Horatius Murray

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Sir Horatius Murray
Nickname(s) "Nap"[1]
Born 1903
Died 1989 (aged 85−86)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1923−1961
Rank General
Service number 27245
Unit Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
Commands held 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders
153rd Infantry Brigade
6th Armoured Division
1st Division
Northumbrian District
1st Commonwealth Division
Scottish Command
Allied Powers Forces Northern Europe
Battles/wars World War II
Palestine Emergency
Korean War
Awards GCB (1962)[2]
KBE (1956)[3]
CB (1945)[4]
DSO (1943)[5]
MID (1945)[6] (1949)[7]
LM, Commander (USA) (1945)[8]

General Sir Horatius Murray GCB KBE DSO (1903–1989) was a senior British Army officer who served with distinction during World War II and later in the Korean War.

Early life and military career[edit]

Educated at Peter Symonds School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, Horatius Murray joined the British Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1923.[9] He was promoted to lieutenant in 1925.[10] In 1935 he was transferred to the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and advanced to the rank of captain[11] He attended the Staff College, Camberley for two years from January 1936.[12] After Staff College he was given a staff posting at the War Office[13] and was promoted to major in August 1940.[14]

World War II[edit]

He served in World War II being appointed Commanding Officer (CO) of the 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders in 1941. In June 1942 the battalion, forming part of the 153rd Infantry Brigade (in turn part of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division), was shipped to Egypt where his unit took part in the Second Battle of El Alamein.[15] Murray was seriously wounded in the early stages of the battle and only returned to active service again in April 1943. After a brief period as temporary GSO I of the 51st Division, Murray was given command of the 153rd Infantry Brigade in the same division. After a period of rest and refit in Algeria the brigade saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily, after which it was shipped, with the rest of the division, in November 1943 to England for training and preparation for the Allied invasion of Normandy.[15]

Landing in Normandy on the afternoon of D-Day Murray saw nearly constant action with his brigade until August when he was ordered to Italy to take command of the 6th Armoured Division, after its previous commander, Gerald Templer, was wounded.[16] The division, fighting in Italy, was involved in the fighting on the Gothic Line in late 1944 before being withdrawn into reserve and then joining V Corps for the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy.[16] Following the breaking of the Axis defences in the Argenta Gap by 56th and 78th Infantry Divisions, 6th Armoured Division was released to exploit across country.[1] Advancing north-west to the River Po, the division linked up with units of the U.S. Fifth Army, under Lieutenant General Lucian K. Truscott, advancing from the south to cut off Axis forces in Bologna. By 8 May the division was crossing the Austrian frontier becoming the first element of the British Eighth Army, under Lieutenant-General Richard L. McCreery, to enter German territory.[1] He was mentioned in dispatches in 1945 for his services in Italy.

At the end of the war, because of his relative youth, although he held an appointment as acting major-general, his permanent rank was still only major (war substantive lieutenant colonel, temporary brigadier). In August 1945 he was advanced to temporary major-general, war substantive colonel.[17] His substantive rank was advanced to full colonel in December 1946[18] and again to major-general in January 1948.[19]

Postwar career[edit]

After the War Murray was appointed Director of Personal Services in 1946, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1st Infantry Division in 1947 and District Officer Commanding Northumbrian District and the Territorial 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division in 1951.[20] In 1949 he was mentioned in dispatches for services in Palestine between March and September 1947.

Relinquishing command of the 50th Division and the Northumbrian District in August 1953,[21] Murray saw action again as GOC 1st Commonwealth Division in Korea[20][22] relinquishing the appointment in November 1954.[23] In 1955 he was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Scottish Command in the temporary rank of lieutenant-general[24] and Governor of Edinburgh Castle.[20][25] The lieutenant general's rank was made substantive shortly afterwards, in May.[26]

In 1958 Murray became Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe which post he relinquished in July 1961[27] having been promoted to full general in 1959.[28] He retired from the British Army in September 1961.[29] He maintained his links with the army, retaining the honorary Colonelship of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) until 1964.[30]


  1. ^ a b c Mead 2007, p. 316.
  2. ^ "No. 42552". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1961. p. 3. 
  3. ^ "No. 40669". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1955. p. 6. 
  4. ^ "No. 37161". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1945. p. 3490. 
  5. ^ "No. 36232". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 November 1943. p. 4847. 
  6. ^ "No. 37184". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 July 1945. p. 3719. 
  7. ^ "No. 38505". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 January 1949. p. 126. 
  8. ^ "No. 37204". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 July 1945. p. 3962. 
  9. ^ "No. 32858". The London Gazette. 31 August 1923. p. 5911. 
  10. ^ "No. 33080". The London Gazette. 1 September 1925. p. 5767. 
  11. ^ "No. 34181". The London Gazette. 19 July 1935. p. 4683. 
  12. ^ "No. 34247". The London Gazette. 21 January 1936. p. 459. 
  13. ^ "No. 34513". The London Gazette. 24 May 1938. p. 3351. 
  14. ^ "No. 35167". The London Gazette. 16 May 1941. p. 2872. 
  15. ^ a b Mead 2007, p. 314.
  16. ^ a b Mead 2007, p. 315.
  17. ^ "No. 37239". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 August 1945. p. 4319. 
  18. ^ "No. 37906". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 March 1947. p. 1251. 
  19. ^ "No. 38197". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 February 1948. p. 889. 
  20. ^ a b c Generals.dk
  21. ^ "No. 39950". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1953. p. 4689. 
  22. ^ "No. 40006". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 November 1953. p. 5903. 
  23. ^ "No. 40389". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 January 1955. p. 493. 
  24. ^ "No. 40422". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 March 1955. p. 1315. 
  25. ^ "No. 40421". The London Gazette. 1 March 1955. p. 1270. 
  26. ^ "No. 40472". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 May 1955. p. 2691. 
  27. ^ "No. 42402". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 June 1961. p. 4923. 
  28. ^ "No. 41863". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 November 1959. p. 7077. 
  29. ^ "No. 42453". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 September 1961. p. 6485. 
  30. ^ "No. 43283". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 March 1964. p. 2836. 


  • Mead, Richard (2007). Churchill's Lions: a biographical guide to the key British generals of World War II. Stroud (UK): Spellmount. ISBN 978-1-86227-431-0. 
  • A Very Fine Commander - The Memoirs of General Sir Horatius Murray GCB KBE DSO, edited by John Donovan, Pen & Sword Books, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84884-337-0
  • Smart, Nick (2005). Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of the Second World War. Barnesley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1844150496. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Gerald Templer
GOC 6th Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Post disbanded
Preceded by
Richard Gale
GOC 1st Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Francis Matthews
Preceded by
Sir Colin Barber
GOC-in-C Scottish Command
Succeeded by
George Collingwood
Preceded by
Sir Cecil Sugden
C-in-C Allied Forces Northern Europe
Succeeded by
Sir Harold Pyman