Bear to Murwillumbah Public School - MURWILLUMBAH Air Force, MEPS Class of 1973 (Grade 6) - Our most recent donor - Thank you Thank You Alkira Secondary College For Donating John Murray - Wounded Bear to Alkira Secondary College - Cranbourne North Thank You Three Springs - Arrino Sub branch RSLWA For Donating Thomas Hendy - Flying Corps Bear to Eneabba Primary School - ENEABBA Thank You Herbert River Sub Branch RSL For Donating Thomas Hendy - Flying Corps Bear to Forrest Beach State School - ALLINGHAM Thank You Mt Barker RSL For Donating Bert Jones - Light Horse Bear to Mount Barker South Primary School - MOUNT BARKER Thank You Associate Principal - Roleystone Community College For Donating Andy Miller - Navy Bear to Roleystone Community College - ROLEYSTONE Thank You Lefel For Donating David Cohen - Lone Pine Bear to Biloela State School - BILOELA Thank You Steve Peter For Donating Bert Jones - Light Horse Bear to Magpie Primary School - MAGPIE Thank You Ellis and Paula Brown For Donating Ernest Harvey - Gallipoli Bear to Devonport Primary School - DEVONPORT Thank You Jack and Sam Marland For Donating Bert Jones - Light Horse Bear to St Luke's Anglican School - KALKIE

Captain Murray

The Wounded Bear

Listen to Captain Murray’s Story

Like most officers in the Australian Imperial Force during the Great War I started out as an ordinary private. Getting promoted through the ranks means two things. One is the boss thinks you’ve got leadership skills, which is pretty good. The second thing is not as good. Usually you’re taking over from someone who’s been badly wounded or worse.

Fortunately for me my wound is not too bad, so no one is going to take my job. I’ll be back in the lines in no time. You can tell how many times a bloke has been wounded bad enough to be hospitalised by the stripes on his left sleeve. I’ve just got the one but I’ve seen some fellows with four or five wound stripes. They are either very lucky or very unlucky.

I got my wound when a shell exploded and some shrapnel hit me. It burned like bugger when it bit into my arm but even then I knew I’d be OK. The stretcher bearers taking me to the Aid Post were all smiles and said I scored a “Blighty Wound”. Blighty is the nickname for England and it meant my wound was bad enough to need a month or so in an English hospital but not that bad that I’d have any problems recovering.

But not all wounds can be bandaged. I’ve had a lot of men forced out of action because of Shell Shock. This is really terrible. They call it Shell Shock because sometimes the Germans send so many shells into our lines that your nerves come unstuck. Having hundreds of these things exploding around you is the scariest thing you could imagine. No-one knows if it’s because the shells have rattled your brain or some blokes nerves have frayed beyond what you could imagine. Whatever the cause, it can be so bad that some men don’t fully recover, even though we send them to good hospitals in England.

Most of us diggers who enlisted in 1914 thought this war would be a Great Adventure and we’d be home by 1915. But life at Gallipoli; in the trenches of the Western Front; and these modern weapons – like the aeroplanes, tanks and poisonous gases – make it so dangerous that we’ve long got over the romance of war. I’ll be happy to get home with my one wound stripe.

At the end of the war Australia added-up all the men who’d been hospitalised with wounds. They reckon it was around 155,000 but that probably includes blokes who got wounded more than once. They didn’t add-up all the men who were hospitalised with sickness, disease and other injuries. If we did that the number would be much, much higher.