The Journey Home
Frank Murray left the POW camp on 13th September 1945 and was taken with the other former prisoners to Chitose aerodrome near Sapporo. There he was met and interviewed by US reporters flown in on six Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers. Frank (left) always referred to the aerodrome as "Kamikoge" but that was a misnomer. Chitose was actually the base for a squadron of "Kamikaze" pilots. (Click here for further information.)
On 13th September 1945 Frank was flown from Chitose in Hokkaido on a Curtiss C-46 Commando plane to Yokohama aerodrome, arriving at 5pm. The following morning he was flown from Yokohama to Okinawa. He was supposed to be flown from there to Manila on 16th September and even boarded a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber with the other men for the journey. However, because a typhoon was approaching the flight was postponed and everyone was soaked through on the journey back to the camp. While still in Okinawa, the liberated prisoners were shown films about the atrocities that had taken place in the German concentration camps. Finally, on the 19th September they were flown on a B-24 from Okinawa to Clark Field on Luzon Island in the Philippines and from there by train to the Fifth Replacement Depot.
On 19th September 1945 Frank arrived at the Fifth Replacement Depot, on the estate of business tycoon Vicente Madrigal, located approximately 23 km south of Manila.
At the Depot he was supplied with a copy of the pamphlet, "Homeward Bound" (left) which contained lots of useful information about the facilities available at the camp and included a map.
On the day after his arrival he went to a concert by Gracie Fields and he felt homesick when she sang "Danny Boy".
Frank probably left Manila in mid-October 1945 and boarded HMS Glory (right), an aircraft carrier built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast in 1943. The ship stopped at Pearl Harbour for a day (20th October) before reaching Victoria, British Columbia on 26th October. There he was billeted with a Canadian family for several weeks of recuperation before making the journey across the continent to board the Queen Mary at New York, finally reaching Southampton on 18th November.
Frank was finally reunited with Eileen when they met at Larne harbour on 20th November 1945. Eileen spent the rest of the week in Belfast before returning to Omagh to continue her teaching.
The couple got married on 4th February 1946 at St. Brigid's Church on Derryvolgie Avenue, Belfast. They set up home at "Beechwood", Frank's childhood house at 95 Cliftonville Road. Frank started a GP practice in the rooms above his father's shop at 155 Oldpark Road.
He embraced the National Health Service when it was introduced in 1948 and worked as a GP in the area for almost three decades.
Frank's surgery was destroyed in an arson attack on 28th March 1972 and he took early retirement a few years later. He and Eileen moved to a bungalow next to the golf course in Newcastle, Co. Down, where Eileen could play the sport she loved.
Eileen and Frank had five children (Villana, Edmée, Josette, Paul and Carl). Frank passed away at his home in Newcastle on 25th September 1993.
On 26th May 1995 Eileen and Carl attended a private audience with Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at Clarence House where Eileen was presented with Frank's MBE. Eileen passed away at her daughter Edmée's house in Reading on 22nd September 2009. Frank and Eileen are buried together in a cemetery in the village of Bryansford, Co. Down.