1958 - Leslie Murray Johnson

Murray was the eldest of three sons who grew up with his younger brothers Dennis and Andrew, who regarded him as the leader .... The Big Brother, who made many of the important decisions.  He was educated at Highgate School, where he played with some degree of enthusiasm, cricket and football, and matriculated by the age of 16.  He certainly had the ability to absorb things very easily. 

Upon leaving school, he spent the best part of a year in Germany learning the language and became extremely fluent in German.

Murray began an apprenticeship in the family's gold and silver wire business, but after only 18 months conscription had begun, with the outbreak of the 2nd World War and Murray, then aged 19, was called up.  He joined the Army as a Gunner in a Light Air-craft Unit.  Tragically the only aircraft the Unit shot down was a British Wellington Bomber.  The Unit went to France soon after D-Day and was stationed at Antwerp.  Murray disliked the formality of Army life, but nevertheless rose to the rank of bombardier.

Already fluent in German, Murray became an interpreter towards the end of the war.  His facility for picking up languages was quite remarkable.  He learnt Flemish and during an off-duty period, in 1944, he made friends with a local schoolmaster and learnt to speak colonial French.  In later years he picked up a working knowledge of Polish, Italian and after just a short time Portuguese.

Murray, demobbed in 1947, returned to the family firm of Benton and Johnson where he learnt all the skills and knowledge necessary for the running of the business.

In 1959 Murray joined Toye, Kenning and Spencer Ltd, where as a senior executive he travelled extensively to destinations such as Pakistan, Brazil, South Africa and China, advising armed services of independent countries and institutions in the design and procurement of decorations and military regalia. 

In 1942, at the age of 22, Murray joined the Livery and just like his great great grandfather and successive generations, he became Master of our Company in 1958 and in January 2008 he celebrated 40 years since his installation and 66 years as a member of our Livery.  Murray participated in every aspect of the Livery and was always a part of its annual holiday weekends until ill health prevented him from attending.

Murray joined Southgate Hockey Club, at the age of 17, played for many years and refereed up until his 70th birthday.  One particularly amusing incident happened when Murray was refereeing. He had forgotten to put the red and yellow cards into his pocket so rushed up to the touchline and picked up a child who was wearing a yellow shirt, went over the offending player, and said "take one of these".  He became a founder member of England's oldest summer hockey club, Pistons SHC, which he served as President from 1957 - 1993,

Murray was a highly independent and resourceful person, who lived for many years on his own.  Most people who knew Murray would say that he did not suffer fools gladly.  He was a very proud, intelligent and academic man who was always ready to give his opinion on most subjects, the expressions 'I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken' epitomizes him.  Murray made many trips abroad and told how during a visit to the Rome he was invited into the inner sanctum of the Vatican - Da Vinci Code comes to mind.

A keen Freemason, after the Company's Lodge of Love & Friendship was consecrated in October 1945, Murray became the fourth person to be initiated and this was on 10th December 1946, when he was aged 26.  In 1964 he became Worshipful Master and from October 1967 was Secretary of the Lodge for the next 30 years.  Murray was awarded London Grand Rank in October 1971, became a Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1984 and in 1993 became a Past Junior Grand Deacon - A Freemason for 61 years and 8 months - quite a record.

Murray kept his mind active through his various interests.  He was very good at compartmentalizing his life and would have different friends according to his various interests.  In his later years he became an active member of UKIP, campaigning against the encroaching control of the EU over the British Constitution and would always put their flyer in with his Christmas card.