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Remembered Today:

Lt William Murray, IWT RE


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Evening folks, 

 

Doing a little more family research into this chap. I posted his photos elsewhere on the forum in a thread relating to the Inland Water Transport Unit RE. I'm struggling to find much about his service or mention of him in documents and records. The only leads I've found are his possible WO records (WO 374/49842) at the National Archives but since they aren't digitalised I can't request them currently. I can't find his MI cards or any other mention of him in newspapers (he seems to have dropped off the radar post war).

 

Would anyone be able to look into him a little more? I'm mainly interested in his wartime activities. I'm doing this on behalf of my Grandmother who knows little to nothing about the family due to a dispute.

 

What I know so far is he was born 14/10/1873, died 22/05/1938. Worked as a maritime engineer? Served with the IWT RE. I know little to nothing about his service and most of the information I have about that has come from the photographs attached. 

 

I'd be much obliged if anyone can help - i've access to Ancestry and such so even if anyone can give direction.

 

Many thanks.

138381403_3349198668525390_7187574462682336015_n.jpg

138261984_1865526820267818_3265723342928673980_n.jpg

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voltaire60

2 questions- Do you have any dates and/or places where he might have worked as a marine engineer??? 

2) There are 2 William Murray officers of the Royal Engineers- What made you eliminate the other one?

 

            image.png.2ac934e40adae092972e18cc88f9942a.png

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Hi,

 

Unfortunately not - Murray working as a maritime engineer is family hearsay. It would only make sense however given his commission with the IWT. 
 

We've also very few officers in the family - those we have tend to be territorial and/or purely wartime in nature. I think WO 339 records are for regular, and given his rank in the photo instinct went with the 374 record. Either way I can't access either until the archive reopens scan requests.

 

Cheers.

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voltaire60
7 hours ago, Spook1940 said:

Hi,

 

Unfortunately not - Murray working as a maritime engineer is family hearsay. It would only make sense however given his commission with the IWT. 
 

We've also very few officers in the family - those we have tend to be territorial and/or purely wartime in nature. I think WO 339 records are for regular, and given his rank in the photo instinct went with the 374 record. Either way I can't access either until the archive reopens scan requests.

 

Cheers.

 

     Thanks- It was just a speculation that of Lt or Major, it might be the latter- a man born 1873 would be 41 when the war started and,perhaps, more likely to be snior. It may well be that there are no medal ribbons as he stayed at home-  is there any family recollection that he served abroad at all??  

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Hi - unfortunately not. Very little is known about him as he fell of the radar following the war. All I have is a DoB/Dod and a name. He was also a native to Aberdeen, born and died in the city. Cheers. 

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MerchantOldSalt
10 hours ago, Spook1940 said:

 

Unfortunately not - Murray working as a maritime engineer is family hearsay. It would only make sense however given his commission with the IWT. 
 

 

Little bit more than hearsay Spook1940.  William Murray born Aberdeen 14 Oct 1873 held a Board of Trade Certificate of Competency as 1st Class Marine Engineer number 36137, known amongst merchant seamen as a "Chief's Ticket".  Findmypast has a CR10 Identity Card, number 106764, for him with a photo which is almost definitely him.  The only ship which appears on his card is the ST SUNNIVA Official Number 88873 on which he was serving in December 1919.  There is loads of information on ST SUNNIVA on the internet, you are looking for the one built in 1887.  She was a passenger, later passenger/cargo ship sailing between Aberdeen and Lerwick, Shetland .  Details of his Chief's Ticket may be at the National Archives in the BT 139 series but as with his service record you may have to wait a bit.

Tony

406221531_StSunniva.jpg.a18073467b2bbb122808497e8482571b.jpg

 

 

Edited by MerchantOldSalt
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Hi Merchant,

 

That's fascinating, if not unusual for the family. We're from Aberdeen but we tended to reside in the city and rarely went further afield. Certainly didn't think we had a merchant navy connection. 
 

Would it have been common for those working within the merchant navy to transfer over into other branches during the wartime period? I would have thought it more common for merchant navy personnel to have remained within the service or the Royal Navy?
 

I'll certainly add a look into the BT 139 series to the todo list. 
 

Many thanks all.

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MerchantOldSalt

The Inland Water Transport Section of the Royal Engineers was responsible for the operation of many different types of craft in support of the military.  Tugs, barges, Euphrates paddle steamers, Train Ferries and so on, they drew heavily on maritime occupations merchant seamen, lightermen, watermen, bargemen even fishermen, anyone with maritime expertise, many of their personnel were compulsorily transferred from infantry and other regiments of the army to undertake the vital work of supply.  

Having investigated many service records of IWT staff there were a considerable number of Mercantile Marine Officers and Engineers who transferred into the Army, unfortunately their service records do not often reveal where they served or in what capacity but hopefully you will be lucky as and when.

 

Just as an aside, there are not many good photos of IWT Marine Officers showing their distinctive blue epaulettes, yours is excellent.  The detachable epaulettes came into being under Army Order 347 of 1916, this was changed in 1918 by Army Order 85 of that year the gold interlocking lace, not unlike that worn by officers in the RNR, was replaced by standard army officers pips which may date your photo to before 1918 so the reason for a lack of medals, however there is a possibility, I read somewhere, that the Marine Officers preferred the gold lace and continued to wear those epaulettes, especially out in Mesopotamia where dress was somewhat relaxed, so the photo could be later.

 

Tony

Edited by MerchantOldSalt
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