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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. A D Murray


Alan Duncan Murray was born on 10th July 1915 in Hall Green, Birmingham and educated at King Edward's High School.

He joined the RAF on a short service commission in January 1934. He was posted to 3 FTS Grantham on 3rd April and with his training completed joined 18 Squadron at Upper Heyford on 4th March 1935, flying Hawker Hart light bombers.

In late 1935 Murray went to Leuchars for catapult training, then Calshot for floatplane training and finally Gosport for deck-landing and torpedo training. He was detached to HMS Malaya in the Mediterranean, to be on Swordfish catapult duty.



On 30th May 1936 Murray was posted to 812 (Fleet Torpedo-Bomber) Squadron, based at Hal Far, Malta and on HMS Glorious. In early 1939 he went to the A&AEE Martlesham Heath. The Establishment moved to Boscombe Down on 5th September 1939.

Murray did a refresher course and converted to Hurricanes at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge in early June 1940 and was detached from there to RAF Wittering on 12th June for Ops Room duties.

He joined 46 Squadron at Digby on the 18th, as OC 'B' Flight. He returned to Boscombe Down on 22nd July for flying duties. He was attached to 501 Squadron at Kenley from 16th to 25th September to gain operational experience. Whilst with 501 Murray flew six operational sorties, four on the 18th and two on the 20th.

He then joined 73 Squadron at Castle Camps on 26th September and assumed command on the 27th. Murray took the squadron from Debden to Birkenhead, for service in the Middle East, on 9th November.

After arriving the pilots began operating in the Western Desert in December, attached to 274 Squadron.

On 1st January 1941 the squadron began operating as a unit and on the 3rd Murray shared in destroying eight enemy aircraft on a landing ground. On the 21st he shot down a Fiat G50 over Tobruk, on 1st February destroyed a Caproni Ghibli on Apollonia airfield, on the 5th shared in destroying eight enemy bombers on the ground at Benina and on the 20th damaged a Ju88.

Murray was awarded the DFC (gazetted 28th March 1941) and in April was posted to Cairo, as Controller at Heliopolis.

He later had the job of locating possible new airfields in the desert, then went to Group HQ Cairo and was afterwards posted to command the Fighter Sector at Abadan, Iran.

Murray returned to the UK in March 1944 and took command of a unit at Hurn, servicing fighters for France. He later moved with it to Tangmere. From September 1944 until September 1945 Murray commanded RAF Manston, as an Acting Group Captain.

He retired from the RAF on 15th January 1958 as a Wing Commander, retaining the rank of Group Captain.

Murray died in March 2001.

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