M.B.E., 1939-45 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, 1977 Jubilee, Cadet Forces Medal, EIIR, Captain Ronald McDonald “Sarge” Murray, Bandmaster of Scots College, New South Wales, Australia.
An interesting and rare grouping, could be researched further in Australia, he is mentioned many times in the School’s Magazine The Lion and Lang Syne.
Cadet Forces medal officially engraved: “Capt R. M. Murray.”
Ronald McDonald Murray, affectionately known as “Sarge”, was a Scotsman, turned Australian, a former soldier who had served with the “Gordon Highlanders, Royal Air Force and Royal Indian Air Force.”, following his retirement from the Army he came to Australia, and became the strict School Sergeant of Scots College, one of Australia oldest and most respected schools, the School is well known for its Pipes and Drums Military Band, “Sarge” would become the head Bandmaster for over 25 years and inspired many young pupils as a teacher.
Under his tutelage, when his band was heard playing during 1971 during a visit to Australia by Capt John McLelland, the British Army’s only Commissioned Piper, he was so impressed that he took a recording and upon presenting it to the Festival Committee of the esteemed Edinburgh Military Tattoo, they would become the very first Australian Contingent to be formally invited to take part in the Tattoo, being billeted at Edinburgh Castle during 1973.
He was also the School’s Cadet Officer, as Captain for many years, being awarded the Cadet Forces Medal in the Commonwealth Gazette, 15th January 1970.
Awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for services as Bandmaster of Scots College, London Gazette, 15th June 1974.
The Lion and Lang Syne, Issue 05 Volume 24:
“RONALD MURRAY, CAPTAIN, 1953-1980
Perhaps nothing better epitomised the high regard that the boys have for sarge than the parade for her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Government House in 1977.
Prior to this parade the Band had spent several weeks learning a tune called ‘Unknown’, definitely a strange name for a tune. On the way to Government House, unknown to Sarge, the name of the tune was changed. As the Queen and Duke’s car arrived the Drum Major called for the tune ‘RM Murray MBE’, it was a complete surprise to Sarge.
M. Short, Lang Syne, 1980.”
An article from 24th March 1973, where Captain Murray and his band were specially chosen to go to Edinburgh to play at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo:
“Scots College band was chosen for the Edinburgh tattoo when Captain John McLelland, the only commissioned piper in the British Army, heard it playing during a visit to Australia in 1971 and took a recording back to the festival committee.
Pipe Major Frank Fraser, 17, an Australian-born Scot, will meet his grandparents for the first time in Edinburgh. The boys under his command are aged between 13 and 18 and will be playing solo as well as with bands of the 7 Scottish Regiments.”
“PREPARING TO INVADE
The Pipe Band of the Scots College, a Sydney private school, has been given an unprecedented honor, it will play at this year’s Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the La Scala of the world’s pipers and drummer.
100 boys chosen from the 170-strong will leave for Scotland at the beginning of August.
They will be under the command of Captain Ronald McDonald Murray, lately of the Gordon Highlanders, RAF and Royal Indian Air Force and now Bandmaster to the College.
During the Tattoo, the boys will be billeted at Edinburgh Castle, home of Mary, Queen of Scots. It is the first time an Australian Contingent has been invited to take part in the Tattoo.”
“60 Pipers, 14 Drummers, 5 Drum-Majors and the Pipe Major will make up the tattoo band. Captain Murray will also take along the rest of the drummers, ‘So 20 good bandsmen won’t miss out.’ The 6 Week world tour will cost each of the boys about $900 and most have been working in their holidays for the past 2 years to help pay for it.”