Brian was born on March 24th 1952 in Dundee, Scotland. He was the only son of the late Mr and Mrs James Murphy, who also had a daughter, Maureen. He attended the Eastern Primary School before moving on to the Grove Academy at Broughty Ferry. Brian was a keen sportsman who played cricket, golf and football. The latter sport was his particular forte, where his abilities as a goalkeeper attracted the attention of professional talent scouts. He was playing for the county Boy's Brigade at that time, as a result of which he developed an interest in the Royal Navy, and followed that route in his career rather than professional soccer.
On January 8th 1968 he entered the RN as an aircraft artificer apprentice, having been successful in a selection process which reduced 360 applicants to 110. Initial training was at HMS FISGARD in Cornwall, followed by further training at HMS CONDOR back in Scotland. He then had some operational helicopter station experience, returned to CONDOR and was rated Petty Officer. By now it was apparent that Brian's great potential could be further developed as a Fleet Air Arm aircrew officer, and he underwent the training and selection process for this. Meanwhile, in 1972, he married Lynn.
The following year saw Brian succeeding triumphantly at the Britania Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where he won the Wallrock Trophy as the best Aviation Special Duties officer cadet. He went on to complete Observer training at HMS SEAHAWK, the RN Air Station at Culdrose, Cornwall. Brian then flew in the Sea King, specialising in anti-submarine warfare, and won yet another prize, the Devenish Trophy, when he passed out from HMS OSPREY, the RN Air Station at Portland, Dorset.
1976 saw Brian appointed to the Flight in HMS ENDURANCE, the RN's Antarctic Patrol vessel, visiting both Argentina and the Falkland Islands in the course of his duties. In his letters home he described how kind and hospitable both the Argentine Navy and the Falkland Islanders were, and how the Falkland Islands had a terrain and weather that was very similar to the Scottish islands of his childhood.
Brian then returned to Culdrose, this time as an instructor at the Observers School there. He had also transferred successfully to the RN General List, opening up the possibilities for promotion and command. On the first day of 1982, Brian and Lynn had a much-wanted baby daughter, Elizabeth. He was hugely proud and delighted with this new addition to his family, and also happy with a new appointment, as the Deputy Flight Commander of HMS ARDENT, a Type 21 frigate which operated the fast and agile Lynx helicopter.
It was in this ship, on Friday May 21st 1982, the Brian lost his life. He was killed, alongside his Flight Commander, Lt Cdr John Sephton DSC, as the gallant ship's company fought off multiple Argentine air attacks attempting to dislodge the British landing forces on D-Day. His body was not recovered, and he lies buried at sea, in Falkland Sound, close to the island shores where he felt so much at home.
Brian is remembered at the Grove Academy, Broughty Ferry, by a plaque in the Assembly Hall, along with a trophy in his name which is awarded annually to the two pupils who have tried hardest and persevered in all their work, but who would not otherwise be recognised. Maureen, his sister, has four sons. His daughter Elizabeth has left school and is now at University. Happily Lynn, his widow, has married again and lives in the South of England.
Goalkeeper at the Grove Academy
Playing in the Falklands
1975, Portland, winning the Devenish Trophy
1979-81, Instructor at Culdrose
It seems so long ago -
He fought, he fell, he died,
But still it grieves me so
And oh!, how I have cried...
I think of him so much and yet
I never wish I could forget.
O PATER, OFFICIO FUNGENS AD SIDERA ADEMPTE,
TE NATAE IGNARUM SEMPER AMANS CELEBRO.