Murray, Edmund "Eddie" (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 14806
Department
Sound
Production date
1995
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Duration 980, Number Of Items 33
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

© IWM

Purchase & License
Object description

British légionnaire and NCO served with 1st (Headquarters) Regt French Foreign Legion in Algeria, 1937-1940; NCO served with 5th Regt French Foreign Legion in Indo-China and China, 1940-1945, including period in transit with Alessandri Column, 1945; officer served with Special Operations Executive Inter Service Liaison Department in India, 1945-1946; served with Metropolitan Police S Division in GB, 1948- 1949; served with Special Branch in GB, 1949-1965, including period as bodyguard to Winston Churchill, 1950-1965

Content description

REEL 1 Background in Burnopfield and London, GB to 1937: family; education; civilian work in London; story of joining Irish Guards; reason for buying himself out and cost; period with Irish Guards in Caterham including relationship with one member of regiment; civilian work; decision to join French Foreign Legion; reaction and memories of manager; journey to Boulogne; discovery of nearest recruitment office; journey to Saint Omer including story of losing virginity to prostitute en route; joining of French Foreign Legion at Saint Omer Barracks. Aspects of period as légionnaire with French Foreign Legion in France, 5/1937: story of train journey to Toul. REEL 2 Continues: reception on arrival at Toul station; march to barracks and activities in Toul; journey to Marseilles; background of fellow recruits; reasons for joining French Foreign Legion; knowledge of unit; story of girlfriend in Chingford; work with Conservative Party in Newcastle; period working in Hampstead; story of bicycle journey from London to Newcastle; uniform issued in Marseilles; processing; help building canteen in Toul including initial problems with manual labour; memories of fellow recruits; selling of civilian clothes; conditions during voyage to Oran. Aspects of period as légionnaire and NCO with 1st Regiment French Foreign Legion in Algeria, 5/1937-1940: reception on arrival from Captain Hamilton including background of officers; reaction to posting in North Africa; journey to Sidi Bel Abbès; march to barracks; army haircut received in Marseilles. REEL 3 Continues: arrival in transit camp; interviews with officers and marking for band as tenor saxophonist; posting to and details of Saïda; rifle drill; assault course; route marches; uniform issued; story of arresting civilians in local village including suddden alarm calls during training; punishment for carrying wine in water bottle; details of headgear; further reasons for joining French Foreign Legion; attempt to join Metropolitan Police when first in London; army medicals; details of pay during basic training and costs of luxury items; further details of basic training; discipline and punishments; nationalities of and relationships with other troops; restrictions on Far Eastern and French nationals in legion; details of pay received by French troops; impressions of Spanish and German troops; story of theft of first pay; offer of help from father to get him out. REEL 4 Continues: mail; reaction of family to his joining French Foreign Legion; interest in art and model made for school; story of headmaster and mother's dream; return to Sidi Bel Abbès; joining of band; creation and selling of concert programmes; swapping of wine for dessert at dinner; friends in band; length of service; illicit English lessons given in area; work with English-speaking VIPs including offers of ways out; story of parade in Paris, 14/7/1939, including story of dance with Marlene Dietrich; outbreak of war and contact with American Air Attache in Algiers; attempt to volunteer for action in Norway; work as batman; leisure activities; volunteering for draft for Indochina; make-up of draft; reason for creation of draft. REEL 5 Continues: changes following outbreak of war; manouevres; rumours of German officials in Algeria; reasons for joining Indochina draft; reactions to fall of France; lack of news; military organisation in Algeria; reactions of German troops to situation; details of manouvres; reaction of Spanish troops to situation; English-speaking troops; relationship with colonial troops; details of uniform; description and opinion of rifle including proficiency; sighting of rifle; other weapons in unit; details of light artillery unit; discipline and punishments; details of military prisons including description of meals; description of a banned punishment. REEL 6 Continues: story of seeing banned punishment in action; story of thinning out troops with prison records; age of troops; brothels in Sidi Bel Abbès including guard duties; relationship with civilians; sports; card and board games; memories of Jewish troops; cinemas; concerts including visits of Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker; bars in Sidi Bel Abbès; bullying and services paid for among troops; treatment from