Pen and Sword Books: A Very Fine Commander by John Donovan

A Very Fine Commander
A Very Fine Commander (11 reviews)
The Memories of General 'Nap' Murray GCB KBE DSO
by John Donovan
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Found in: World War Two Books
Military Biography
Hardback
306 pages
ISBN: 9781848843370
Published: 20 October 2010
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The contrast between soldiering in peace and war is well illustrated by ‘Nap’ Murray’s experiences. It took him 16 years to reach the substantive rank of Major in 1938 but by 1944 he was an acting Lieutenant General.

His fascinating memoirs, skilfully edited by his nephew, cover an extraordinary career from young officer service in India, China and Egypt, his experiences with the German Army in 1937 before the dramas of WW2. His accounts of action and injury in the early war years in France, North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, prepare the reader for Murray’s long and distinguished record as a Divisional commander in Italy, Palestine, Catterick and finally the Commonwealth Division in Korea. It was Monty himself who described Murray as ‘A Very Fine Commander’ – praise indeed, a memoir can be very revealing about the character of its author. Entirely free of self-aggrandisement or pride this book leaves the reader unsurprised at the success and popularity of its author.

Horatius Murray (1903-1989) was commissioned into the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1923. and played football for the Army and excelled at many sports. In 1935, he went to Staff College before training with the German Army in 1937. He commanded the 3rd Battalion The Cameron Highlanders in 1940 before being sent to North Africa where he commanded the 1st Gordon Highlanders. Despite being wounded at El Alamein he commanded no less than four divisions (as recounted in this memoir). After commanding Scottish Command he became C-in-C Allied Forces Northern Europe. After retiring in 1961 he dedicated himself to worthy causes notably as Chairman of the Royal Hospital for Incurables Putney.

The Editor, John Donovan Naps nephew lives in Herefordshire
Product Reviews
There is something truly wonderful in this account which comes from the ability to recall things in great detail and the skill to tell a story.
The book is easy to review because it... [read full review]

War History Online
General Sir Horatius Murray may not be a particularly well known commander, but he served at increasingly high rank in many theatres during the Second World War, commanding troops in battle in North Africa, Sicily,... [read full review]
History of War
The contract between soldiering in peace and war is well illustrated by ‘Nap’ Murrays experiences. It took him 16 years to reach the rank of Major in 1939 but 6 years later he was Lt.... [read full review]
Pennant Magazine
I had heard of General Nap Murray but didn’t know too much about him. This book has been complied by his nephew from papers that he left. The title comes from a Montgomery quote about... [read full review]
ARRSE.co.uk
The contrast between soldiering in peace and war is illustrated by Murray's experiences; it took him sixteen years to reach the substantive rank of Major in 1938 – by 1944 he was an acting Lieutenant... [read full review]
Britain at War Magazine
So said Field Marshal Montgomery, when General Horatius Murray suggested writing his recollections of a lifetimes service. Indeed, military memoirs can be very hit or miss, usually the latter. Especially when written by a family... [read full review]
Daly History Blog
The contrast between soldiering in peace and war is well illustrated by ‘Nap’ Murray’s experiences. It took him 16 years to reach the substantive rank of Major in 1938 but by 1944 he was an... [read full review]
TORQUE THE MOTOR BOOKS NEWSLETTER
'Your memoirs? Nap, whoever do you think is going to read them?' Field Marshal Montgomery apparently asked. Well I have - and I found them most interesting.

Having been too young for participation... [read full review]

Generals.dk
5 out of 5 stars

It is a curious fact that war often brings out the very best in career servicemen who were otherwise overlooked for promotion with one of the more better-known cases... [read full review]

Ned Middleton
This worthy book, which until recently was hidden away in military boxes not only tells the story of a fine commander – but more importantly it is about a fine man. Brought up in... [read full review]
Charles Baker-Cresswell, Bamburgh 2010
Horatius Murray (1903-1989) was commissioned into the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1923. and played football for the Army and excelled at many sports. In 1935, he went to Staff College before training with the German... [read full review]
Spartacus Educational
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