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Francis Edwin McMurtrie

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editor of Jane's Fighting Ships

1949 Obituary [1]

IT is with very deep regret that we have to record the death on Tuesday, February 22nd, of Francis Edwin McMurtrie, at his home, "Mandevple," Hoddesdon, Herts., after a long illness. He was sixty-four years of age and had for many years been editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and a valued contributor to our columns.

Mr. McMurtrie was born in April, 1884. He received his education at Salway College. From the first he had a strong interest in naval vessels, and as early as 1904 he came to know the late Fred T. Jane, the founder and first editor of Jane's Fighting Ships, and became a contributor. From 1923 until 1929 he was joint editor with Dr. Oscar Parke, and he became sole editor in 1935, a post he held throughout those difficult war years when censorship and hostilities combined to make the production of the annual difficult He remained sole editor until his death.

About 1932 Mr. McMurtrie became a contributor to Brassey's Naval Annual, and he also wrote for The Navy, the Naval Year Book, and several other journals. He was also the naval and shipping correspondent to three newspapers, the Daily Telegraph, the News Chronicle, and the Sunday Express. Few men were better informed on all matters pertaining to naval vessels and merchant ships.

Mr. McMurtrie was a founder member of the Anchorites Dining Club. He was its honorary secretary, and from its early beginnings he pressed forward its work for international friendship among men who love ships. He had a great number of fr1ends amongst Naval men. His death will therefore be deeply mourned not only in this country but by many in countries abroad, who knew him well, not only as a man but a.lso for his work for J ane' s Fighting Ships and the Anchorites Club. He served on the Councils of the Navy Record Society and the Society for Nautical Research. He was also honorary secretary of the "Implacable" Committee of the Society for Nautical Research. He was, too, a valued Associate of the Institution of Naval Architects.

Through years of association with Jane's Fighting Ships, with which his name will always be connected, and even more as a consequence of the avidity with which he sought sources of information, McMurtrie gained an encyclopaedic knowledge of the ships of the world's navies. It extended even to the particulars of very minor vessels. That remarkable knowledge was made enthusiastically available to all those who were associated with him. As we can now see, it was a sign that the end was near that in the last few months before his death, though his enthusiasm never waned, the energy remaining to him to carry out his tasks began to flag. The heart was willing but the body was weakening. It is hard indeed to see how such a man can be replaced.

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