He turned referred to as the Belfast Physician and his medical experience, management and guile helped defend the lives of a whole lot of Allied prisoners of conflict in Japanese jail camps.
Frank Murray was born above the household spirit-grocers store on north Belfast’s Oldpark Street, rising up in a nationalist space of town in a household with a robust Catholic religion.
Like a lot of his contemporaries, as a schoolboy he spent the summer season within the Gaeltacht in Donegal studying the Irish language, one thing he would later use to his benefit 1000’s of miles away within the Far East throughout a world conflict.
His son Carl recounts how his father and mom first met among the many peaceable and picturesque rolling hills of County Donegal earlier than the outbreak of World Conflict Two.
“My father met my mom Eileen O’Kane within the Gaeltacht space in Ranafast after they have been each college kids in 1929,” he mentioned.
“She was from the Springfield Street and he was from the Oldpark Street in Belfast.
“He requested her to bounce at a céilí and fell in love together with her.
“They stored up contact thereafter and each went to Queen’s College however in 1937 she broke issues off and so they had no additional contact till he discovered himself in Rawalpindi in what was India on the time, the place he was serving as an Military medical officer.
“He despatched her a Christmas card with an image of the officers’ mess on it.”
India ‘Secret diaries’
The 2 started corresponding once more and this continued when he was despatched to the British garrison at Singapore.
All of her letters have been misplaced when Dr Murray burnt them simply earlier than the Japanese invaded and took him prisoner.
Nevertheless, the household have all of the correspondence he subsequently wrote to his sweetheart whereas he was in captivity and it’s these “secret diaries” that make such an interesting story.
Carl explains that his father stored writing to her within the type of a diary however so that he did not incur the wrath of the Japanese guards he did so in Irish, secure in data that the possibilities of any of them with the ability to translate have been slim within the excessive.
“Generally he would write in English however disguising it utilizing previous Gaelic script.
“I bear in mind once I did Irish at college there have been textual content books that had the previous script in it which meant there was that additional degree that you simply needed to translate from the script after which translate the Irish.
“And he would write about how the conflict was going however by doing so in Irish he knew that even when the Japanese discovered it, there was little or no probability of them with the ability to translate that he was recounting occasions that have been taking place through the conflict.”
India ‘He by no means forgave’
Conserving diaries of this type was strictly forbidden notably because the enemy troopers have been cautious of prisoners recording incidents of brutality or conflict crimes towards them.
Prisoners caught in breach of the rules have been liable to extreme punishment in lots of cases.
Carl says after the conflict his father wouldn’t have something Japanese in the home.
“I do know it is trendy to speak about reconciliation and forgiveness however I do not actually assume he ever forgave the Japanese, not for what occurred to him however for the best way the prisoners have been handled.
“Nevertheless, he distinguished between the Japanese army and the Japanese individuals.
“It’s important to respect that having been by what he went by. My father could not forgive and I feel that is essential.”
The Murray household has collated as a lot data as they’ll about their father’s time as a PoW.
India ‘He needed to do his bit’
He was the medical officer in various camps finally changing into essentially the most senior officer commanding in a single jail.
His potential to argue or negotiate along with his captors about who was match and who wasn’t match to hitch the work particulars meant the distinction between life and loss of life for a lot of Allied captives.
His bravery and repair throughout this time was later recognised with an award from the US army and an MBE.
So how did a Catholic nationalist from north Belfast find yourself a serious within the British Military?
“As kids we at all times needed to know why he joined up,” recollects Carl Murray.
“My father felt that the Nazis might simply have invaded Eire at the moment and later we found there was a plan to do this.
“He felt that as a northern Irish Catholic he needed to do his bit within the conflict effort. I feel he needed to go to France however he ended up in India, the Malay peninsula and finally Japan.
“It wasn’t what he anticipated however he did his responsibility.”
Astonishingly, the batch of just about translucent papers with tiny spidery writing that make up the physician’s day by day diaries – which he stored proper underneath the noses of his Japanese guards – was finally delivered to Eileen on the finish of the conflict.
When he was repatriated, the couple have been married.