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Creating “Furphies.
Creating “Furphies." 

Western Mail, Thursday 20 April 1933, page 2

Creating “Furphies."

The art of creating "furphies" is a gift. I've met some of the best furphy manufacturers that ever stepped into khaki. In fact, I must confess that I've even started a few myself.

When we arrived in Egypt, the battalion was stationed at the aerodrome camp, Heliopolis. Nearly everyone had an idea that we would eventually go to France. Walking past divisional headquarters one morning, I noticed several large boxes stacked up in front of the building. It immediately flashed across my mind that here was a splendid opportunity to start a furphy rolling on its way. On my return to camp I told the first mob I met that there was not the slightest doubt that we were off to France, as divvy was packing up, and had scores of boxes already branded with that destination. The same evening I visited the Pyramids, and the dusky guide who showed me the rock where Cleopatra slipped and sprained her ankle when she viewed the gigantic tombs for the first time, told me we were going to France, and that the divisional headquarters was packing up. That will give you some idea how the news travelled.

Most of the boys who lined the trenches from Walker's to Steel's Posts will remember Padre Murphy. To his memory I doff my hat, for he was one of the finest men in khaki I ever met. One could come across him chatting to the lads at all hours of the day and night. The padre was a first-class furphy spreader, but we always forgave him, for he did it in a good cause. He saw when men were becoming despondent, and he spread his furphies to cheer them up. I've seen him come up a trench and listen for a time to an Aussie grousing, and then he would lean forward and whisper: "I've got the dinkum news this time, my boy, but don't tell anyone. Achi Baba's going to fall this week, and our ships will then dash through the Narrows. It's all fixed up, and we'll be in Constantinople some time next week." The padre would have scarcely left the trench before the furphy would be flying along at express speed. The following week the padre would return, to get a cool reception. That would not disturb him at all, for he would immediately make friends by saying, "Something-slipped last week, lads, but I've got it from one who knows that we are going to make a big move next Wednesday. Indeed, I believe that Queen Lizzie has returned from England to take part in the operations."

Week after week the padre spread these furphies along the trenches at Anzac. And who can blame him, if he succeeded in temporarily cheering the weary troops. Few rays of cheerfulness came our way in those days, and life was just a drab existence of "bully," biscuit?, and stand-to. Poor Padre Murphy! His remains are buried in the little graveyard which lies besides the beach at Anzac, A gloom spread over the trenches the day he stepped in the way of a Turkish shell that same screeching from behind Hill 971.

"B.B.," North Perth.