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Captain James D'Orsay Murray US Navy & British Army


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Single broken British WW1 victory medal!!

Captain James D'Orsay Murray (January 22, 1874 - January 22, 1946)

Veteran of the Spanish American war and the blockade of Cuba, Great War British Army and Nationalist speaker for the America First Committee. He was also associated with the Christian American Guards.

Served as a Landsman with 1st Naval Battalion (New York Naval Militia) as a with the USS Yankee (Second division) from the April 28 - Sept. 2, 1898, Cuban Blockade.
The U.S.S. Yankee was originally built as the passenger liner El Norteas. She was acquired by the United States Navy in 1898 and commissioned as an auxiliary cruiser and fitted with (10) 5-inch guns, (6) 6 pounders and 2 Colt machine guns. On May 29, 1898 Yankee put to sea with orders to join the fleet off Cuba. On June 6th Yankee duelled shore batteries off Santiago. On June 7th she participated in a cable cutting incursion at Guantanamo Bay. In company of the USS Marblehead, Yankee engaged two Spanish gunboats Alvarado and Sandoval, putting them to flight. Yankee and Marblehead then turned their fire toward shore silencing the fort at Caimanera. 

On June 13th Yankee engaged the Spanish gunboats Diego Velazquez and Lince, putting them both to flight. It also engaged the Sanbanilla Shore Battery before returning to blockade duty off Cienfuegos.

Awarded the Sampson Medal (clasps USS Yankee), West Indies Campaign medal and New York State Spanish War medal

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In 1914 he was living in Italy as an owner of a vineyard at the time of the outbreak of the First World War. In 1915 he joined the American Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps attached to the British Red Cross (March to May 1915), he was initially an ambulance driver/Chauffeur in Doullens France in the Department of the Somme  (US Passport Number 2468, Washington) and then Section Seven, Formation Norton-Harjes.

I can only find a Jack D Murray on the BRC medal roll, also possible he was also awarded the French Victory medal as the Ambulance unit was attached to the French Army.

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Commissioned British Army as 2nd Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery, Special Reserve, 7 August  1915, Staff Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, 25th Division, 1916
From 7 January 1917 to July 1917 served with No. 2 Section, 29th Division Ammunition . Column RFA (Then hospitalised)
Promoted Lieutenant, RFA SR on 1 July 1917, Captain Murray served first on the staff of General Burney, then as liaison officer on the staff of Lord Allenby from 7 Sept 1918 to sometime in 1919.

As well as the 1914/5 star British War medal and Victory, he was awarded an Italian Order Of The Crown 5th Class which was Gazetted in 1919 and Mentioned in General Allenby's Despatches in the London Gazette of 12 Jan 1920 for services with the Egyptian Expeditionary Forces.

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Nationalist speaker for the America First Committee and supporter of Mussolini and Hitler and associated with the Christian American Guard, created in September 1940,it was not only against entry into the war.  It also opposed aid.  Its program was simple.  Since the United States, if properly armed, was impregnable against German attack, there was no reason to help England.  Aid would not only fatally weaken America‘s own defences. It would also draw the country into the conflict. The leaders of the AFC claimed they were motivated by concern for American lives.  For some, this was no doubt true.  For others, humanitarian rhetoric hid different motives.  Many joined the AFC as a way of attacking President Roosevelt and the New Deal.

It was dissolved on the 10th December 1941, three days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

At its peak, America First claimed 800,000 dues-paying members in 650 chapters, located mostly in a 300-mile radius of Chicago. 

At the meeting of this organization held on Saturday, November 8th, Captain James D'Orsay Murray, a speaker for the America First Committee , was the main attraction. His audience cheered when he gave the Nazi outstretched arm salute and described the customary handshake greeting as a sign of weakness. He praised Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and referred to Winston Churchill as a drunkard who would be lynched by the people of France if they could get their hands on him. He called President Roosevelt a forger, charging that the secret Nazi Map showing Germany’s intention with regard to South America was a fake. He offered old worn-out Nazi propaganda stories such as the claim that Athenia was suck by the British. He planted the seed of defeatism by claiming that Germany is merely prolonging the agony. Noble, chairman of the meeting, went even further in his praise of Hitler’s New Order and condemnation of the President. He charged that President Roosevelt was responsible for the murder of Huey Long.”

Christian American Guards was a California-based front organization for the German American Bund. The group was organised in November 1941.  The group was formerly known as the American Guard.

Why someone who had volunteered and served in the British army in the great war would take this stand is unknown.

He died in 1946 aged 72 at Los Angeles California, Captain  James D'Orsay Murray is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery as a veteran of the Spanish American War

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Edited by dante
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That last article is fairly daming!  Nevertheless, he did his service and certainly deserves recognition for that.  Intersting too that he identifies his British service as having been in 'intellience' while the official record seems to suggest active service with the Gunners.  OTOH, the transfer to Egypt and perhaps ther Italian award suggest that perhaps he wasn't just filing inter-Army memos as a US-Brit liason.  Interesting fellow, no doubt.

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  • 6 months later...

This may cause some controversy, I had the medal repaired, and while I appreciate its re-sale and possibly its history may have been compromised...well here we are...bit shiny but should tone down...

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