NCOs; bullying of Jewish troops; opinion of and relationship with troops of other nationalities; gambling among troops; discussion on desertions from unit and punishments; details of military prison and area around it; details of prisoners and regime in prison. REEL 7 Continues: further details of Jewish troops; mail; changes to mail following outbreak of war and fall of France; transfer to transit camp at Sidi Bel Abbès; journey to Casablanca; accommodation in docks; visit to friend in city including opinion of reasons for being allowed such freedom allowed by superiors. Aspects of journey from Sidi Bel Abbès, Algeria, to Saigon, Indo-China, 1940: duties during voyage; make-up of draft; details of ship and route taken; story of man posing as engineer; water rations; sleeping arrangements; Indochinese troops onboard; physical training; further details of duties during voyage including accommodation; rations before and after Dakar; supply of meals to Indochinese troops; homosexual activity during voyage including punishment when caught; earlier homosexual activity in Algeria; stops in Madagascar; reason for unit not being allowed shore leave in Dakar; visit to dentist on Magagascar. REEL 8 Continues: leisure activities on Magagascar; discussion of British activity in French colonies; effect on relationship with civilians in Sidi Bel Abbès following sinking of French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir; memories of friend in Sidi Bel Abbès; relationship with civilians in Madagascar and Laos; story of visit to American boat; listing of ship; route taken to Indo-China; decision to desert; plan for desertion; reason for initial cancellation of plan; sending of SOS signals from ship including learning of Morse code; search of ship by Dutch Navy including attempt to join them; reasons for attempts to desert; interview with officer; arrival in Saigon. REEL 9 Continues: Aspects of period as NCO with 5th Regiment French Foreign Legion in Indo-China, 1940-1945: Japanese troops in Indo-China and story of visit to British Embassy; leadership of Indo-China; Japanese patrols in Saigon; atmosphere and scenes in Saigon; voyage to Hai Phong; Japanese presence in port; train journey to Vi?t Trì and clothing worn; details of area and town including length of posting in Vi?t Trì; description of barracks including situation in Indo-China; spread of regiment and terrain; duties in stores; role of regiment; details of troops and regiments in Indo-China including French civilians living in Indo-China. REEL 10 Continues: details of pay; relationship with French civilians and visits to out of bounds areas; other civilians in Indo-China; Japanese troops in area; opinion of Japanese; settling in of légionnaires in Indo-China; living conditions; malaria among troops. REEL 11 Continues: English lessons given; hospitalisation with Yellow Fever; malaria precautions; living conditions; latrines; French and Indochinese civilian attitudes to Japanese; Japanese attacks 9/3/1945 including knowledge of attacks; details of Military Academy set up at Dong Sang in 1942; relationship with officers; posting to academy, 1943; journey to Dong Sang; description of Dong Sang; visits to and details of brothels in town; posting at Military Academy; route marches including terrain; duties; tiring nature of work; civilian use of opium and involvement in hunt for Communists. REEL 12 Continues: story of being brought into resistance against Japanese; description of collecting air drops including contents and role with communications; American air raids; details of Japanese produced English language newspaper; reactions to news of Japanese successes; acts of sabotage including details of blowing up trains; story of interview with officer following late return from resistance activities; further details of American air raids including story of shot down American pilot. REEL 13 Continues: conditions for French civilians in Indo-China; curfew in Hanoi; French civilian collaborators; opinion of Japanese aims in Indo-China; Japanese activities before 9/3/1945; reaction to prospect of action; siestas; breakfast; morning parade; sick parades; trick used to feign illness; start of resistance work; warning received of Japanese attack, 9/3/1945; organisation of French forces; attitude of French units to Japanese; reflections on situation in Europe; aim of unit following start of Japanese attacks; status of Dong Sang as open town; civilians and troops left in town; events following Japanese invasion of Dong Sang including details of town; Japanese takeovers in other towns. REEL 14 Continues: story of Battle at Lang Son. Aspects of period in transit with Alessandri Column in Indo- China and China, 3/1945-5/1945: aim of column; make-up of column; dispersal of local troops; use of mules; weapons carried; distance to destination; rations including help from American air-drops; water supply; climate; altitude travelled to; inappropriate footwear of some troops; length of march; number of actions against Japanese; reconnaisance; communications; contact with civilians and other columns; details of