Obituary: George Murdoch, Arctic convoy hero, 90

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George Murdoch, a Royal Navy crewman who served in the Arctic convoys of the Second World war, has died, aged 90.

Born on January 4, 1924, in Aberdeenshire, Mr Murdoch, who spent the bulk of his post-war life working in South Queensferry, took part in the secret operation to establish a British air base in the Azores, the crossroads of the Atlantic which had become a black hole for Allied ships, and was on board one of the final Arctic convoy trips as the conflict came to a close.

That last journey would alter the course of his own future when his destroyer was detached from the convoy to join other vessels in Copenhagen for the reoccupation of Denmark and the German surrender.

A stroke of serendipity during his stay there brought him into the path of a young Danish radio operator, Jythe Andersen, whom he would eventually marry and with whom he would spend the following 65 years.

From the summer of 1943 to spring of the following year, George was a part of the Atlantic convoy defence, including Operation Alacrity, Churchill’s scheme to establish a British air base in the Azores.

After his service in the Atlantic, he spent several months at HMS Mercury before joining HMS Zodiac, another destroyer, which would be drafted in to Arctic convoy duties escorting merchant ships sailing from Scotland to Murmansk and Archangel with vital aid for the Russian allies.

After the war, Murdoch returned to Scotland, where he married Jythe in 1948 before moving to Edinburgh.

A few years later, the couple moved from Barnton to South Queensferry.

After retiring in 1981, he took up sailing and bought a boat, originally called Genesis, but which he renamed Dana Genesis in honour of his Danish wife.

In his later years, George enjoyed sailing from Port Edgar and crewing with companions, and over the years his other hobbies included curling, ten-pin bowling and gardening.

Outside the spheres of work and home he gave his time and professional expertise to Arthritis Care, of which he was treasurer. But perhaps his most significant interest over many years was his service as treasurer of the Z Class Destroyers Association and the Scottish Arctic Convoy Club.

The veterans had been honoured with medals from Russia on the 40th, 50th, 60th and 65th anniversaries of the Arctic convoys but it took until 2012, more than 70 years after they first set sail, for the UK government to announce the creation of a medal for bravery from their home 
country.

Mr Murdoch, who wore his white beret with pride at every opportunity, was predeceased by his wife and is survived by his son, Dane, and daughter Gitte.