Honour for Sunderland veteran Merchant Navy captain

John Murray
John Murray
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A VETERAN Merchant Navy captain has been rewarded for decades of charitable seafaring work.

Captain John Murray was recently awarded the prestigious Merchant Navy Medal at Trinity House in London.

It was recognition for his tireless work with two naval charities, the Nautical Institute, of which he was a founder member more than 40 years ago, and, closer to home, the Trafalgar Aged Mariners’ Homes project in Sunderland.

Both organisations, established to give support to our seafarers, have benefitted from Captain Murray’s dedication and naval expertise.

But the modest seafarer said he shared the honour with his fellow volunteers.

He said: “Receiving the medal was a great honour but I actually accepted it on behalf of all the people that have worked for the charity at Trafalgar Square, looking after merchants sailors in Sunderland, from the Wear and the Tyne.

“Being able to look after those merchant sailors is one of the great achievements of my life.”

Captain Murray, of Moorfield Gardens, Cleadon, was born in Seaham Harbour, and on leaving school became an errand boy.

In March, 1941, he took up an apprenticeship with R.S Dalgliesh of Newcastle and sailed with that company until 1943, when his ship SS Wentworth was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the North Atlantic.

After the war, he achieved his first command the skipper of a whaling vessel, collecting harpooned and buoyed whale carcasses. And in 1974, he was master of MV La Loma, the largest oil bulk ore vessel in the world at the time.

The high esteem in which he is held was demonstrated when he was asked to represent the Merchant Navy at the Festival of Rememberance at the Albert Hall in London two years ago.

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