actions against Japanese; air activity; terrain; details of paths used and organisation of withdrawal; night time laagers including time of day of Japanese attacks and creation of strongpoints; weapons used by each side; route taken. REEL 15 Continues: length of march; state of clothing and boots; surrounding by Japanese forces and breakout; condition of troops and medical posts; abandonment of worst wounded; story of légionnaire left behind; question of POWs taken by Japanese; symptoms of beriberi; survival skills learned from courtesan; fruits gathered in jungle; mules; sending of bush telegraphs; earlier use of Indo-China roads by Japanese; wildlife in jungle; rotation of duties; chaotic moments during withdrawal; Japanese climbing boots; story of dealing with Japanese soldiers climbing in bamboo; medals awarded; rotation of Japanese troops; snakes and leeches; story of heaviest Japanese attack; splitting up of column and crossing of border into China. REEL 16 Continues: forming up in China; first contact with Chinese troops; survivors of column and other escapees from Indo- China; march into China and stay outside village including cooking arrangements and payment of civilians; details of area; accommodation and rations; continuation of route march; meeting with Chinese senior officer including agreement to keep hold of weapons; continuation of march and arrival at town; departure from unit; details of Simao; attitude toward Indo- Chinese civilians; knowledge of foreign languages; importance of NCOs in French Foreign Legion. REEL 17 Continues: activities of unit after his departure; details of Dien Bien Phu including sucrose found there and reasons for not making a stand there against Japanese; details of French medals received; attempts to gain British medals; backpay received from French Foreign Legion following march; memories of Methodist priest in Pu'Er Pho; visits to and work of American weather station; uniform worn; presence at interrogations of légionnaires including help given to Swiss soldier and details of French possessions in India; role of weather station; story of visit to British Consulate; joining of Special Operations Executive in Kunming. REEL 18 Continues: details of journey into India. Aspects of period as officer with Special Operations Executive Inter Service Liaison Department in India, 1945-1946: period in Calcutta including buying of uniform; details of Special Operations Executive headquarters in Calcutta; journey to Bengal; accommodation; contact with family; reactions to new position; end of war with Japanese and story of subsequent celebrations; details of training course in Bengal including background of recruits; parachute training and jumps behind Japanese lines. REEL 19 Continues: details of training given; story of transporting and losing a dispatch case; dressing down from commading officer; details of officer's mess in Calcutta and duties undertaken there; story of visit from brother in law; role with stores; censorship of mail; departure of agents; equipment in stores including suicide pills; VJ Day celebrations; relationship with American troops; opinions of Military Police. REEL 20 Continues: units co-operated with; collection of wages from French Foreign Legion; reflections on situation with Special Operations Executive; details of voyage to GB; discussion of French and English languages; settling back into English life; contact with Japanese while in Indo-China; opinion of Japanese troops; contact and relationship with Indian civilians including conditions for Indian civilians; impressions of fellow officers; reflection on apppointment on arrival in India; interview before issue of identity card; introduction to Special Operations Executive; uniform worn in Indo-China. REEL 21 Continues: climate; question of Japanese reprisals against attacks; atmosphere in India following end of war with Japan; movement for independence; reactions to atomic bomb; train journey to Karachi. Aspects of voyage from Karachi, India, to Southampton, GB, aboard SS Strathmore, 1945: items taken home; accommodation onboard; fellow passengers and leisure activities; journey through Suez Canal; reason for stop in Malta; arrival in Southampton; rations in India and during voyage; contact with family; story of visit from Inspector Brown while still in docks; reunion with brother; disembarkation. Aspects of period as civilian in GB, 1946- 1948: journey to London; story of reunion with family; death of father. REEL 22 Continues: mail; knowledge of events in GB; morale among civilians; state of London; activities of parents during war; problems with father's health; impressions of London pubs; civilian work with travel agent taking groups to Europe including details of tours; story of seeing Winston Churchill during a tour. REEL 23 Continues: further details of civilian work including for News of the World newspaper; story of courting and near marriage; subsequent tour around Europe and skiing accident; story of meeting wife in Lucerne. Aspects of period with Metropolitan Police S Division in GB, 1948-1949: posting in Golders