The British-Yemeni Society

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Murray Graham (1924–2008) 

Murray (Alexander Mungo) Graham, who died in September 2008, was one of the first to join the British-Yemeni Society when it was formed in 1993. Born in Rhodesia, he was brought up and educated in South Africa. After the war, in which he served in the South African Air Force, he moved to Britain where he had strong Scottish and Yorkshire roots. Having a degree in chemistry, he joined British Petroleum (BP) at their Grangemouth refinery, and in 1953 was posted to BP’s Aden refinery. In Aden, where he met and married his wife, Vera, he found himself well placed to pursue his interest in military, naval and postal history against the background of Aden’s connections with India, East Africa and the Gulf. Over the years he built up a notable collection of stamps and postmarks (includingthose ofNorth Yemen), andhisexpertiseinthisfieldwastowin him international repute. Murray continued to serve with BP in Aden until 1962 when he and his wife with their three children returned to London. 

Murray’s enduring interest in Southern Arabia formed the foundation for many of his friendships and associations, not least his membership of the British-Yemeni Society and the Aden Dinner Club. His knowledge of Aden’s colonial history was encyclopaedic, and was underpinned by a matching collection of books, journals, maps, photographs and watercolours, including sketches by Joseph Rundle, a young naval officer who took part in the invasion and capture of Aden in 1839. Murray contributed to The Philatelist, The Journal of the Oriental Philatical Association and The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. He was always happy to share his wide-ranging knowledge, and his many friends and correspondents around the world greatly benefited from his enthusiasm and the meticulous accuracy of his information.