Green; age of recruits; details of work; story of calming horse during protest in Hyde Park; application to join Special Branch. REEL 24 Continues: Aspects of period with Special Branch in GB, 1949-1965: journey to work including suicide scenes attended while PC; initial training period and work interviewing immigrants seeking naturalisation; attendance at a Communist meeting; keeping tabs on political agitators; story of investigation into Anarchist pamphlets; period at ports in north east. REEL 25 Continues: protection duties on Christmas Eve 1949 at Ernest Bevin's home; Special Branch informers; relationship with MI5 including story of radio appearance; opinion and background of MI5 members; knowledge and experience built up at Special Branch; news of posting as Winston Churchill's bodyguard, 1950; reaction to posting and proficiency with pistol; special protection afforded to Churchill; details of vacancy being filled; drinks and cigars carried; story of first meeting with Churchill at Chartwell including first impressions and memories of Churchill's driver. REEL 26 Continues: further details of first meeting with Churchill; details of routine and rank including visits to Chequers and visits from official guests; duties including driving allowance and accommodation at Chartwell; weapons issued and question of their use; changes to make-up of Churchill's bodyguard, 1950- 1955; morning procedures; daily routine including painting activities and drive around grounds; staff at Chartwell including police office; layout of Chartwell; lunch; relationship with Chartwell staff; visitors to Chartwell; use of Hyde Park Gate residence; political involvement of Churchill; story of incident in House of Commons smoking room. REEL 27 Continues: writing of speeches; discussion of Churchill's "puckish" looks and nature; details of Churchill's painting and drinking habits; German POWs at Chartwell including their relationship with Churchill; daily routine of Winston Churchill; food tastes of Churchill; position of office at 10 Downing Street; afternoon nap; evening activities including story of period Churchill spent in Middlesex Hospital; further details of drinking habits; cinema shows including story of talk with Frank Sinatra at Monte Carlo. REEL 28 Continues: television and radio at Chartwell; music listened to by Churchill; horse riding; tourist activities; fire watching; punctuality including help gained from authorities; journey from Chartwell to House of Commons; impersonations of Churchill including own; story of gaining explanations from Churchill; animals at Chartwell including films he made of Churchill; story of worms killed and Churchill's reaction; story of trip to Venice; visits to church; memories of Churchill losing his temper including help given to staff to help avoid it. REEL 29 Continues: swearing and insults meted out by Churchill; eating habits; details of armoury at Chartwell including account of FN rifle trials; story of stopping Churchill from sticking his head out a railway carriage; story of security measures taken in Copenhagen and firecracker thrown in car; story of French colonel in North Africa; relationship with press; story of rumoured kidnap attempt in Morocco; further details of relationship with press; story of upsetting Churchill during visit to Greece. REEL 30 Continues: story of flight from Greece to GB and cheque later given; help gained from French police; story of Churchills leaving a Monte Carlo hotel without him and subsequent search for them; apology from Churchill for situation and resolution reached; activities with wife in Monte Carlo; memories of Clementine Churchill; memories of and relationship with Montague Browne; visits from Bernard Montgomery; later involvement with setting-up of Churchill Trust including its inauguration. REEL 31 Continues: memories of Bernard Montgomery; discussion of suggestions he passed on information; memories of Churchill's European book agent Emery Reves, his wife Wendy, and their home; Churchill's relationship with Anthony Eden; belief that Churchill wanted to die in House of Commons; Churchill's relationship with different MPs including Clement Attlee; question of depression in Churchill including character of Churchill while Prime Minister. REEL 32 Continues: discussion of Churchill's health and his doctor, Lord Moran; memories of Churchill's final illness; story of visit to Royal Ascot; alertness and health during period as Prime Minister including relationship with Lord Moran; story of meeting with Charles de Gaulle; Churchill's opinion of De Gaulle and French people; relationship between Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower; visits to US and France; relationship with Harry Truman. REEL 33 Continues: meeting with John F Kennedy; story of Churchill's reaction to assassanation of Kennedy; stories of meetings with General Tito in Split and London; relationship between Churchill and Moscow; visit of Jan Smuts to Chartwell; contact with old colleagues; discussion of Churchill portrait by Graham Sutherland.

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